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May 2015 Issue / Vol. 3, No. 10                                                                                                                        Santa Monica, California

Iron Chef/Restaurateur Victor Casanova

Executive Chef
Martin Scott

May 2015
Chef's Larder

Chef de Cuisine
Colin Rupp

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Sumac Berries:
Think Lemons

Grand Poppy Liqueur:
Message in a bottle.

Leblon Cachaça:
featuring Steve Luttmann

Yogurt by Janet Fletcher

A Year in Champagne
The Movie




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Foodies West Restaurant Revues, May 2015 — Hotel Shangri-la: The Dining Room, Santa Monica, California - The Hotel Shangri-la, an art deco icon built above the Pacific Ocean in 1939, compares its personality to the cinematic legend that inspired its name from the movie, Lost Horizon. In the 1937 classic, a plane crashes in the Himalayas and its passengers are rescued and taken to the secluded, mystical valley of Shangri-la. Protected by mountains from the outside world, Shangri-la offered a seductive escape where the residents treated each other kindly and did not age. And if they had any restaurants there, the harmonious flavors of Hotel Shangri-la’s The Dining Room would make a perfect fit. It sure has the alluring atmosphere. The busy-ness of Ocean Avenue may pass right outside street-side windows, but inside, a secreted feeling prevails. Diners looking to see and be seen can head up to Suite 700, Hotel Shangri-la’s rooftop bar rated one of LA’s best, and get small plates. In The Dining Room, it’s all about you and the food. Executive Chef Kareem Shaw describes his menu as International, and it leans toward “California French.” Shaw said his goal is to let every flavor speak for itself. Goal achieved. “You can tell when it’s made with love as opposed to someone back there just throwing things together,” Shaw said of the food. “The best flavor in the world, I feel, is love.” Which brings us to his soups and sauces, a part of The Dining Room’s cuisine that Shaw plainly loves. Everything has a sauce with it. “That was my foundation,” Shaw said of them. “Off of that, you can do anything. Sauces just come natural for me. I’m just really good with flavors and sauces.” Partnered with good ingredients—Snake River beef, fresh-caught fish, Kurobuta Berkshire pork, meat from local butchers and local vegetables—the flavors shine. Do let house barman, Phong Tran, pair your wines or suggest a cocktail. He’s got a sharp palate and knows his juice. He thinks the meal and wine “should be put together with care,” because “it makes a difference.” Tran is known for his secret ingredients in his libations. Undoubtedly one of them is love.