A Dinner at La Gondola [Food Friday]
The other night, my wife and I went to La Gondola, a nice, kosher restaurant in Beverly Hills, for dinner and enjoyed our meals. While it was not our first time going (it was our 5th or 6th time there), I realized it was a good opportunity to write about it. La Gondola was one of the first restaurants at which we ate when we moved out to Southern California, going on a recommendation of a friend, who said it’s her parents’ favorite kosher restaurant in the Los Angeles-area.
Initially served with slices of bread, I found it had a crunchy crust, yet soft insides, which was a pleasant contrast of textures, and accompanied by a butter substitute, which is creamy and tangy. It’s definitely a simple, yet good start to one’s meal.
La Gondola also has a bar, which is rare for kosher restaurants in the Los Angeles-area, and the night that we went, they had a couple of special cocktails, one of which was the Jalapeño Margarita. Being someone who enjoys spiciness, I figured it was a clear decision for me to try this drink. Served in a margarita glass and garnished with a lime slice on the rim, the Jalapeño Margarita also had slices of jalapeño peppers (there was also salt on half of the rim of the glass – I don’t know if that was intentional to not salt the entirety of the rim or just a mistake in trying to salt the whole rim). It tasted pretty much like a good margarita, which was solid, but it also had a nice spiciness to it (which lingered, even after having other food), as well as adding some peppery flavor, which was a pleasant addition to its flavor profile.
Both my wife and I ordered appetizers – I ordered their Shredded Asian Chicken Tapas, which had 5-6 chips on the bottom of slices of chicken arrayed along with chopped scallions sprinkled on them, and garlic teriyaki, peanut sauce, & crispy black rice. The sweetness of the sauce on the chicken slices was really tasty and the softness of the chicken was delightfully balanced by the different options of crunch in the chips, the scallions, and the other little pieces. I enjoyed this appetizer.
My wife’s appetizer, however, was incredible! Not listed on the menu, we had heard from a friend about their “Candy Bacon”. The “Candy Bacon” appetizer is, of course, not bacon, just kosher meat in a bacon-style, which had brown sugar on it. Oh – wow! The crispiness and softness of the meat’s texture along with the sweetness and the fattiness of it was so delicious! Wow! When I saw that it was served with a mango sauce/chutney, I was curious to taste what the mango sauce/chutney added; apparently, nothing. Because the “Candy Bacon” was so sweet on its own, it didn’t need the sweetness from the duck sauce. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this appetizer.
My wife and I both ordered burgers: she ordered the Beef Tinga Burger, while I ordered the Wagyu Kobe Beef Burger, although they were, unfortunately, out of it. So, I ordered the Mushroom-onion Beef Steak Burger instead. I found my burger to be tasty and nicely-textured, although the mushrooms and onions, owing to their small size, mostly fell off of the burger, so I had to scoop them back onto the burger. Otherwise, it was simply a good burger.
The Beef Tinga Burger, which my wife ordered without the buns, featured fake cheese and beef fry on it. Although the fake cheese is a nice idea, my wife found that it did not add much taste. Also, while the beef fry was tasty and a good texture, it had, unfortunately, been consumed as the same meal as the “Candy Bacon”. We could not eat the beef fry without comparing it to the “Candy Bacon”, with the latter still being in our minds as being really yummy. It was still a good burger, though.
Each of the burgers came with french fries, so we each ordered different styles of french fries – regular and sweet potato fries. The regular fries were fresh and crispy, although not well-seasoned. One could add ketchup to them, which could have made them good. The sweet potato fries, though, had a nice, crisp texture to them, although not strongly seasoned. However, they were served with a yummy chipotle-mayo sauce, which made for a very tasty combination with the sweet potato fries – plus the textures of the creamy sauce and crunchy fries were great.
While La Gondola also serves desserts, we were too full to consider them, but we have enjoyed them in the past. La Gondola is located at the corner of Wilshire and Wetherly in Beverly Hills and is under the kosher supervision of Kehilla Kosher.