Baltaire in Brentwood is LA’s new “it” steakhouse, for the new Angeleno. This contemporary steakhouse is like social media is to the Internet: It’s taken something everyone loves and made it better and more appealing to a new generation of patrons.
For nostalgic types who fancy an old-fashioned dark-paneled traditional steakhouse, there’s enough of that ambience to satisfy; but for those who like to explore what’s new under the sun, Baltaire features the ultimate modern indoor patio, which comprises about half of the restaurant.
The expansive bright and airy patio resides under a retractable ceiling, which kept the manager busy on a partly cloudy Sunday afternoon, wielding his tiny remote control, aiming to please both those who prefer their brunch in the sunlight and those who preferred their sun dimmed.
But enough about the atmosphere, Baltaire is equally about the quality of the food and the service. Chef Travis Strickland leads the kitchen in tandem with a skilled beverage team who curate the wine list and offer an inventive list of concept cocktails,
Highlights include lighter fare options like the Lobster Cobb Salad with Maine lobster, Nueske bacon lardons, and fines herbs and the Ahi Poke Tuna with yuzu, macadamia, and taro root chips. Then there are more decadent selections like The Butchered Burger made with all prime brisket, chuck, and short rib, ground and blended in house, including all-Prime meats, if you’re in the mood for a steak lunch.
Baltaire does things just a bit different, in a good way. Baltaire fries are not just fries; they have a little bit of sugar sea salt and a French pepper. The seafood platter features deshelled lobster claw, oysters, crab legs and the largest jumbo shrimp I’ve ever seen. A croissant is not just your common pastry, it is flavored with pistachio, and served warm, and very satisfying. The mac & cheese, a signature dish, was loaded with lobster for an extra eight dollars. The Greek salad was a production, with tableside preparation.
After dinner there is a Matcha, a traditional green tea served in handmade bowls from a Brentwood artisan. Unlike other teas where you drink when leaves are infused in the drink, with matcha are you actually drinking the dust from pulverized leaves, as the waiter describes it as “a little bit of ocean and a little bit of green,” as he poured the mixture with the reverence of a spiritual ceremony. For a bread pudding aficionado like myself, the bourdon croissant bread pudding is beautifully presented with a whipped cream caramel stripe and a mint leaf and a hint of coffee in the recipe.
If you are getting the picture, everything on the menu and the ambiance at Baltire is kicked up a notch from the expected, and of course the service is five-star all the way. Even take out baggies look like a fine department store’s shopping bag.
So if you are looking for the ordinary, head to one of those ancient steakhouses in Beverly Hills. For the evolved steak diner, now there’s Baltaire.