05 August 2011

Restaurant Review - Brunch at Culina at Four Seasons Los Angeles


"Roughing it" isn't my idea of travel. If I'm not going to be staying in a really nice place and dining well, I'd really rather stay home! On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of having brunch in Culina Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. Didn't stay there though (maybe someday ... over the rainbow ... sigh), just spent a leisurely couple of hours in Culina, thanks to a gift certificate for Sunday Brunch for Two.

And what a brunch it was! I've never been a big buffet brunch kinda gal. I can't eat much at one sitting, so it's kind of wasted on me. And I have a tendency to get overwhelmed by all the choices and just get three things. But since this is no ordinary brunch buffet and it was going to be an opportunity to try many different dishes, I came up with a strategy. To sample many things without stuffing myself or wasting food--two things I hate--I would definitely need a plan! I decided a two-bite serving size would be about right.

Culina is famous for its crudo bar (an Italian take on the sushi bar), so I assumed raw fish would be on the menu. I don't eat raw fish or meat, so I could eliminate that entire category. Perhaps I would try up to three cooked fish dishes, three meats, three poultry, three pastas, one egg dish, nine vegetables and salads, three fruits, three desserts. Hmm ... 28 foods times two bites each equals 56 bites ... sounds like a normal meal.

Well, I wasn't counting on the dim sum station! Or the cheese station! As if I needed to even know about another wonderful high-fat cheese. Saint Andre is a soft, buttery cow's milk cheese made with extra heavy (triple) cream. Of course, there was an omelet station, Belgian waffles, bacon and sausages. The carving station had prime rib, lamb and pork.

I focused on the vegetables and salads (As you can tell from the photo, we couldn't be bothered to "compose" our plates!) and particularly enjoyed the heirloom eggplant, heirloom squash ... well, you get the idea. I steered clear of the breads because I'm a hopeless breadaholic, though I did allow myself one tiny piece of focaccia to go with the eggplant.

If I could offer one suggestion it would be to make the food labels/signs a bit larger with larger type. Nobody wants to have to put their reading glasses on to go through a buffet. Two things that really impressed me: Used plates and flatware were promptly removed and clean flatware set. And when I ordered my tea (which was very good, by the way), the server asked if I would like milk for it. I know, those seem such simple things, but they are often neglected. It's a pity they don't do afternoon tea; I'm sure they would do it well.

12 comments:

Angie's Recipes said...

A great culinary experience! You have me at some soft, buttery cheese ;-))

Jean said...

Angie, thank you! Yes, it was a real treat. I'm going to visit a local cheese shop and see if I can't get some of that cheese.

Southerner said...

All the food you describe sounds wonderful and I know I would enjoy the experience.

So, when you and your husband come over here you won't be coming for a pub lunch or fish and chips in a seaside fish and chip shop with Marilyn and I then.

There are some great culinary delights to be had in the more rough and ready places too.

Well that's what Marilyn and I keep telling each other.

Jean, I love your report. You are a very entertaining writer on the subject of food.I could almost taste it!!!!!!!!!

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Well, I gained 6 lbs reading your review (which is okay, I guess, since I lost 7 lbs roller skiing in 122 heat index). That does sound good. I, too, would defer bread from the quota so as to accommodate other items. And -- are you sitting down? -- I would probably head for the veggies. Food of that calibre preparation always induces me to accept health considerations. BUT...the carnivore bar and the desserts would not suffer neglect. Thanks for the virtual meal. I shall now go exercise...

Jean said...

Tony, thank you so much! Encouraging words.

And we would be most happy to join you and Marilyn for a simple pub lunch or takeaway from your favorite chippy. When I say "dining well" I don't necessarily mean expensively!

Jean said...

Sully, I'm glad I was sitting down. YOU, heading for the veggies? If it's true, though, I'm glad to hear it! I tried just two small desserts, but they all looked good--you would have had a good time!

Pamela Nees said...

Jean-I got a kick out of your comments to my blog~ yes, you probably will finish that quilt one day...but in the meantime, I enjoyed your review of Culina! Sounds like a great place!

Jean said...

Thanks, Pamela! Yeah, I'm a hoot all right!

Sippity Sup said...

The two bite strategy makes sense, though after these descriptions I fear I would have trouble sticking to the rules... GREG

Jean said...

Greg, thanks for commenting! I love hearing from you. Yeah, I didn't stick to my two-bite rule with every item!

Cranberry Morning said...

That actually looks beautifully delicious! I'm wary of sauces of any kind, so I probably would have asked them to omit the sauce. But all those gorgeous colors and textures! I was at a restaurant last summer where the waiter was going on and on about their 'heirloom' tomatoes until I mentioned that I grew heirloom tomatoes. You'd think they were something recently discovered, that only the most upscale restaurants know about. lol

Jean said...

Thanks, Judy! There is nothing like a homegrown tomato. Well, if you don't count MY homegrown tomatoes last year. They did not get enough sun, and they were horrible!

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