Sunday, May 20, 2012

Where to Eat: Four for $24 @ WP24 Restaurant & Lounge

The Eats: Contemporary Asian 

The Vibes: Conservatively Upscale 

When-to-Go: Lounge opens at 5pm; the restaurant opens at 5:30pm 

With-Whom-to-Go: Business partners, dates, groups of friends, alone 

The $ Factor: Up there ($100+), but also with a fabulous new summer promotion that’s easy on the pocketbook

The 4-1-1: Valet parking and WP24 entrance is on George St. (runs perpendicular to Olympic Blvd.)

I’ll Be Back…: For Chef Sally’s decadent Dessert Kuruma (Trolley)

The Ritz-Carlton. 

The name alone conjures up images of distinguished wealth, lavish luxury, opulent decadence. 

Recently I watched Taraji P. Henson’s character Lauren in Think Like a Man roll her high-end luxury car to The Ritz-Carlton in downtown’s L.A. Live and retreat inside to her modernly urban, high-rise apartment. As she ran on the treadmill with the backdrop of downtown peeking through her ceiling-to-floor windows, I absent-mindedly thought to myself,

So that’s what it’s like to visit The Ritz-Carlton?

Because I’m not a big baller *yet*, I always presumed that I wouldn’t set foot into this five-star hotel until I got a few raises and/or someone took pity on me and decided they’d like to sponsor a weekend getaway for me (I’m still taking offers).

Yet little did I know that a mere three weeks after vicariously living through Henson’s scenes, I’d be pulling my humble bucket car up to that same driveway that she did to experience WP24 Restaurant & Lounge.

WP24 is Wolfgang Puck’s creation on the 24th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, offering splendid Asian cuisine and pristine, sweeping views of northern downtown LA. As to be expected with such an exclusive address and origins from an internationally renowned chef, WP24 oozes a sort of conservative, humble yet knowingly sophisticated air of refinement.

Do expect to find the elite clientele clad in expensive business suits discussing international affairs, impeccable culinary creations with out-of-this-world ingredients, and unparalleled customer service. 

Don’t be surprised at WP24’s latest attempt to appeal to budget-conscious folks like myself through its new summer promotion, “Four for $24.”

Every day from 5-7 p.m., four premium Chef’s selection appetizers are available for only $24, an incredible price considering that any other time, $100 might cover dinner, and we’re not even talking about including tip. As you can see from the photo below, presentation is on point; what you can’t see is that my shrimp & lobster spring rolls, pork belly bao buns, tamarind glazed pork ribs and chicken dan dan dumplings were really, really good.

No discounts on the $16 cocktails, like the new summertime Verbena Lemonade, Cucumber Martini and Pineapple Mojito, pictured below, however, an $8 wine is available. I haven’t tried the wine, but I did try the three cocktails, which reminded me a lot of an earthy garden. That probably has something to do with all of the fresh herbs and fruits muddled into the drinks. 

Also noteworthy to mention is Chef Sally’s dessert cart, pictured below. It’s the adult version of being a kid in the candy store. Pick and choose, mix and match, but whatever you do, don’t skip it! I can’t even begin to elaborate on how amazing it feels when the passionfruit marshmallow melts in your mouth, or how delightfully pleasant it is to dig through the four layers in the Cashew Crunch Chocolate Cremeux Verrine. Some things in life you simply just have to personally experience. 

Also, since one picture is worth a thousand words, I took a ton of photos from a recent trip here. Thanks to the launch of my #WilsonsGuide Facebook Page, they are available for your viewing pleasure on a Facebook album. Just click here or on the photo below to check them out. 

So the next time you're looking to impress or want a top-notch experience without shelling out too many of the big bucks, you know where to turn. See you there soon!

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