Since I missed the opening of the W Hollywood hotel, I was surprised to find a full-blown schmoozing scene spread throughout the patio bar and lobby of the brand-new hotel when I arrived for a press dinner at the W's restaurant Delphine. Ex-Balthazar and Pastis chef Sascha Lyon is adamant that it's not a typical hotel restaurant -- run by the same dining group that owns Boa and Sushi Roku, the French Riviera-style bistro has its own signature style but certainly feeds on the hive of activity that is the hotel. The menu is seafood-intensive, but with prices that are reasonable by glitzy hotel standards and plenty of staple items -- burgers, macaroni and cheese, croque monsieur -- to satisfy late-night noshers and hotel patrons. Open at 6:30 am for breakfast and late into the night, the restaurant should be a handy commissary for all manner of folk who pass by Hollywood and Vine. In keeping with the South of France theme, there's specialties like pan bagnat ($11), pissaladiere ($13), moules frites ($17), brandade, giant seafood towers and bouillabaisse as a special some Fridays. As for the food? My arctic char had a pleasantly crisp skin and was nicely cooked, but the cocktails we tried from the adjacent Station Lounge were uniformly way too sweet.
If I had a lunch meeting or was hosting visitors who wanted to hit Hollywood Blvd., I'd still check out Delphine for some moules or pan bagnat, just for a little Riviera reminder.
(And don't miss the lovely historic Cote d'Azur photos on Delphine's website.)