Careful or you’ll fall in love with the delicious food and pleasing ambiance at this Beverly Hills restaurant with its seductive menu from Chef Dustin Trani.
Be it dating or dining, I have a global palate. I like to mix it up with international flavors. I’ve cooked French fare for an Australian photographer, shared Spanish tapas with a Chilean architect and eaten Thai food with an Italian tennis pro. The match-ups don’t always work, yet I continue to experiment.
Last week I met a creative, worldly and talented artist who has lived in Italy, Croatia and Thailand. He prepared an irresistibly delicious meal for me. There was wine, soft music and subdued lighting. In less than 90 minutes, I had succumbed. I fell wildly in love—with my dinner.
Now would be a good time to point out that I was in a restaurant. And the worldly, talented artist? He’s the executive chef. So, no, even though he is single, we’re not dating. But he gets me. With a menu that meanders through Italy, Thailand and points beyond, Dustin Trani is a chef after my own multi-national heart, I mean, stomach.
You can experience Chef Trani’s inventive medley of global cuisine at DOMA, a modern European restaurant in Beverly Hills. The airy space dressed in shades of white and grey is grounded by beautiful, earthy hardwood floors. Whimsical photographs line the walls and petite, green succulents offer a pop of color on crisp, white table linens. It’s all very pleasing to the eyes, yet your senses can’t help but transfix on the savory aromas wafting from DOMA’s open kitchen and spilling into the dining room like an invisible cloud of seduction.
My whirlwind romance with Trani’s cooking began innocently enough with king salmon carpaccio. It wasn’t the traditional Italian composition I had expected. No, this was much more interesting. Trani captured the perfectly balanced amalgam of flavors—sweet, spicy, sour and salty—that define Thai cuisine. His version artfully blended ginger, lime, shallots, Fresno chili, watercress, toasted cashews and coconut air (coconut water and cream whipped into a gorgeous frenzy). A gloss of chili lime vinaigrette complemented thin slices of salmon without overpowering, and the contrast between the bright, juicy tastes and the rich, crunchy bits of toasted cashew was just right.
I opted for more seafood and was smitten by the grilled baby octopus and Dungeness crab nestled on a bed of al dente linguini, its crimson-hued sauce radiant with fresh heirloom tomatoes. I would have been delighted with just the octopus—incredibly tender and expertly charred, accented with baby arugula—thus every encounter with a sweet bite of crab was pure over-the-top bliss. Imagine yourself on vacation in a sun-kissed paradise. The hotel picks up your tab. You return home to learn you’ve been promoted and there’s a new cappuccino machine in your office—with your own personal barista. It was kind of like that.
Before I get to DOMA’s cappuccino (which was excellent, crowned with a thick, velvety layer of foam), I have to tell you about something that made me absolutely weak in the knees: the decadent, soul-satisfying mascarpone agnolotti wtih nutty beech mushrooms, butter veal sauce and a sprinkle of truffle salt. When I checked my notes from that evening, my very professional rating system revealed an O.M.G., a bunch of stars, multiple exclamation points and a smiley face. So yes, it made me happy. And isn’t that the point?
If you’re not ready to commit to a multi-course meal, get cozy in DOMA’s intimate lounge and check out the “Bar Bites” menu. Try a handcrafted cocktail and order some of Chef Trani’s tasty small plates. There’s crispy calamari with spicy Thai aioli, tempura shishito peppers in Thai sweet chili beurre blanc, an assortment of wood-fired pizzas and other Italian comforts coupled with global flavors.
This mélange of international influences has renewed my belief that I can mix menus and men with delicious results. Next week, I’m attending a Moroccan cooking class with a Brit who’s fluent in German and Portuguese. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Copyright © Michelle Gigon / 2014 Singular Communications, LLC.
362 N. Camden Drive (at Brighton)
Beverly Hills, CA
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m – 11 p.m. / Sunday 5-11 p.m.
SingularCity Happy Hour at DOMA
Join us at DOMA in Beverly Hills on Thursday, February 20 from 5–8 p.m. for a special SingularCity Happy Hour in the restaurant’s spacious bar area.
The first 30 SingularCity members to arrive will receive a complimentary drink and appetizers created by Chef Dustin Trani, a culinary master who was recently named among the “Top 5 Rising Young Chefs” by Gayot.
Happy hour specials include a selection of $4 beers, $6 wines and $8 cocktails. You can also enjoy tasty treats from DOMA’s “Bar Bites” menu that includes wood fired pizzas and other gourmet delights priced from $6 to $12.