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Restaurant Reviews and Commentary from Karen Salkin

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I attended a different kind of event the other day at Ago, on Melrose. Though I don’t drink, (I’m blessed enough to hate the taste of alcohol), I love the girls who invited me there to meet the charming Maurice Hennessy, of the cognac family. I don’t need much encouragement to meet a handsome man while eating delicious food, so off I went, right in the middle of visiting the Main Event Red Carpet Emmy Suite in Beverly Hills. And when I found out that Maurice and I shared a dislike for white chocolate and Bush, I was in heaven the whole time.

My two Hennessey cocktails.

I hadn’t even realized that Ago was open for lunch! I guess most people don’t know, either, because it was relatively empty. Our event was in a private back room. It was to introduce us to the Exclusive Collection, which I did actually try. I’m usually willing to take a sip of a cocktail, as long as someone holds my hand while I’m doing it. In this case, it was Doug DeBeech, Hennessy's official mixologist.

I took tiny sips of his two latest creations, the Pom Sidecar (made with pomegranate puree, which is considered so healthful nowadays) and the Shanghai, and they were both actually quite good. (See the second line of paragraph one for why I was surprised that I thought so.)

There was a beautiful display of all their bottles, including a gorgeous new one that’s decorated with Swarovski crystals. So, when you drain it of liquor, you can wear it as a necklace!

The Hennessey bottle decorated with
Swarovski crystals.

After we admired the beautiful bottles, we sat down to a lovely light lunch. Everyone else loved the truffle pizza. Here’s yet another weirdness of mine: I love mushrooms, but hate truffles. Just as I love guacamole, but hate avocado. And love fresh cherries, but hate them as an ingredient, like in pie and ice cream.

Back to the Ago-Hennessey tasting. One of my favorite dishes was the cheese ravioli with fava beans. I thought Hannibal Lecter was going to pop out, but then I realized we were enjoying Hennessy, not a nice Chianti. (Juvenile “Silence of the Lambs” reference, for you people from Cognac, France.)

They then served sliced Filet Mignon, which was cooked perfectly. The end slices were medium well, my favorite, with the rest the way most others like theirs. I saw that there were fancy cookies for dessert, but none could be better than the Marius Morsels ones they were serving back at the Emmy Suite, so I passed on them. I must give props to the waiter, Scott Anderson, who couldn’t have been more accommodating, and was genuine about it, which made the dining a pleasure.

Ago has been open for about a decade now, with the same owners, on a site that was previously considered to be jinxed. That’s pretty impressive, especially for such a fickle city as Los Angeles. Perhaps it’s because Robert Deniro is still one of the owners. He always seems to have the magic touch, maybe to make up for his lack of gift for gab. I guess when you’re as brilliant as he is, you let your abundance of talent, in many areas, do your talking. Maybe that’s why I’m so chatty.

Ago 8478 Melrose Ave. WeHo 323-655-6333

And lastly, Super Happy Birthday to my precious Clarence, the Singing Dog. It’s really a happier day for us because Mr. X and I know that we’re unbelievably lucky to have had the pleasure of Clarence’s company for so long. May that luck continue for very many years. (Knock on wood.)

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