A high-stakes enterprise

Times Staff Writer

I have driven up La Cienega for months, wondering what was going on with the Lodge, the new steakhouse for the Atkins generation, slated to replace Temple, just north of Wilshire. I would note the shaggy tree trunks in the window, the urban timber lodge look. It sure looked as if it were about to open any day now. But, permits and financing being what they are, that day didn’t come until just over a week ago.

The Lodge is finally open and word is already out among the crowd who have to see and be seen at the very latest restaurant. The black SUVs and the babes purr at the valet station. Red meat. Lots of it. And, for those who do not, don’t want and will never indulge, hey, there’s salad or a nice piece of fish.

For the record:

12:00 AM, Aug. 06, 2005 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday August 06, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
Restaurant owners -- A review of the Lodge in Beverly Hills in Thursday’s Calendar Weekend section said the steakhouse was part of the Dolce group. The restaurant is owned by Adolfo Suaya and Michael Sutton.

This Beverly Hills steakhouse comes from the group who brought Dolce to West Hollywood and Geisha House to Hollywood. It comes a little late, though, considering that not one but two hipster steakhouses have opened in recent months, Dakota in the revamped Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and Sterling in the old Sunset Room space. And Atkins is no longer the diet of the moment.

Never mind. Steak is perennially popular, and the steakhouse formula is pretty much a no-brainer. You’ve got the shrimp cocktail, the oysters on the half shell, the big red tomatoes with Maui onions and crumbled blue cheese, the crab cakes.


And, of course, the onion rings. Except here -- and I realize the place had only been open a few days when I ventured in -- the onion rings are about as heavy as the logs embedded in the walls of this stone-and-timber lodge.

On a sweltering night, I watched two Midwestern gentlemen settle in at a table for two made from a slice of tree trunk, in front of the fireplace. “I like the table. I like the chairs,” one said, settling on the upholstered leather. They snapped open the menus, zeroed in on a steak and ordered.

I zeroed in on the “sea salt baked potato” with Vermont butter, smoked bacon and chive sour cream. Not only did it sound like a fine baked potato, it also happened to be the most expensive baked potato I personally have encountered: $11. Would it be the size of a football for this price, I wondered? No, it’s more or less normal in size, and that butter is delicious, but how did a 30-cent potato, however dolled up, end up as an $11 item?

I do like a lettuce wedge, and here the kitchen departs from the classic by offering a double wedge, iceberg and butter lettuce, with Thousand Island and/or creamy blue dressing. Heirloom tomatoes with a wedge of burrata in the middle would be my pick from salad list, though.


As for the beef, it’s prime, aged 31 days. Bone-in rib eye is the house specialty, I’m told, and it is impressive for a 20-ounce rib-eye at $42. There’s also a massive 40-ounce Porterhouse for two coming in at $75. They’re certainly not shy about the prices.

And if that baked potato sounds a bit de trop, how about some creamed spinach, market beets or sauteed rapini with lime, chile and way too much garlic?

Eat up. At this point, I wouldn’t save room for the gummy cheesecake or the roasted plums with ice cream.

But the leather booths are comfy and the scene is heating up. It looks as if L.A. is inventing a new genre: the hipster steakhouse.



The Lodge

Where: 14 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills

When: Dinner 5:30 p.m. to midnight daily. Full bar. Valet parking.


Cost: Appetizers, $9 to $22; steaks and chops, $26 to $55; sides, $8 to $11; desserts, $9

Info: (310) 854-0024