Eating out / Food / Hollywood / Los Angeles / travel / USA

Los Angeles: The Dresden Restaurant

Stumped for somewhere to go for a nice and decent dinner in Hollywood our hotel suggested “The Dresden“. We’d never heard of it and after a night before of very mediocre food on the Hollywood strip our expectations weren’t high, but we figured it was worth an adventure.

Wandering up the road we passed yet more groups of people dealing small packets to each other (thankfully on the other side of the road) but weren’t deterred as we had been told the restaurant wasn’t far. True to that, we quickly arrived and slid through the dark entrance into a smooth and cozy bar. It felt like we had walked back into another era – the mid-1900’s – but in a GOOD way. The bar area had personality and despite the dim light was appealing and inviting.

The Dresden is separated into two parts – the bar and a restaurant. Seeking food the waitress cheerfully seated us in the restaurant where we felt right at home. The ambience was relaxing and the white booth seating felt modern yet conveyed the elegance of a vintage vibe and we loved the styling right down to the lampshades. The scent of burning wax drifted lazily around the restaurant as each table was lit by candlelight. We hadn’t even tried the food yet and we were so content we knew we could happily sit in this venue all night.

Near us in another booth was a gentleman dining alone, with a hat on the entire time covering most of his face… only in Hollywood I guess! The plate of food in front of him looked delicious so we were eager to explore the menu ourselves.

We later discovered this restaurant has been used in numerous movies over the years and has quite a place in the history of Hollywood, also entertaining numerous celebs in its time.

The menu has a lot of choice – seafood, pasta and steaks. I opted for a New England clam chowder and a New York strip – classic Americana food that I hoped would be done well in a local establishment.

Complimentary garlic parmesan bread was delivered to our table to start with. Served warm, the bold flavours were enjoyable and it made for a great starter. I have to say I love the fact this part of America offers complimentary bread … bad for my waistline but oh so enjoyable.

The clam chowder was creamy and rich. It was full of flavour and seasoned perfectly. I found it a delight to eat. The chowder was soft and chunky while the soup was smooth – a perfect chowder I could happily have eaten a second bowl of.

On to the mains, while the plating let the dish down both of our steaks were perfectly cooked. I had ordered blue which I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find in the US but the chef delivered a textbook blue (and Medium-rare for Ange) steak. The meat melted in our mouths and was delicious. My only criticism would be it could have had slightly more seasoning, however, when partnered with the grey papon mustard recommended by the waitress it was perfect. The vegetables were nice but slightly overcooked. The mashed potato was smooth and creamy, although once again it could have used a dash more seasoning to make it truly stand out. Overall the meal was a delicious and satisfying one.

There were a vast selection of desserts. We opted to continue with our Americana theme and share a strawberry shortcake (the one with the strawberry in the centre of it above).

It was wrapped in paper which was a little strange and suggested to me the desserts aren’t made in the restaurant (although I could be wrong). The shortcake consisted of 2 layers of vanilla sponge with strawberry cream in between. It was topped with a mild buttercream and soaked strawberry. Nice but not spectacular unfortunately the Sponge tasted like a store brought sponge. The flavours were still ok and not too overbearing or complex but the sponge was too “wet”.
The waitress also surprised us with a complimentary Peach Melba. Neither Ange or I knew what a Peach Melba was having only ever heard them referenced in movies and TV shows, so we had absolutely no idea what to expect.
This melba consisted of peaches soaked in a berry jus with ice cream hidden under. Whipped cream was heaped on top. Our verdict? Delicious – I hate peaches and I loved it!! I was delightfully surprised by the simplicity yet enjoyability of this dish. The waitress had said it was one of their signatures and I can understand why.
Overall the restaurant was a lovely and relaxing venue. The food was comforting, tasty and enjoyable. The waitress was an angel and went out of her way to serve us offering great suggestions and recommendations and checked up on us throughout the night. Little things, such as a slice of lemon with tea, reminded us of the era when restaurants actually put some thought into serving their customers more than just boutique food.
I will certainly be recommending The Dresden to any of my friends who head over to LA/Hollywood. I think even though it is slightly off the beaten tourist track it is worth a stop for a reasonably priced and satisfying meal.
The added bonus is if you stay a while you can enjoy live jazz music as you immerse yourself in the vintage vibe.
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