Curtis Stone has opened yet another fine dining restaurant, but this time, off of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Gwen, named after his grandmother, Maude is his other fine dining restaurant in Beverly Hills, also named after a grandmother, is a European Style butcher shop and restaurant. The restaurant is divided into three dining areas, which can be chosen online when booking. The downstairs dining room is a bit bustling in sound with a slight wood burning aroma, the upstairs wine room is a tad darker, which I recommend, for a quieter dining experience or the chefs counter, for a firsthand view of the chefs at work. The $190 per couple guest charge, includes a 3-course meal, but really it’s more like 12-courses, after you include all the little extras that come out with the meal. This does not include drinks, tax, tip or an upgrade charge for additional entree selections.
The meal began with charcuterie and because there was an in-house butchery, my expectations were pretty high. The Nduya, was outstanding, not to mention the Duck Speck, Pork & Liver Terrine and the Fennel Salami. I recommend starting with a cocktail as well, the mixologist is making some incredible housemade elixirs and drinks that shouldn’t be missed, like their Manhattan.
The salad course is not really a salad, but a ring of foam with White Gazpacho in the center and Iceberg arranged around the perimeter. The chilled tomato soup had fantastic flavors and I enjoyed the presentation.
The pasta dish was a smooth and creamy Raviolo with Ricotta cheese, in a light herbaceous foam. I thought it was prepared beautifully, but a tad plain.
The entree was Lamb 3-Ways, which I thought was good, but definitely not as delicious as I expected from Chef Stone. The Lamb Ribs were a tad dry and hard to eat off the bone. The Lamb Tenderloin was nicely cooked, but just a simple preparation, along with Merguez Sausage. The Summer Beans, Ratatouille, Beets 3-Ways, Shaved Fennel and Lamb Jus were all nice rustic side dishes.
The pre-dessert of Melon Sorbet was a nice palate cleanser, but I thought the Panna Cotta with berry flavors and meringue was a nice ending.
Overall, Gwen was a unique dining experience. I was a little surprised at the entry price point considering the casual food preparations. I am a big fan of Chef Curtis Stone and he blew my socks off many times at Maude and I was hoping for the same experience at Gwen.
The butcher shop is definitely worth going back for. On my way out, I picked up some Smoked Leek & Ash Salami, Calabrese Salami and Pork Rillette that were out of this world. Probably some of the best charcuterie I have eaten in Los Angeles.