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by tony reverditto Tom Tom Marches to the Beat of Its Own Drum A Taste of RomanceIn SoCal

hrough the years as a journalist with The Rage MonthlyI have had many wonderful opportunities to report on restaurants throughout Southern California. Some of my fondest dining experiences were at Lisa

Vanderpump and Ken Todd’s establishments. First was Villa Blanca, then SUR, followed by PUMP,

and I loved them all for different reasons. Not too long ago, they added Tom Tom Restaurant Bar as the latest feather in the cap of their West Hollywood empire. Miami-based designer Nick Alain collaborated

with Vanderpump and Todd to orchestrate the vision of this posh hot spot, which includes the hypnotic focal point, a massive brass clock, an Old World-style, floor-to-ceiling time piece with its inner workings exposed. Naturally, Tom Tom is adorned with Vanderpump’s signature mirrors, chandeliers and flower arrangements. Her latest crown jewel is Vanderpump Cocktail Garden, located in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, featuring hand-crafted cocktails and a menu focused of small bites. Vanderpump was a restaurateur long before

she was a reality-television personality. She and her husband have opened 35 restaurants and bars/clubs since they were married, basically that averages about one a year. The ball continued to roll in 2005 when they joined forces with another couple, Guillermo and Nathalie Zapata, to revamp a West Hollywood spot that the Zapatas had owned for nearly a decade into today’s SUR Restaurant & Lounge. In 2009, Vanderpump and Todd opened Villa

Blanca in Beverly Hills. In 2010, they joined the original cast ofThe Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, a new installment of Bravo TV’s megahitReal Housewives franchise. Savvy Vanderpump proposed a spinoff set in SUR restaurant, andVanderpump Rules (VPR) debuted on Bravo TV in 2013 and has been a ratings hit ever since. In 2015, PUMP would join the ranks and would be the latest eatery/night club and another backdrop for the VPR franchise.

50 RAGE monthly | February 2020 If that weren’t enough, at Tom Schwartz and Katie

Maloney’s wedding, Vanderpump approached Schwartz and his buddy and cast mate Tom Sandoval with a business proposition. She wanted to open a new bar called Tom Tom and asked Schwartz and Sandoval to be her and Ken’s business partners. Last season onVanderpump Rules documented their participation in this awesome undertaking. At times, the two Toms worried they were in over their heads, but their colorful journey proved to be well worth the reward. The two former SUR bartenders turned entrepreneurs have found their stride and are responsible for the development of the signature cocktails with the help of renowned mixologist, Sly Cosmopolous of Republic National Distributing Co. I found out firsthand that Tom and Tom have

created some extremely unique cocktail concoc- tions. It was tough to decide, but theDaddy Diablo jumped out at me. This elixir has a Buzz Button, tequila, ginger liqueur, Crème de Cassis, lime, fresh ginger, thyme and ginger beer, and it packed quite the punch while being quite refreshing. My partner enjoyed a glass of theFrank Family Chardonnay 2016 from the eclectic wine list that included LVP Rose’ on it. The Chardonnay had aromas of toasted brioche, baking spices and candied lemon rind. On the palate, creamy with nuanced flavors of yellow apple, lemon curd, baked pear, melon and subtle hints of oak toast. The menu offerings are served “family style” and

are broken down into categories: Foreplay, Under- water, #Partyanimals, From the Farm, Amongst Friends and From the Garden. Keep in mind that the categories as well as the menu items are constantly evolving and subject to change. Our server Brett, an aspiring actor, was the shining

light in the darkish dining space that we sat in. He was attentive and knowledgeable about the menu. I had selected some options ahead of time. For ap- petizers, theSpicy Tuna on Crispy Rice was quite a unique treat and beautifully presented with accents of chili sesame, jalapeño, soy and scallions. The other, Spicy Cauliflower “Wings,” was beer-battered

tempura with brown sugar citrus glaze and sesame topped with scallions. They were visually appealing and tasty and a healthier take on meaty hot wings. In the interim, we had theRock Shrimp Artichoke

Flatbreadtopped with artichoke green chili crema, grilled Shishito, edamame and raddichio slaw. The flatbread was a bit doughy, so be sure to ask them to cook it a bit longer if you want it crispier. I want to give a shout-out about theBubbapump Shrimp Jicama Tacos, crispy rock shrimp, spicy aioli, cilantro, radish and scallions. They were delivered to a table near us and are something that I would recommend based on their healthy components and visual appeal. For entrées, which are served on wooden planks,

my partner ordered theLondon Tandoori Chicken, graced with raita, mango chutney, onions, fresh mango and lemon atop naan bread. The sauce was excellent. This dish was made popular in England by immigrants from India and this particular entree has paid homage pretty well across the pond in West Hollywood. I enjoy red meat every so often and opted for theGrilled Hanger Steak, served compartmentalized with fried scalloped potatoes topped with crème fraiche accompanied with sliced button mushrooms, caramelized onion, arugula, fried thyme and an unexpected dollop of whole grain mustard. It was quite delicious, and the steak was cooked exactly how I ordered it with a nice sear on the outside. Tom Tom’s menu could best be described as

healthy bar food. Also note that they have expanded Tom Tom to the space to the east of the site, which was slated to open a couple of days after our visit. I peeked in and it looked quite lovely with a couple of pseudo signature olive trees, which gave an enchanting feeling to the space that appeared to be very loungy and sexy. Business must be doing well to afford this prime real estate in the heart of West Hollywood. Double the bar space and double the dining space. Kudos to Vanderpump and Todd, and to their ever-expanding empire.

Tom Tom Restaurant Bar, 8932 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood. or 310.360.0963

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