Erbe Matte, Beverly Hills

340 N Canon Dr · Beverly Hills, CA 90210 · Neighborhood: Beverly Hills

90210 isn’t usually thought of as a foodie “hang out” destination. Primarily known as a tourist spot, newer Beverly Hills restaurants often go unnoticed.  Diners who do frequent Beverly Hills will often times instead go to better ­known establishments like Bouchon, Mastros or Spagos for a luncheon or romantic dinner

Until they gain their footing, these newer restaurants are ultimately the underdogs, trying to stay alive long enough to make a name for themselves. One such place, flying under the radar of most, is the 4-month old, Canon Drive eatery, Erbe Matte.

Korean born, world-class Chef Louis Kim, powers Erbe Matte’s kitchen which features a interesting blend of Korean inspired, Italian cuisine. This unique hybrid combines the authentic elements of both worlds in a delicious upscale setting.

Chef Kim is well-traveled. He has worked in various locations all around the world  and of course, Italy. His resume includes, The Four Seasons in Singapore and Milan, Hotel Okura and Hotel Shilla in Seoul, Korea, French Laundry and Bouchon Bakery in Yountville and Hotel Okura in Amsterdam just to give you a short list of his credentials.

The interior décor is artful, sleek and sexy with an outdoor patio, desirable when the weather is friendly (basically any given LA day).

While his menu is Italian centered, it is heavy on Korean influences. Classic pasta dishes are flavored with Korean spices and “crazy herbs,” the meaning of the name Erbe Matte. Italian food isn’t really known for it’s spice factor. The extra kick that the Korean chili’s add are a unique and interesting touch to traditional dishes. The result is an explosion of taste that may leave you savoring every last bite.

Chef Kim offers a variety of basic traditional Korean dishes as well. Jap-Chae (pictured below) is a stir-fried sweet potato (clear) noodle with mixed vegetables and light soy sauce.  It is a simple and light dish that makes for a great appetizer to share. Others include Frittella A Base di Pesce (Haemul Pajeon); A Korean style mixed shellfish, seafood pancake with spring onions, Bi-Bim-Bap (national dish of South Korea); steamed rice with Korean style barbeque short ribs, mixed vegetables, fried egg and a spicy Korean chili sauce, and Gal-bi-jim; which is a short rib stew with ginseng, water chestnut, carrot, daikon, pinenuts and a dash of soy sauce.

Another appetizer I enjoyed was the Insalata di Spinaci. A spinach salad with marinated sesame leaves, tofu, cucumber, bean sprouts, green onion, daikon sprouts and Korean chili vinaigrette.

I really enjoyed their pasta dishes, which I have now tried on two different occasions. The Agnolotti pasta is filled with a combination of veal, pork and a beef and is served up in delicious mushroom cream sauce. It was really good.

Other awesome plates included the Penne Al Oxtail (pictured), which is braised in a rosemary tomato sauce, and the Linguine Al Tartufo D’Alba (pictured), served up with wild mushrooms in an orgasmic white truffle cream sauce.

Even though I had ordered a lot already, I couldn’t help but also try the Filetto di Branzino in Crosta di Sale (oven baked, salt crusted sea bass). After having been baked in the oven, the server brought two plates out to our table. One plate had herbs and vegetables; the other held a strange sand castle-like mound of something that he proceeded to light on fire.  That “something” I learned was the salt, neatly cocooning our sea bass.

Then our server gently began to break apart the mound and reveal our delicate white fish, which was wrapped in a sesame leaf. Peeling apart the leaf and then finally plating the fish on top of the veggies, the aroma you could imagine was lovely! The sea bass was deliciously light and tender and contrary to what I was expecting, not salty at all! The flavors were subtle yet specific. This dish did not disappoint.

Tada! My beautifully plated sea bass!

Finally, what Italian dinner is complete without a serving of decadent tiramisu?

Check out Erbe Matte in Beverly Hills for a special occasion or romantic evening and a refreshingly unique spin on Italian food.

** They are serving up a special Valentine’s Day special menu featuring a 6 course tasting menu, candlelight dinner and a live opera singer. Visit their website for more information **

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BYB Tip: A perfect wallet-friendly lunch for employees in the area; M-Th from 11:30am to 1:30 pm they offer an awesome $10 semi-buffet lunch menu, which includes fresh baked bread, 2 kinds of appetizer, 3 kinds of salad and a daily pasta dish. I wish Erbe Matte was around when I used to work in Beverly Hills! This is a crazy good lunch deal.

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