We went to check out The Belmont restaurant in Hollywood, located at 747 N La Cienega Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90069, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. For starters, this place is in Hollywood - and you should already know my very vocal aversions to Hollywood - then I also find out that we had to make a reservation. This is about 1.7 strikes already (I hate the location and I hate making reservations), but Belmont made a comeback with their service and great (affordable) eats. Pretty unrelated...but as I was driving through Studio City, I noticed a group of people gathering to protest the war...which to me is a bit strange, especially in the San Fernando Valley, so I felt obligated to share a picture:
A Friday night for a busy street in Hollywood usually means there will be plenty of sluts, packs of sausage roaming around together, and potential "celebrity" sightings. The Belmont certainly lived up to those expectations. Our reservation was for 8 p.m., but it was pretty unnecessary - the place was maybe at 40% capacity. Don't expect to find any street parking other than scouring the side streets around the area; valet was 7 dollars.
When we first got in, I spoke with EJ (one of the waiters), and received some information about the place. During the week, the kitchen will typically close at 11 p.m., and is open about another hour after that on the weekend. He mentioned that the place next door is a trendy nightclub, so they (Belmont) typically get busier around 10:30 p.m. with the overflow from people who can't get in to the other place. EJ also dropped some personal knowledge on me, saying that he ate at The Belmont on vacation, then a year later he moved to L.A. and had to work there because the mac & cheese left a lasting impression on him. That mac & cheese is fucking wicked, I will admit; I'm a big time mac & cheese lover, and theirs knocked flavor right on it's ass. Did I mention they add in some delicious crab to their already perfect mac & cheese? Mmm...getting hard just thinking about it again.
When the food came, so did I. Holy shit do they have some fucking tasty grub. Our table was 8 strong, and all you could hear were "mmms" left and right; I had the chicken, someone else had the halibut, another person had the filet mignon...everyone was extremely satisfied. My mashed potatoes were beautifully-delicious, super-soft and creamy (yes, yes...too easy to add a metaphor); for Pete's sake - even the asparagus was great! Quite literally I don't remember the last time I had a $20 plate of anything that could get my nipples hard with excitement from anticipating every next bite. Most of the meals were in the $20 price range, with only the filet being in the $30s. If after we finished the meal, they decided to charge double for everything, it would have still been a value for the party in my mouth (and pants, of course) they provided. I didn't touch any of the dessert, but from the facial reactions of the girls with us, and the fact that none of the dishes were left with enough food to discern what was once on them, I'd say the desserts were also amazing.
The restaurant has outside seating, a bar in the main room (where the majority of the tables were), and a secondary bar in a smaller, adjacent room. Our waiter was on top of his shit, and the wait from the kitchen was hardly noticeable. When we went, it was still a little Christmas-y, so they had lights hanging from the walls - one of them was dangling near one of my friends, and they did not hesitate to move them out of her way when I asked. During our meal, the music was a good volume, and whenever I noticed that there was music on, it was something I either enjoyed or could stand. Then they turned down the lights (11 p.m., roughly) when people started to focus more on getting their drink on than getting their food on, and it got loud with absolutely terrible music selections one-after-another. My guess is that earlier they played music off of CDs, and then their DJ showed up to ruin my perfect image of The Belmont. In any case, if you want a place to get fucked up with better jams, this place would not make your top five choices, even with the side bar acting as a rogue instigator to drinking.
So to round out the evening, we worked our way over the side bar for a couple drinks (which is what it is there for, if I were to take a stab at their business plan). There was only one bartender, and no barback, so even though there were only 20 or so people in the area, the service was not speedy. From my perspective, the side bar died down considerably around midnight, and then got absolutely packed about half an hour later. To me, it was pretty strange seeing a literal sine wave of patronage, but then again I'm not a Hollywood person, so this might be par for the course. As I alluded to earlier, there was some choice puss in and out of this place, especially when the action picked up near the end of our stay. Our sole "celebrity" sighting was from no other than Cedric Yarbrough, who plays Deputy S. Jones on Reno 911!, who seemed to be a regular based on the connection I saw between him and the barkeep.
I hate that The Belmont is in Hollywood, because if it were in the San Fernando Valley, it would easily turn into a regular spot for me. That being said, I do plan on going again in the future, which is HUGE for me to admit to. I gotta keep pushing my point that places are better off sticking to one thing they do very well, than stretching their expertise too thin. Luckily, The Belmont kicks major amounts of ass as a restaurant, so even though it sucks as a bar, there is still lots of reason to check it out. While there was plenty of puss and sausage to go around, I would not recommend going here to try to get your swerve on. If you want a fucking amazing meal, at a very reasonable price, then The Belmont is for you. Great for any dates, a place to start your evening, or if you're looking to have a good meal in a relaxed setting. Enjoy!