What? I know. It's just that I used to live in El Segundo, and now I'm holed up in the OC, so I tend to favor places off the 405, or by the beach. Hollywood can be a bit of a trek. But, friends were in town from the Bay Area, and so we met for drinks at AOC on 3rd; which then turned into a late dinner at Cleo in Hollywood.
This is all about Cleo.
Cleo was amazing. Located in the Redbury Hotel, on Vine Street, this is one Mediterranean restaurant that I would classify as definitely trendy. But who cares? It's in Hollywood. It should be trendy.
It's all small plates, so you get to try a lot of different things; and I think we made our way through the menu pretty well. The food comes out as it's prepared, so there's no traditional appetizers-salad-entree order to your meal. There's also a fun libations list.
- Lebaneh with feta—a yogurt cheese dip for this wonderful bread which comes in a brown paper bag. It was tangy, and so yummy. I would get this again.
- Dolmades—Cleo's version of dolmas. I'm not a fan of dolmas, so I can't really comment here.
- Chicken kebab—yum. What can I say? It's a kebab. The chicken was cooked perfectly, and tasted...well, yum.
- Pumpkin—one of the best and more interesting salads I have ever had. There is a little bit of a kick to the salad thanks to the spiced pepitas. The rest of the salad consists of roasted pumpkin, shaved parmesan and hazelnut vinaigrette. I'm pretty sure there were also pomegranates, and I forget what type of lettuce was served.
- Brussel Sprouts—our waitress told us that the brussel sprouts taste like potato chips, and she did not lie. I may have mixed up what part of the menu the brussel sprouts are from, as there are some that you can order under "mezzes." Just ask for the ones that taste like potato chips. They actually resemble chips because someone in the Cleo kitchen to the time to take the brussel sprout leaves apart. Thank you to whoever does that job because this dish is amazing!
- Lamb Shawarma—another delicious dish. Not gamey at all, and tender.
- Seasonal Mushroom—this came out at the very end, and it did not disappoint. It was similar to a flatbread pizza, and the remains of the lebaneh with feta was a good compliment.
- Grilled Octopus—normally I am not a fan of octopus as I have had too much of the rubbery stuff, but this was delicious and not at all like I have had before.
- Mussel Tagine—these mussels come in a broth of saffron, tomato, chickpeas and spinach. Another tasty dish.
- Sticky Toffee Pudding—this was described as a toffee pudding with a bread pudding-like consistency. It came out exactly as described, and it was so, so good. I actually voted for this over baklava (which I love).