Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Stinking Rose: A Garlic Restaurant - Beverly Hills

A number of years ago when we were in San Francisco, we walked by The Stinking Rose and it really caught my attention. A menu was posted in the window and everything about it just oozed garlicky goodness. I wanted to eat there in the worst way, but we'd already eaten Chinese (in China Town) and I had to pass. But I did pick up a menu to take home and stared in the window for a few minutes at some of the dishes being served. 

I recently discovered that there is a Stinking Rose in Beverly Hills. Judy has a great nose and she can always tell when I've eaten garlic. We'll get into bed and I'll hear her sniff and then, without a miss, she'll say, "You've had garlic haven't you?" Of course, she doesn't like the smell of garlic (although she likes to eat it), so I have to be careful how often I eat it. Judy was in Louisville doing AP grading over the Father's Day weekend, and Sam was in town, so I decided it would be fun for the two of us to get together with Andrew for lunch. I Googled "unusual restaurants" in Los Angeles and the Stinking Rose came up as an option. What a PERFECT time to eat garlic - Judy's out of town!

The boys were game so we arrived about 11:30 a.m. to avoid the lunch crowd. I'm happy we did because by the time we left quite a few people were waiting to be seated and the place was packed. 

We ordered the Bagna Calda, which is garlic cloves roasted in olive oil and butter, with a little bit of anchovy mixed in, served in an iron skillet. They suggest spreading the garlic on the house-baked garlic rolls. I've tried counting the cloves of garlic in my photo of it and there are probably 40 or more cloves. Unbelievable. But what was amazing is that it was very soft, smashed easily with a fork, and with a little added salt made a heavenly spread on the garlic rolls. All of the biting garlic taste had been removed. I slathered it on very thickly and had at least three rolls. This was the highlight of the meal and the reason I'm salivating right now thinking about it. I will go back just to have this again. 
Bagna Calda
Garlic rolls - wonderful with Bagna Calda on them.
We got a roasted garlic baked brie which was a brie in a skillet, warmed up and melted, with garlic cloves on top and thinly sliced, crusty bread on the side to spread it on. The garlic in this dish was not as well cooked and still had a little bit of crunch and and little bit of the garlic bite to it. It was okay, but I would not order it again.
Roasted garlic baked brie.
The boys wanted garlic fries. They were nice, but I would have liked them more garlicky. 
Garlic fries
I got the garlic roasted prime rib that came with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. I'd read on Yelp that sometimes the prime rib is a little over-cooked, so I asked for a rib eye, I'd seen recommended. They didn't have that, so I requested the rarest piece of prime rib in the kitchen and I was amazed when they brought me out the rares piece of prime rib I've ever had - and it was great, some of the best prime rib I've ever eaten. It was great with a littlle salt, but it came with some nice au jus and creamy horseradish sauce, and they were nice additions to it as well. I would go back for the prime rib. 
Rare garlic roasted prime rib
Yukon gold mashed potatoes and creamed spinach
Andrew got the large Sizzling Iron Skillet with mussels and shrimp. It included an amazing amount of food. All three of us helped him and we still were not able to eat all of the mussels. It came with some nice melted butter and had roasted crushed garlic sprinkled over it. This is another dish I would order again.
Shrimp and mussels with melted butter and garlic
Sam got a dry-aged New York steak with the same sides I had. I've decided I'm not a big dry-aged steak fan. I've had it several times now and it just doesn't do anything for me, but Sam enjoyed it. 
Poor picture of dry-aged New York steak.
Judy got back the next day and although she could smell some garlic on me, I was amazed it was not overpowering because I had just eaten by far more garlic at a sitting than I ever have before. So I'm encouraged that I can go back and try the Bagna Calda again. I'm looking forward to that day.


  1. Stan would love to go garlic eating with you. This is right up his alley. However, I share Judy's nose for garlic, so we'll have to find something (expensive) to do while the two of you are detoxing.

  2. Chris, I'm all for that. Hey, did he say this restaurant is in Beverly Hills? I'm sure we can find something to do. I must admit, however, that some of these dishes look pretty spectacular. Maybe I'LL go there next time my husband is out of town.

  3. I'm happy to take you any time. Just let me know. You would have been welcome to come if you had not been out of town on Father's Day!