Whist at The Viceroy Hotel seemed to have been under the radar, and there were more guests at the bar and lounge than in the dining room, which is a shame considering the talents and pedigree of the Executive Chef, Tony DiSalvo, who joined the restaurant in 2009. Executive Chef Tony DiSalvo trained under Tom Colicchio at Gramercy Tavern before working his way up at New York's Jean Georges, eventually becoming the restaurant's Executive Chef. Whist and Jean Georges are two different animals, of course, from the ambiance to the food.
Whist and DiSalvo recently debuted a new menu in late November and I was invited to try them out.
Our meal started strong with the Beet Salad (hazelnut, truffle panna cotta, baby lettuce) - $16
Next is Mushroom Escabeche (serrano, ham, crostini) - $12
A must-try appetizer is the DiSalvo Meatballs (shaved parmesan, olive oil) - $11. This is apparently a family recipe that's been handed down for four generations!
Moving on to the pastas, we had the Sweet Corn Ravioli (lobster, pancetta, tomato, basil) - $18
Sweet corn and lobster? Can't go wrong. I found the lobster/tomato combination a nice change into the lighter side of the meal after the meatballs. The ravioli was a little too al dente for me, however, and I would've liked it better if it had been just a bit more tender.
We shared one meat entree: Glazed Colorado Lamb Shank (Tunisian spice, farroto, eggplant parsley, harissa) - $31
I liked the flavors here but found the lamb itself a bit overcooked and thus a little tough (it was still tender enough, though).
At this point, we were full and probably should've picked a lighter dessert than this dense bread pudding.
Overall we had a good meal here; the appetizers were stronger but that seems to be the case everywhere now (do try the meatballs - there's a reason this recipe has been maintained for four generations). We walked through the outdoor seating area after dinner. On a nice night you can't go wrong with having drinks and small bites, lounging in white leather chairs under a white cabana (you can reserve a cabana for a dining party up to 10).
Whist at the Viceroy
1819 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Disclaimer: This was an invited dinner and all the food was hosted.