To Sur….With Love

It’s relatively rare to find the all-encompassing restaurant…the one with ambiance, beautiful décor, an interesting menu, great food and superb service. That’s exactly what you will find at Sur on North Robertson.

You leave the noise of that busy street to enter a garden of white-clothed tables and chairs in a splendid patio, cross the threshold and find yourself in a delightful interior, enhanced by candles, sconces, a wood bas relief, and statuary, everywhere. My mother would have called it “a bit ungeposhet” (a little much), but all this atmosphere will remind you of the restaurants you may have seen in any Mediterranean port.  It’s thrilling to be in a restaurant that actually can transport you!

Guillermo, the owner and manager, seated us and Edwin, his cousin, arrived quickly, bread basket in hand, with a gracious greeting. Though the restaurant looks and feels Italian, the majority of the personnel hail from Argentina and they bring that South of the Border  charm to Sur, which means South.

It’s a single page menu, consisting of nine appetizers, eight soups and salads, six pastas and risottos, and sixteen assorted entrees, including fifteen sides.  All this and nightly “Specials”, which will entice you completely.

You’ve looked around, settled in, buttered the hunk of sour dough or olive bread, sipped your martini and begin to feel the aura of Sur take over. You’re calm, yet amazed to be encompassed by such exquisite surroundings. You’ve ordered and, somehow, the food makes its appearance shortly thereafter.

We began with a taste of several of the appetizers: the shrimp and crab cake in chipotle mayonnaise, the lobster cake with wheat tartar, the chicken and shrimp steamed dumplings in a sweet Thai chili sauce and the corn fritters. Score a “B” for the crab and lobster cake and “A+” to both those magnificent dumplings and, oh, so good corn fritters. The former were  a bit too doughy, the latter, heaven-sent.  Add the same “A+” to Chef Martinez’s gazpacho soup: a huge serving of cold tomato broth with shaved avocado pieces sitting on top. Yummy!

We shared an order of Belgian Salad consisting of endive, pear, caramelized pecans, gorgonzola cheese in a honey pear vinaigrette – clean, sumptuous, a treat for the senses and another “A+”.

As daylight dimmed, the restaurant takes on a soft, orange glow from the numerous candles aglow everywhere. The less-crowded restaurant was beginning to hum as more and more patrons filled the place. A buzz, and the hum of other voices reduced the sound of the lovely background music. And it was time for our entrees.  Fran selected the roasted wilds salmon in a lime caper sauce. I chose the charbroiled rib-eye steak with a side of five peppercorn red-wine sauce. Both come with two of the aforementioned fifteen sides: Fran chose the grilled vegetables and yams; I, the French fries and salad.  Everything on both our plates was better than delicious: some of the best potatoes either of us have ever eaten; generous, tasty with cooked-to-perfection fish and meat, the plates brimming with flavor, fine taste and excellent presentation.

Prices are in the sensible, reasonable realm: five dollars for soup; nine dollars for those delicious dumplings; nine for the corn fritters; twelve for Belgian salad; twenty-five, the salmon; thirty-three, the steak.  Do skip the crab and lobster cakes – no restaurant is entirely perfect!

We had heard great stories of their pecan pie but they were out of it that night. We shared a deep dish blackberry pie with vanilla ice cream and it more than made up for the missing pie. Now, we have one more reason to visit Sur again.

You should have every reason to visit – and, soon. Please remember the drill and tell them Joseph sent you.

Sur, 606 No. Robertson Blvd. (by Melrose)  West Hollywood 90069, Tel. 310-289-2824 approx. $75 for two w/o alcohol  (Tip: Try to get there at sundown.)