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SUMMER HOT LIST

BOA Steakhouse on Sunset Boulevard

The restaurant can do glam, but its outdoor dining area represents a delight of summer in the city.

By S. IRENE VIRBILA

Restaurant Critic

July 13, 2009

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From the outside, Boa Steakhouse's new digs on Sunset Boulevard don't look too promising: a sleek, anonymous office building close to the West Hollywood- Beverly Hills border with a valet station out front. Give up the Sunset Strip for this?

That wondering makes the stunning space on the other side of the door even more surprising than it already is. Wow and double wow. Don't even think about eating inside. Pass on by the relaxed crowd lounging on sofas in the bar and head straight for the dramatic outdoor dining space (that is, if you reserved ahead and there's still a table free).

The soaring, slanted ceiling with a circle cut out of it to show off the night sky gives the place a futuristic feel. And the roomy circular booths are just the place to show off the summer gowns women are wearing. The guys are dressed up too, in skinny suits or tailored shirts. If you're looking for glam in a steakhouse, this is it. At least for the summer, when everyone wants to dine outside. Come cooler weather, though, heat lamps are mounted high above.

The menu is mostly Boa's standards. Order a Caesar and a server makes it table side, wielding a wooden spoon double time to whip up the dressing. Steak tartare is a table-side performance too. Tuna tartare, crab cakes and seafood platters round out the appetizer selection.

Whole Maine lobster racks up an $80 tab, making the steaks and chops look positively affordable in comparison. For the best steak in the house, hone in on the New York strip dry-aged for 40 days. There's a bone-in filet mignon too, and for those with daintier appetites, a couple of "petite" cuts, though really, why not just share a steak? As at Boa in Las Vegas and Santa Monica, choose your sauce or rub. No need, though, for the marinated skirt steak, which at $26 is a bargain and comes with frites. And the meatballs with the spaghetti have been upgraded to Kobe beef, which is pretty silly. But then Boa is all about perceived luxe. And for me the luxury is that excellent outdoor space right in the middle of the city.

Boa Steakhouse

Where: 9200 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood.
When: Open for dinner 5:30 to 11 p.m. Sundays through Tuesdays, 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays and 5:30 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
Price: Dinner appetizers, $14 to $20; seafood platters, $28 to $150; salads, $10 to $14; main courses, $18 to $44; sides, $9 to $22. Lunch appetizers, $5 to $15; sandwiches, $9 to $15; entrees, $15 to $20; sides, $5 to $10.
Contact: (310) 278-2050; www.boasteak.com.


irene.virbila@latimes.com