On Vine Street just north of Hollywood Boulevard, valets stand at attention, ready to usher guests into the new Redbury Hotel. The latest project from SBE's Sam Nazarian, the hotel design braids elements of Morocco, France and Egypt into an exotic, Old Hollywood look.
The hotel restaurant is called Cleo after the Egyptian queen, and for those who don't quite get it, a giant black-and-white photo of Theda Bara from the 1917 film "Cleopatra" greets visitors at the entrance. She's fabulously fierce with hooded eyes and a revealing costume that probably wouldn't raise eyebrows on Hollywood Boulevard these days. It makes me want to go and rent the movie immediately, though.
Cleo the restaurant is much more welcoming. It's about time somebody did a hip Middle Eastern restaurant, and that somebody is SBE corporate chef Danny Elmaleh. The menu is mostly small plates, but instead of an annoying sprawl of platters that don't fit on the table, the delicious spreads and dips are presented in small bowls. Who wouldn't swoon over the slurry of piquillo peppers with feta or the thick Lebanese yogurt with olive oil, lemon and dried oregano? They're wonderful spread on warm, freshly baked flatbread.
Read more in Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila's review: "Early Bird: Cleo."
Photo: Diners sit at the bar of Cleo, a new restaurant at the Redbury Hotel in Hollywood. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times