My friends dining with us asked, “Is the restaurant Perch named after a fish or branch for a bird?” As the door opened and we walked up to the reception table, it became obvious Perch is a lovely elevated spot with spectacular views of Los Angeles.
Sitting at a table on the outside patio with glass walls or near a blazing fireplace puts one in a romantic or festive mood. String lights enhance the ambiance, while outdoor heaters keep the patios warm, even on the cold LA winter nights.
Even though the temperature was in the 40s, we sat outside near the back corner on whicker couches with a wood coffee table for dining. Nearby, the Ben Ross three-piece jazz band entertained guests. Below was Pershing Square with palm trees aglow in red, green and blue lights and an outdoor ice-skating rink framed by skyscrapers. Beyond were sparkling lights all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
The menu by Chef Gerardo Benitez features hors-d’oeuvres, small plates and entrees with a French flair. The bar makes specialty cocktails named Penicillin, My Fair Lady and Hemingway on the Beach. There is quite a bar scene here, especially after 9 p.m. All guests must be 21 years old when the restaurant transforms into a social night time destination.
We started with a French tradition, a bubbly Kir Royal. After a toast, we ordered two appetizers, the Ahi Tuna Tartar and grilled octopus. The tartar was served with crispy wonton triangles and seasoned with a ginger soy vinaigrette. The octopus was heightened with Vaudovan, a blend of spices that is a French derivative of an Indian curry masala with shallots and garlic. It arrives with a small fennel citrus salad, juicy Campari tomatoes and dollop of crème fraiche.
For entrees, my husband ordered the tender flat iron steak with a mellow bordelaise sauce. It was served with gooey truffle cheese fries. My order of pan roasted salmon was a generous piece of moist and pink fish resting on a bed on flavorful smoked eggplant puree and vegetables Provencal with tomatoes and onions. Artichoke chips gave this dish texture and crunch.
Others at our table ordered the sliced pan roasted chicken supreme with a savory chicken gravy. It’s served with Chef Gerardo’s signature mushroom risotto that is enriched with parmesan and mascarpone cheese.
Also delivered to our table was a bowl of gnocchi with thick, soft dough dumplings covered in a basil pesto, crème fraiche and finished with tender market squash.
Perch offers Les Petits Plus side dishes, and we ordered a few. The Brussels Sprouts with bacon, parmesan, and sherry vinaigrette paired nicely with our entrees, as did the cauliflower dish with a sprinkling of almonds, Vaudovan spices, citrus aioli, and brown butter. Both were large portions that could be shared with others.
True to a fine French restaurant, Perch does serve a delicious chocolate pot de creme made with Valrhona chocolate custard, strawberries and blueberries and a sprinkling of fleur de sel.
I asked our server for their brunch menu. What a great spot for a birthday brunch or bridal shower. The menu listed an assortment of scones, muffins and croissants served with honey butter and jam.
Entrees include French toast, smoked salmon Benedict, crab Benedict, shrimp Scampi, and the Perch burger served on a brioche bun.
Champagnes start at $34 up to $200 a bottle. You may build your own mimosa or Bellini with an additional $5 carafe of orange juice or peach puree.
For night owls, Perch offers a late-night limited menu on Sunday through Wednesday from 11p.m. to 12 a.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11p.m. to 1a.m. Perch offers a variety of live entertainment nightly and during the Champagne brunch.
The restaurant appeals to all types for people from couples out for a romantic dinner, to friends gathered together for drinks and a meal. Bring out of town guests here at sunset to show off our magnificent city. It’s a destination spot that won’t leave you disappointed.
Open Monday through Friday at 4 p.m. for Happy Hour and at 5 p.m. dinner is served. On weekends, Perch opens at 11 a.m. for brunch and later dinner service. Live music and lively bar scene keeps this place open until 2 a.m. during the weekend. $$ 448 S. Hill St. (213)802-1770.
This article was published in the January 15, 2015 issue of the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News.