Last night, I headed to EAST Restaurant & Lounge on Hollywood Boulevard, the first restaurant venture from the nightlife impresario behind clubs like MyHouse, Mood, and Opera. EAST is designed by Dodd Mitchell (Roosevelt Hotel, Sushi Roku), and the sleek silvery-grey tile exterior practically screams his name. Inside, the place is all clean lines, reflective surfaces and unexpected details, like the black decals adorning the walls and ceiling that seem to be modeled after won-tons, Kleenex, or both. The back of the space, with its intimate booths and white faux-stone walls giving way to skylights high above, conjures a sophisticated stop in the Marais or Marrakech—a little odd, perhaps, since the menu is entirely Asian-Fusion, but no matter.
The food, which came out in fits and starts, was tasty overall, if a little rich. Scallops arrived looking gorgeous in the half-shell and tasting just as fresh, with a spicy jolt thanks to wasabi-infused crème fresh. I’ve never been served tuna tartar with sweet-potato mash and BBQ sauce, but strangely, it worked (and the mash was divine). A “lobster dog” hyped endlessly by both the chef and our servers, however, was disappointing and unwieldy (I’m also not sure that the term “dog” can properly apply to a thimble-sized piece of lobster balancing precariously on a brioche toast). Still, the food—decadent but bite-sized, elegant without being over-the-top—was tailor-made for a night out, which is just the point.