Victor Drai, the movie producer turned nightclub impresario, is planning to open Rare by Drai's in the former BLT Steak on Sunset Boulevard in early December. Rare by Drai's, a steakhouse for the Sunset Plaza set, is the latest restaurant foray from the man behind nightclubs Drai's in Hollywood and XS and Tryst in Las Vegas.
It's a reimagining of the restaurant that formerly was part of Drai's when it opened three years ago at the top of the W Hotel on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Argyle. But its lineage goes back 20 years to the original Drai's restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard, the Cal-French bistro helmed by chef Claude Segal that drew '90s stars such as Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone. "There's history," said Drai, who produced movies such as "The Woman in Red" and "Weekend at Bernie's." "I'm getting back to my baby."
Patrick Florendo is the chef at Rare by Drai's, which is a collaboration with ESquared Hospitality. The menu features prime steaks butchered in house as well as seafood such as Drai's favorite dish, a whole roasted loup de mer with lemon and thyme and roasted on a bed of fennel, along with classic appetizers and sides such as spicy tuna tartare.
"People have an easy understanding of a steakhouse," Drai said. "It's very simple. It's very hard if you don’t have a big-name chef to have complicated food. But people know steak, it's easier to do a steakhouse menu than any other thing. But you can go sophisticated."
If going sophisticated means a DJ in the lounge and a "Los Angeles-meets-Las Vegas sensibility," then that's what Drai plans to do. You can take the restaurateur out of the nightclub, but you can't take the nightclub out of the restaurateur.
8720 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, www.facebook.com/rarebydrais.