| September 18, 2012

Hotel restaurants still suffer from a bad perception about their food in general, but luckily there are always exceptions that buck the trend. The Park Grill at The Hotel Intercontinental in Century City falls into that category, and the new menu launched quietly last month deserves to be a success.

I have written about the restaurant before and it has gone through several incarnations before settling on the current theme which is small plates, California style, with a definite North African or Moroccan influence although the hotel prefers to call it global. Chef Jonathan Woods and his team have clearly spent a lot of time planning this and the results are very good and I am convinced they are on to a winner here.

First of all the room itself has always been one of my favorite rooms in the city with the high ceilings and tables nicely spread apart, where you don’t have to listen to the conversation from the table next to you. The menu is all about sharing and here are some of the plates that I would recommend. Start with either the trio of hummus plate ($8) or the beet and orange salad ($9) which is served with goat cheese and a wine dressing.

The Moroccan spiced corn fritters ($8) with the tomato fondue are also a highlight of the menu especially if you like savory foods and the flatbreads (pizza style $13) come in five choices, including the Italian sausage with micro basil and the mozzarella cheese.

Another must try item is the lamb kofte ($12) served w/couscous, yoghurt and sumac onions. If you are in the mood for more conventional faire, then I hear that the trio of beef sliders w/tillamook cheddar, pickle and red onions are terrific along with the footlong beef hotdog ($10).

Another little touch I like about this place is the attached light that comes with each menu, saving the embarrassment of those patrons with dodgy eyesight who sometimes have to strain to read menus in other places. The service here is also very crisp and professional with no real urgency apparent to finish your meal and move on.

The hotel lobby lounge has been known in the past for its quality sushi and it remains on
the restaurant menu for an average price of $26 and is easily the most expensive item on the menu by a furlong. You might also want to try the trio tartar ($15) which consists of salmon, tuna and yellowtail and which is incredibly fresh and served with crostini.

Desserts are a bit of a revelation here with a dozen different choices including such delights as yogurt gelato pernigotti w/almond Florentine cookie to chocolate Bavarian w/ mangonosa exotic fruit puree. The thing is however, these mini treats are all priced at $2 each so you can order an assortment instead of settling on just one.

This classy but  low key restaurant deserves to get a lot of awards season business, even though the hotel is more known as a businessman’s hotel. Might be a good place for star spotting as well if they ever venture out of their suites.

Park Grill at Hotel Intercontinental
2151 Avenue of the Stars, Century City.
Lunch- Monday-Friday
Brunch-Saturday and Sunday
Dinner -5 to 11 pm
Valet Parking $6