If you know me, I am a huge (self proclaimed) food snob. My husband and I love to try new restaurants. Wolfgang Puck’s beautiful cookbooks are stocked on my shelves and we try to dine at his restaurants whenever we have the chance.
Naturally I was THRILLED when we were asked to design a reservation card and envelope for the newly remodeled Spago in Beverly Hills grand reopening event.
We are thrilled to share photos and details about his the beautiful Spago restaurant. We also share Holiday Tips at the bottom of this article from Wolfgang himself!
Wolfgang Puck has been a household name since he opened his first flagship restaurant, Spago, in 1982 in Los Angeles. From its opening day Spago was an instant success and a culinary phenomenon. Since then Wolfgang has built a culinary empire that includes Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Catering, and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. Wolfgang also pioneered fine dining in Las Vegas where he was the first star chef to create a contemporary fine dining restaurant when he opened a Spago in the Forum Shops at Caesars in 1992 (The Spago in Las Vegas has its 20 year anniversary coming up). He followed with a Spago in Maui at the Four Seasons resort and in Colorado at The Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, one of Wolfgang’s favorite family vacation destinations.
Along with his incredibly successful restaurant and catering operations, Wolfgang has written six cookbooks, has had an Emmy-winning television series, and has been a regular on the Home Shopping Network with his Wolfgang Puck housewares.
The original Spago was located on the Sunset Strip and was infamous for the celebrities who dined there. For years Swifty Lazar held his annual post-Oscar party at the Spago Hollywood location making it the place to be on Oscar night. Jack Nicholson, Cindy Crawford, Sharon Stone, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Michael Douglas, Oprah Winfrey, Michael J. Fox, Michael Caine, Kathleen Turner, Clint Eastwood, Steve Martin, Aaron Spelling, Warren Beatty and Donald Sutherland, to name just a few, were among the guests who were known to celebrate the Awards at Spago.
In 1997, Wolfgang moved Spago to Cañon Drive in Beverly Hills where it has become a Los Angeles institution. This year, on the heels of its 30th anniversary, Wolfgang closed Spago for a complete remodel in both its design and menu.
Legendary designer Waldo Fernandez oversaw the redesign of Spago with all-new furnishings that give it a really warm and sexy atmosphere. Even from the outside when you are walking by there is a slightly different feel from the original with the new pair of exterior doors that simultaneously welcome like open arms.
The new design also features a set of lower-profile tables that are great for relaxed drinks and appetizers. There are two tables that feel really private but every table in the new Spago is a good table. It also features an expanded private dining area with the most incredible private rooms that can be configured into one large, or three intimately-sized event spaces. I also love that Wolfgang retained Spago’s infamous open kitchen layout so you can actually watch Wolfgang and the other chefs cook. Outside there is a beautiful and tranquil garden patio that features a pair of fireplaces and a one-touch, retractable roof system that allows for al fresco dining year round, rain or shine.
Perhaps the most dramatic change, and one of my favorites, is the implausibly large 30,000 bottle wine collection, 3,000 of which runs the length of the main dining room in a new, glass wine wall. It takes 27 different types of stemware to properly serve the wines featured in the weighty volume assembled by Master Sommelier Christopher Miller.
Wolfgang’s wife, designer and philanthropist Gelila Assefa Puck, curated the art in the restaurant, which is a diverse collection of works by Los Angeles-based artists. To showcase the art, Gelila had the vision to give each artist their own room like a museum. The highlight of the new artwork is an Ed Ruscha piece gracing the largest wall in the main dining room. In addition, works from Sterling Ruby exist among works by Doug Aitken and sculptor Thomas Houseago. There are Walead Beshty photographs, abstract art from the likes of Mark Grotjahn and pieces from younger, emerging artists such as Alex Israel.
The artistic elements in the restaurant extend from the chef’s jackets and uniforms, with their sleek new design by Ozwald Boateng, to the tableware by Bernardaud, a premiere manufacturer of fine French porcelain, who created hand-crafted tableware specifically for Spago entitled “Origins.” Bernardaud’s techniques result in distinct colors and reveal the gesture of the potter in each piece.
We are thrilled to share Wolfgang Puck’s tips below….
Wolfgang Puck’s Helpful Holiday Tips
Stay warm throughout the holidays with cozy desserts and drinks while sitting by the fire with family.
Wolfgang’s Tip: Get into the holiday spirit by baking desserts that fill the house with the sweet smells of Christmas, like Piping Hot Christmas Apple Pie served with Holiday Wassail.
Looking for fun, easy ways to satisfy the whole family on Christmas or New Year’s morning?
Wolfgang’s Tip: Create a family style brunch for everyone to enjoy in celebration. Holiday brunch is festive with dishes like Smoked Ham Hash and Pistachio-Crusted Vanilla French Toast.
Good food sets the stage for entertaining.
Wolfgang’s Tip: For a stylish start to any evening, pop a bottle of champagne and serve elegant hors d’oeuvres, like Potato Pancakes with assorted smoked fish and caviar, prior to an intimate, formal dinner.
Wolfgang’s Tip: To guarantee that you have a perfect sauce for your dish, stir a spoon through the sauce or soup, and then lift it out of the liquid. It should be thick enough to leave a film on the surface of the spoon.
Bring the family together for dinner and enjoy a hearty meal guaranteed to wow your guests.
Wolfgang’s Tip: Cook vegetables briefly in boiling water, then cool them quickly by plunging in ice water. This will bring the taste to its peak while also bringing out the bright colors, adding beautiful, natural color
ENTERTAINING & DECORATING TIPS
For the holidays, there is nothing better than a beautiful table and great food that will put a smile on everyone’s face.
Wolfgang’s Tip: Serve your holiday dinner family style on colorful, festive platters that spread the holiday spirit.
For a festive finale to your holiday celebration, provide guests with stunning traditional desserts like Glacéed Pears with Champagne Sabayon.
Wolfgang’s Tip: For this dish, serve it hot or cold, directly from the dish, with some petit fours.
Be sure to visit Wolfgang Puck’s website to find one of his restaurants near you.