Located at the 24th floor of what is probably LA's
most efficiently run and professional hotel, the Ritz Carlton, WP24 sports stunning views. No matter where you sit in the room, you are
bound to look over one or another part of this seemingly never-ending city that
stretches out a good few metres below you. Faced with such a view, it comes to
no surprise that the large windows are perhaps the main point of attraction
when it comes to the design of the restaurant. The rest is kept simple, modern
and quite sleek.
The menu on the other hand is opulent and lists an impressive number of more or less traditional dishes from various regions in China. What is not so traditional is the way in which it is structured, namely as a three-course prix fixe menu. This means that instead of ordering a number of small dishes and sharing everything, you are more likely to get larger portions of whatever dish you order. Not that this is a bad thing, but with Chinese food it certainly isn't very common.
The food here is delicious. Like what Puck serves at Spago,
it lacks pretention and simply delivers on flavour. A great example of
this would be little pork buns that are very fine indeed. The pork belly is
beautifully cooked, and served on a fluffy little bun that gives you a textural
contrast. The sauce, combining sweet and intensely salty elements, is addictive
and leaves you wanting more of these little buns.
Equally delicious are the various types of dumplings served here. Take for instance some pork dumplings served with peanuts. These are generously filled with shredded pork and come in a rich and luscious peanut sauce. Again, just like with the buns, you have a dish that displays solid technique and bold seasoning. Its comfort food, the kind you could eat all day long.
As with all things however, perhaps the only weakness this restaurant has, is to try to do too many things at the same time. Whilst the finest chefs in Beijing cook nothing but duck in their life, here the Beijing duck seems a little underwhelming. Not that its not good, for a Western version of this dish it is certainly capable and tasty, but one feels that it suffers more from the comparison with the original than the aforementioned dishes.
However, take such small issues out of the equation and you have a restaurant that is stylish, sexy and offers beautiful views and delicious food. Its aim seems to be just this, and therefore one can say that Wolfgang Puck can add another interesting restaurant to his lengthy list of establishments.