Heavy Going At Confete In West Hollywood

Confete in West Hollywood has quite a few things going for it, and should be around for a while in what can be a very tough and unsentimental climate for restaurants right now. The Prado family who opened up this Latin brasserie about four months ago have three other restaurants in their mini empire, all well run, and Confete is no exception. The large square room has a bright colorful ambience without going overboard, but the acoustics leave a bit to be desired, especially if there is a noisy crowd. The service was brisk, which was quite surprising as there was only one waitress servicing the entire restaurant. She moved around at breakneck speed covering a lot of ground. The Prado crowd surely knows how to run a tight ship.

I went on a Tuesday night with a friend when a birthday party was just winding down, several other tables were occupied and business seemed quite brisk with the restaurant about a third full. Not bad, considering that it was the opening night of the new season for the Lakers, and that the players were getting their championship rings. A full bar greets you as you come in, and yes the martini and cocktail selection is quite impressive, especially the Confete signature martini and the unique Caramel Apple martini.

The menu is tight and compact with a choice of seven starters, eight soups/salads and eleven main courses. The crab cakes ($9) come mixed with homemade crackers and West Indies spices and served with tartar sauce and tomato-orange relish. This is yet another restaurant that claims that their crab cakes are the best in town. Confete's crab cakes are small without a lot of breading but with plenty of crab. The albondiga soup ($6) was a giant meatball in spaghetti sauce, more to my taste than my companion who complained about the thickness of the sauce. The Cesar Chavez salad ($8) with fresh grated parmesan cheese can lay a legitimate claim to be the closet version of the original Tijuana salad. A bit more color is also needed on the plates, too much brown, which is virtually the same color as much of the food.

We were starting to get pretty good by this time, courtesy of the martini's, but still selected three main courses to give us a decent representation as to what the restaurant is all about. Best seller on the menu is Chuleta al Limon - a tender pork chop marinated overnight with mustard, thyme, lemon and champagne, reasonably priced at $14. The chop was certainly thick and hearty and again we differed over the flavor, which my companion enjoyed far more than I did. The Camarones Negros ($19) tasted like it sounds, jumbo shrimp sautéed in a very thick spicy black pepper sauce, and served over Poblano rice. A very specialized taste. Poullet Paupiette ($15) was pretty good, a leg of chicken stuffed with chopped garden vegetables, baked and covered with a morel sauce. It was very tender and moist, but again pretty heavy.

The dessert choice of a red velvet strawberry cake continued the 'heavy approach' and had more of a carrot cake feel to it. The glass of port we had with it did not match either. So there you have it - check it out yourself, but make sure you are pretty hungry.

Dining at Confete was, to be perfectly honest, not a memorable experience, but the atmosphere is good, service and attention is fine, and some of the food was very good if not outstanding. A few modifications to the menu might be in order - maybe smaller portions and lighten up quite a bit on the sauces for starters. I'm betting that Confete will get it right in the long run, and still be around when some of it's trendy rivals are long gone.

Tel: 323 848 7700
Fax: 323 848 7747

Confete on the web

Dress: Casual
Parking available
Cost: Dinner for two with wine, $70

Mike Hepworth, November 2001

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