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Restaurants & Food | The Daily Truffle LA - Part 4

Restaurants & Food

RIP: El Torito Grill Beverly Hills

Our Beverly Hills Truffle Hunters are reporting the doors have shut and the phones are unanswered at this resto where many of us have had a love hate relationship all our lives. Love because we looooooove the tortillas and honey butter but hate because we hate the screaming children under the Vegas-stlye fake blue sky and clouds dimly lit with … purple?

Yet it was the destination of choice for many area native’s birthdays, family dinners, and later in life guilty pleasures with high school friends, slow Cinco de Mayos (we all have those years), and the final hurdle to get to Equinox after we found parking. Only now that we are actually looking at the website do we find out they have Sunday brunch?!

The restaurant we all like to pretend is not part of that other ‘El Torito’ chain may be no more but the good news is that we can now all go to the valley according to one Truffle Hunter who reported a sign on the door saying “Your nearest El Torito location is in Sherman Oaks.”

I guess that solves the riddle on if they are or are not part of ‘that’ chain. Our cyber-friends at Eater wrote a year ago that this restaurant had gone off lease, filed for bankruptcy and was paying month-to-month until the building found a new owner. This is all seemingly unrelated to the unusual semi-name change to Sinigual a couple years back.

This also brings up the discussion of the Camdem / Bedford area aka restaurant death row. No restaurants except El Torito (until now), Mr. Chow, Crustacean and Brighton Way Cafe have ever survived it.

Our attempts to confirm this information have been limited to what we can do from our day jobs so if you can confirm or deny or add please do comment below or email our hotline at

Polo Lounge Going Under the Knife

After the underwhelming number pulled on the Hotel Bel Air last year, and the removal of the BH Hotel tennis courts the year before that, we aren’t terribly optimistic about ideas coming from the Dorchester camp. The New York Times now reports that the Polo Lounge is next to get a face-lift. Here is what interior designer Adam Tihany, hired for the job, will do:

  • ‘The lighting is awful — we’ll change all that.’
  • New carpeting is on the way.
  • Updated upholstery for the booths, ‘perhaps in a slightly different shade’.
  • We will “maintain the shabby-glamorous feel” of the Polo Lounge.

Here is what he will NOT do:

  • ‘Add rhinestones to the piano.’
  • ‘Put down white shag carpeting.’
  • Banana-leaf wallpaper will be left intact.
  • Signature white and green stripes are protected.
  • The hunter green walls will stay.

A long list of power players and BHH royalty are quoted throughout the article expressing alarm or support of the sacred bar’s potential fate.

Hilarious references are made to several other restaurants throughout the article … they call:

  • Nate ’n Al’s is a ‘dumpy diner.’
  • Chateau Marmont has ‘out-to-lunch servers and a ho-hum menu.’
  • Le Dome closed after heavyweight music clientele ‘recoiled from their an ill-advised renovation’.
  • The Hotel Bel-Air had ‘bad plastic surgery.’

The renovation of the Polo Lounge will be completed in stages starting in January so it can remain open.

Hollywood’s elite at the Polo Lounge by LeRoy Neiman: Near Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable sits a sly W.C. Fields, and, yes, he is holding his menu upside down. Famed gossip columnist Hedda Hopper is perched within earshot of Bogie and Bacall, who seem to be keeping an eye on Katherine Hepburn and John Huston. Elizabeth Taylor, regal and bejeweled, enjoys a quiet cup of coffee. Frank and Barbara Sinatra are making their entrance, perhaps to join Frank’s fellow “Rat Pack” buddies Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., who have already arrived. Star-makers Darryl F. Zanuck and Howard Hughes are here, as are Johnny Carson and Joan collins from the world of television. Film greats Gary Cooper, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo all help lend a magical air to this glittering assemblage.

Adam D. Tihany

Adam D. Tihany

TOP: Rat Pack buddies Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank and Barbara Sinatra, BOTTOM: Clark Gable, W.C. Fields, Marilyn Monroe, Katherine Hepburn, Howard Hughes, Darryl F. Zanuck. AT THE BAR: Johnny Carson, Gary Cooper, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Marlene Dietrich.

FRONT ROW: Hedda Hopper, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Huston, Elizabeth Taylor. SEATED BEHIND: Greta Garbo, Joan Collins,