Europa - Essence of European Cuisine - guest review
401 N La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90048-1906

A name that aptly describes this chic restaurant, for here you can enjoy the sublime essence of European Cuisine. A tale I will tell that was shared by Ben Neumann and Peter Pergelides, two of the movers and shakers of this fine eaterie. They spent a long period of time finding out what they did not like about 'eating out' and by eliminating all those 'no noes' they came up with a list of concepts which have been incorporated into the warp and weft of Europa. Thus creating a standard so superior for service, food value and presentation, ambiance and all those things that bring their guests a true European feeling, pleasing not only to those whose roots are 'in the old country' but to many people who are looking for quality, integrity and excitement when they eat out.

The dynamic executive chef, Roushdy Shenouda hails from Egypt, studied at the New England Culinary Institute and in the South of France, brought his talents to Los Angeles, met up with Ben and Peter and history is being written for each chapter in a person's life brightens the tapestry of those around. Roushdy's commitment to excellence, his innovative cooking techniques and joie de vivre reflected the qualities Peter, Ben and Andrea Neumann were busy incorporating into their dream, soon to become a reality.

In April, 2001 Europa opened its doors at 401 N La Cienega in the heart of Restaurant Row. Completely renovating what once was a Greek taverna, now this lovely venue features wide open spaces, lots of mirrors, eclectic artwork and in the center a great fountain softly pouring its libation into a pool where fresh flower blossoms and lighted candles romanticize the mood for lovers and others alike.

Crisp white linens, elegant glass and flatware decorate the tables and act as a fine backdrop for the Old World recipes fused with modern influences using only the freshest and most authentic ingredients. As you will see from the menu, each dish comes from a different part of Europe so in one sitting you can sample food from many countries. A signature dishes created by Chef Roushdy and owner Ben, not to be missed!, is the fire-roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup. The smoky flavor in the pepper meat is created by roasting the peppers over a gas burner, twelve different spices are added together with clover honey and dabs of butter and cream. Ben's uncle was a famous chef in Germany and owned a well-known inn and restaurant serving exotic meals - he obviously passed on his knowledge to his son!

The flaming Saganaki originating in Greece is baked kefalotyri cheese flambéed with brandy and fresh lemon juice which balances the slight saltiness of the cheese. Exotic describes the French Foie Gras appetizer, it is pan seared with creamy shitake mushrooms and drizzled with caramel apple (how well Roushdy combines tastes and textures!). For main courses the Castilian Lobster from Spain is a whole pan roasted fresh lobster atop a bed of saffron risotto with a lush creamy white wine sauce whilst meat lovers can choose from seared herb crusted Black Forrest Filet of Venison from Germany sided by apple glazed red cabbage, caramelized onion mashed potatoes and a red wine demi-glaze reduction, a French Lamb de Savoir where the rack of lamb is crusted with Peanuts and served with roasted potatoes and a port honey sauce or Ludwig's Filet of Tenderloin, apple wood smoked bacon sweetly wrapped around tenderloin in a merlot reduction.

It's really hard to make a choice and you will have to return quite a few times to be able to enjoy all the wonderful dishes prepared with so much loving attention (another of the concepts incorporated by management and well installed into all the staff at Europa).

Desserts to choose from are the scrumptious Apple Strudel stuffed with apples, raisins, strawberries, nuts and cinnamon sugar, the Kaesesahne Torte which is an old recipe from Germany consisting of sweetened sour cream mousse on a fluffy sponge cake garnished with a compote of fresh fruits, or for chocolate lovers, the Chocolate Napoleon which is a rich cake layered with chocolate pastry cream sided by strawberry coulis and crème anglaise.

The wine menu is small but very well chosen, with French and California reds and whites and soon you might be able to try the Organic wines from Italy. (My favorite is the Valpolicella Classico by Ottomarzo). Europa also offers some interesting Dessert Wines to complete your dining experience and you might want to spend time at the large wrap-around bar enjoying your favorite cocktail and being serenaded by the fabulous voices of Ben Neumann, Peter Pergelides who, amongst his many talents, is a vocal coach and toured with Michael Jackson's "Sisterella", the debonair Manager, Steven Beckler who appeared on Broadway in "Beauty and the Beast" and pianist, Frank Salerno, who sings romantic songs. Enjoy!

Tel: 310.652.7000
Valet and street parking

Hours: Monday - Friday , 18:00 to 23:00
Saturday 18:00 to Midnight
Sunday 17:00 to 22:00
Lunches: to be announced

Europa online

Guest review, courtesy of Carolan Nathan, July 2001

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