I've been trying to take in more culture in Los Angeles lately. Surprisingly, LA does in fact have some culture and interesting happenings in the city, but you have to look for it. With new events in different venues, it also brings me to new restaurants. Recently there was a great Moth Story Slam event at the Avalon in Hollywood. I noted Cleo in the Redbury Hotel right next door and booked a reservation. I packed a snack, water and a friend and left the westside for the long journey to Cleo Hollywood.
The Redbury Hotel is striking from the outside with a grand red entrance and intricately colorful paisley door. Just off the lobby is Cleo's bar, which opens into a larger restaurant with big comfy chairs and tables scattered throughout.
Cleo serves Mediterranean small plates. These aren't the whimpy small plates though where you get one bite of something that costs $20 for a chew.
The roast lamb at $15 comes with over a half dozen good slices of perfectly cooked lamb over a really flavorful Israeli couscous and labneh. That dish turned my non-eating lamb friend back to lamb.
The $14 moussaka was a hearty skillet piled high with rich eggplant, beef ragout, generous feta dollops and pine nuts. You can legitimately share that dish since it's super filling, but fabulously delicious.
The brussels sprouts were also rich, needing its own filter to lap up some of the grease and red wine vinaigrette. The coffee filter was pretty soaked by the time we finished...every...last....piece.
The most holy of our dishes was artichokes roasted with lemon and nicoise olives. It was also the least interesting, but after all of the bold, decadent dishes preceding it, it didn't stand a chance.
There's a decent cocktail and wine list with even a few beers thrown in. So whether taking in a show at the Pantages or Avalon, Cleo is a great stop for some interesting small plates and cocktails.
Cleo, Redbury Hotel
1717 Vine St., Hollywood