Fawn Part 2: The lounge at WP24. Or, slumming it at WP24.

Perhaps “slumming” is an hyperbole… WP24 is separated into 2 distinct dining areas. There is the lounge/bar, then there is the formal dining room. The disparity between the two is a bit like Providence::Chego. Not that I’ve been to Chego. However, thanks to the expansiveness of the space, the view from the lounge is nearly on par with the formal dining you. So consider this the ultimate tip for entertaining upcoming Christmas out of towners. After all, Chicago has the cocktail priced view from Hancock, and it’s about time LA offers something 25% as awesome (24th floor vs 95th floor).

For $24, you get to sit at the lounge, and have “tiny” — their words, not mine — bites. Officially, the menu looks like this:

Unofficially, it look like this:

Clock-wise: Tiny pork dumplings, crispy shrimp & lobster spring rolls (fantastic, by the way), Szechuan style flat iron steak, marjolasian – “Layers of White Espresso Mousse and Dark Chocolate”. The dessert is remnants of ex-pastry Chef’s Sally Comacho, the Filipina near-winner of Top Chef Just Desserts. And it was GLORIOUS. Ms. Comacho, I’m sorry I made fun of Filipino cuisine for the last 10 years. You’re hot. Er, your desserts are hot. Maybe you can go “fix” all the bad breads served at Goldilocks.

It is unclear whether a party of 2 can order 1 “Taste of 24”. I’d think so, but I’d also feel really bad for the dish washing crew in the back. Instead, drop a wee bit of money and ask for a whole Peking duck for 2 4, to be carved table-side. Note: to be fair, I don’t even know if WP24 serves a whole duck at the cocktail lounge. The ebullient server says it’s not the first time she’s done a cocktail lounge butcher session so… caveat emptor?

Which brings us to the next point — how good is a Beijing duck made by one of the whitest chefs in Los Angeles? After all, I did counter Mr. Gold’s criticism of WP24’s BJ duck with a post straight off a flight from Beijing. And that post was what brought the duck to my tableside that evening. In this instance, Chef Johannes’s duck didn’t have perfectly crisped skin. La peau du canard was good, but it was no QJD. The duck meat, on the other hand, was spot-on, exuding excellent Chinese aroma while retaining moisture. It was served with proper condiments and thin crepes as accoutrements. Not sure why Our Hero didn’t enjoy such fine flesh?

Would I personally pull the trigger on an $110 4 course dinner which includes the Peking Duck as OMB did? Doubtful. Instead, bring all your cousins from Acron, OH to the lounge, but only after they agree to wear black dress socks with their black loafers. Make sure everyone arrives by 6:30pm, flag a beautiful waitress (from Hawaii, natch), and go for a round of $8 happy hour (5-7pm, daily!) cocktails. At $8, it might be feasible to even host 2 rounds. Since the sun sets at 5:30 these days, it’s probably a good idea to hit the lounge as soon as they open, at 5:00pm. If after sunset, come after dinner for a round of cocktails and desserts by the new pastry chef, Cassie Ballard.

WP24 at The Ritz Carlton Los Angeles
900 W Olympic Blvd Fl 24
Los Angeles, CA 90015
WP24 (Ritz-Carlton) on Urbanspoon

[ Dinner courtesy of WP24 ]



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