The Draycott: Dining Review

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Photography by Damon Casarez
The Palisades gets the conservative cuisine it craves.

The Hollywood Reporter reviews the British-inflected instant clubhouse at the Westside's recently redeveloped Palisades Village.

Every debuting restaurant desperately hopes to secure a sizable contingent of well-heeled regulars. Rare, however, is the newcomer fortunate to find itself overrun from night one with patrons eager to join those ranks. That's the reality of the Draycott, an all-day British-inflected brasserie that bowed in late September as the high-gloss signature dining establishment of Rick Caruso's new redevelopment, Palisades Village. (Caruso is the maestro of refined schmaltz also behind the comparatively down-market The Grove.)

The chatter among the predominantly local crowd is evidence of a clubhouse being born in real time: "I've been in four times this week." "You've got to get the manager's card." Most importantly: "I'm making this my table."

The married couple behind the Draycott is Matt and Marissa Hermer, recent arrivals from England (though she was raised in Orange County). She was on Bravo's Ladies of London; he made his name creating the royals-luring club Boujis; they collaborated on a pair of fancified country-fare spots there called Bumpkin. Their aesthetic here is mostly a brazen swipe from Cecconi's in West Hollywood — bright furniture, marble bar, showpiece terrace, a generalized air of Europe-on-holiday. It's all leavened with kids books and board games in a converted martini trolley.

Hand it to the Hermers: They've anticipated the conservative taste of their demo, constructing a streamlined menu strategic in its lack of edge. Visitors won't be challenged by, say, offal, or any other British gastronomic adventurism. Even the curry spice in a roasted cauliflower starter — a nod to England's proud heritage of Indian cuisine — is restrained to a near-comic blandness.

The Draycott's sweet spot is the tried-and-true, whether squarely Anglo or traditionally Hollywood. There's a stellar fish and chips, a juicy pork chop paired with an excellent slaw, and a casually flawless Pimm's Cup. Meanwhile, at lunch, the chop salad — which includes chicory, fagioli beans and flecks of Parmigiano-Reggiano — could convert disciples of the iconic iteration at La Scala.

Yet the triumphs (like a buttery, pan-roasted trout) are undermined by some real misses: a bowl of moules-frites in a wincingly acidic broth; chicken liver mousse that repeatedly arrived out-of-the-fridge stiff and astonishingly flavorless. Luckily, the amiable servers are rapid-response specialists who, like the Hermers, appear hypercognizant of the reality that their patrons are the types not only to return a disappointing dish but also to relish spending the next week telling everyone they know about it. And at the Draycott, that could mean half the Palisades.

15255 Palisades Village Lane; (310) 573-8938
Recommended: Draycott chop ($18), pan-roasted trout ($28), pork chop ($29)
Best table: Two booths with views of the bar and terrace

This review is based on multiple visits. Reservations are made under another name. Meals are covered by THR.

This story first appeared in the Nov. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.