Thursday, May 30, 2019

Where to Eat: Patio Dining @ Ysabel, West Hollywood

The Eats: A medley of worldly dishes with California inspirations, from sashimi to pasta and grass-fed beef

The Location: West Hollywood

The Vibes: Trendy, Upscale, Chic

Good for: Alone, Dates, Small and Large Groups

When-To-Go: Daily, 6 p.m. – 2 a.m.; weekends, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

The $$ Factor: Cocktails, $14 - $17; Dishes, $6 – $42

The Names behind the scenes: Executive Chef Alison Trent

The 4-1-1: Sit. On. The. Patio! It's the best seat in the house, for sure!

Parking Situation: Valet and nearby metered / complimentary street parking

I’ll Be Back…: To check out the weekend brunch! 

Upon first glimpse, Ysabel maaaay appear to have pretentious airs, with its well-dressed, trendy clientele that includes celebs like Common and Mahershala Ali. But, I’d go out on a limb to say that at its core, this semi-hidden WeHo hideaway is merely a simple restaurant serving up craft cocktails and really good American fare with worldly touches, all within a super cute ambiance.

To start, the enclosed outdoor patio feels like you’ve been transported to a Santorini-inspired paradise. Glittering lights hanging in trees throughout the space create a soft, intimate hue, while stark white walls encase the entire patio. There are a handful of quirky seating areas to pick and choose from, too. Hidden nooks and crannies tucked away behind the main entrance serve up the perfect location for a romantic dinner. A set of stairs complete with pillows to recline against is a great gathering spot for small groups. And scattered throughout the patio are couches, tables and chairs, amongst fire pits. While dining outdoors is my preferred way to experience Ysabel, inside’s not too shabby either. The interior boasts modernly masculine vibes, with a stately fireplace, oversized chairs and abstract chandeliers hanging above the marble bar tops.

Then of course there’s the food. The suggestion is to dine family-style; select a few different options to share with your crew. I’ve typically ordered three to five dishes when I’m with two other people, and we’ve left feeling completely satisfied. So far, I’ve tried about ten or so, and there literally hasn’t been a dish I haven’t liked! From meats to fish, veggies and pastas, there’s quite a range of options. While some appear to rotate on and off the menu, a few staples have remained, throughout the years.

One of my fave apps to kick things off has been the Hamachi sashimi, pictured below. Fairly thin cuts of fish are topped with sliced red chili, mint leaves and crunchy garlic, and accompanied by mounds of sushi rice. Everything is drenched in a deliciously tangy ponzu sauce. While on the lighter portion side — it’s more for a taste than to curve your appetite — the flavors are out of this world.

Another “must” is the “Yukon Gold Potato Pasta,” pictured below. A thin pasta sheet that has whole herbs beautifully embedded into it covers a hearty medley of oxtail ragu and buttery mashed potatoes. A Cabernet reduction adds a subtly opulent flavor to it all. It’s filling, so if you’re super hungry, definitely go for this one.

You also can’t go wrong with the Brussels Sprouts, pictured below. Slightly crunchy Brussels Sprouts are mixed with sweet raisins, all tossed in a light, sweet-and-spicy Kimchee sauce. 

There are definitely other items I’ve enjoyed — including the rigatoni pasta and fish of the day — but these three aforementioned items most certainly give you a good feel for the varied, diverse flavors that Ysabel can master so well.

And because a meal could never be complete without a proper cocktail, here’s a quick read on Ysabel’s offerings: they’re as fun as their fiercely feminine names. The Idalia, pictured below, is earthy-meets-sweet, with mezcal smoothly blended with parsley, dill and refreshing cucumber.

The Olivia, pictured below, brings spicy heat and passion, thanks to pepper-infused St. Germain and shiso leaves muddled with Grey Goose vodka and blackberries.

So the next time you’re looking for a great patio to indulge in al fresco dining and a few cocktails, head to Ysabel. Be sure to grab a seat by the fire and order the oxtail pasta on my behalf.

See you there soon!

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