First, let me start by saying one very important thing: the menu at The Tower Restaurant does not give a flying care in the world about what you consider reasonable or logical regarding pricing. It’s been around since 1929 and it’s not here for that. It does not care that you could get a premade salad cheaper at Pavilions or you can make your family recipe fried chicken at home.
Fuck all that. This is an Erewhon Market level type of establishment. One that reminds you, as Birdman said on The Breakfast Club in 2016, to “put some respect on my name.”
This is decadence that only a few restaurants in Los Angeles can still get away with. A place that reminds you of how Hollywood used to be, through tastefully framed images of celebrities from Hollywood’s Golden Era on the walls.
So, when Amanda suggested that we meet at The Tower Restaurant for dinner and drinks, I immediately said “Yes” and “When?” Schedules were checked and reservations were made. Soon, the Friendship Date Night arrived.
It was a rainy Los Angeles night that set the mood for the evening. I found more than decent parking across the street for $5, via the Premium Parking app. I always love a good parking tip. Especially, on Sunset Avenue in West Hollywood.
Once inside, our table was close enough to the main area to hear the beauty of the upright bass and piano playing classic jazz standards. But, far enough away to have a conversation. Hugs were exchanged and menus were immediately browsed.
First up? Drinks of course.
I ordered the THE DAME FORTUNE (Bourbon, Rosemary Syrup, Hand Squeezed Lemon, Fresh Rosemary Sprig, Served on the Rocks). From first sip, I was surprised by how refreshing it was. I thought the bourbon would make the cocktail akin to an Old Fashioned. Not at all. It was as refreshing as a spritz cocktail on the tongue.
Amanda greatly enjoyed her TOWER SMASH (Reposado Tequila, Fresh Basil, Hand Squeezed Lemon, Fresh Ginger, Served on the Rocks). We clicked our glasses over the awesomeness of our years long friendship and dove into some of the most hilarious stories of dating that have yet to be published.
Soon, the CAESAR SALAD arrived, divided between two split plates. At first, we loved the consideration. Later, when we looked over the bill, we realized they charged us $5 for the pleasure. This made the delicious and perfectly portioned salad a cool $31.
I will say that I am torn between my preference of Caesar salad’s to have anchovies in the dressing or in the salad. Fia Steak in Santa Monica and Cut by Wolfgang Puck in Beverly Hills also craft fantastic, outstanding and delicious Caesar salads. So, it’s still a toss up. But, needless to say, the salad at The Tower is damn good.
When my RIGATONI CARBONARA (creamy carbonara sauce, bacon lardons, peas, crimini mushrooms, Parmesan cheese) arrived, it smelled like exquisite heaven. I internally rationalized the price by mentally stating that my portion would feed me, via leftovers, for three sittings. Surprisingly, it later did. But, in that moment – each bite did not need rationalization. The fat pieces of bacon lardons were juicy, giving savory flavor in every bite. The Parmesan cheese was rich, creamy and delectable. It was not an entree from Romano’s Macaroni Grill or The Olive Garden. It was small batch quality you could taste.
Amanda’s FRIED CHICKEN (mashed potato, braised kale) was also insanely good. The taste bite that Amanda shared me was on par with the fried chicken I’ve enjoyed numerous times at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Napa.
We finished up with the MOLTEN CHOCOLATE CAKE, which arrived with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. The perfect end to a delicious evening of conversation and savoring the night.
Now, I fully realize that the prices of items on the menu at the The Tower Restaurant at The Sunset Tower Hotel is a subtle barrier of entry. Not everything is for every body. There’s a quiet beauty to a waiter that attends to your needs in a classic crisp white suit. You either get it – or you don’t. But – if you go, lean into it, dress for the occasion and enjoy the experience.
The Tower Restaurant at The Sunset Tower Hotel
8358 Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, California 90069