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                                                  May 18, 2010

The RH Restaurant At The Andaz Hotel Serves Up Some Fabulous French
Food and Rock and Roll History

    There are plenty of places in LA that give more than a knowing nod to our prominent place in rock
    and roll history. There are spots like the Mr. Musichead Art Gallery or The Roxy on
    Sunset Boulevard but perhaps no place personifies the hedonistic (and excessive) lifestyle of
    the Strip in the Seventies and Eighties quite like The Andaz West Hollywood Hotel. Despite
countless name changes over the years since original owner (and cowboy) Gene Autry first rode
through the lobby, it has always been part of the Hyatt Hotel chain, which later famously housed
the notorious “Riot House” shenanigans of Slash, Led Zeppelin (who occupied six floors!) and Ozzy
Osbourne to name but a few. But while the Andaz hotel has since completely remade itself and
reshaped its image while becoming one of the classiest establishments in the city, the past still
remains throughout with photos and paintings which remind all who pass through the doors
that this place still rocks. Especially their restaurant, RH.

“In the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, the Andaz was better known as the Riot House, which is
how RH, our restaurant, got its name,” said Kimberly Okseson, who handles the hotel’s marketing
and communications as she gave us a proper tour. “We’re also the official hotel for the Sunset
Strip Music Festival, which I can’t believe has taken this long for something like that to happen on
the Sunset Strip.”

While the hotel is aiming to bring back the previously banned Slash, who will be honored at the
August festival later this summer, it’s the bar and adjacent restaurant RH that have provided
plenty of rock and roll essence. The Andaz relaunched in January of 2009 and brought in executive
chef Sebastien Archambault from his native France, who has infused each seasonal menu at RH
with plenty of his childhood favorites. I found that the chef was more than a little excited about
being given carte blanche at RH, which is his first headlining gig in LA.

“We started with a really a strong concept of creating my vision,” said Archambault when we sat
down in the open-concept RH restaurant.

I’m coming from Southwestern France, so I’m bringing some recipes from my family.
My father is a chef and I grew up in restaurants and have loved the culinary world since
I was a little kid.

The dishes that Archambault and his team have created are traditional and simple yet are full of
flavor and also boast enough charisma and class that would make a frontman like Robert
Plant blush (which could attributed to the aptly-named Mr. Plant drink at the bar).

We started off with some of RH’s irresistible appetizers, such as the Huntington Pork and Foir
Gras Terrine, which actually comes from Archambault’s father’s original recipe.
“For me, it’s something simple that’s casual and perfect to share with friends,” Archambault
explained. When paired with some of the fresh-baked bread that RH receives daily, it’s a
wonderful experience to start your food journey on.

A big hit to start off with are the Perigourdine Poached Eggs, where field mushrooms, foie gras
and a truffle butter crostini combine to create flavorings that will literally transport you to
Archambault’s homeland of Southwestern France.

“It is a very acclaimed dish,” he shared. “This has become one of the signature dishes of the RH.”

A true signature French dish would have to be Escargot, and at RH, it’s given a fresh spin
with baby heirloom potatoes, prosciutto la quercia, parsley and topped off with some spring
garlic, which gives the snails a rich taste that would make even those who have never dared to try
this delicacy think twice about not ordering it.

“This one is from my Grandmother actually. It is a very simple dish but sometimes ‘simple’ is hard
to pull off.” Archambault then added, “We mix in some white wine and add in some bread, garlic
and parsley. The sauce is a little bit thick right away and then there’s some prosciutto and baby
heirloom potatoes to top it all off nicely.”

One of the chef’s personal favorites is the mixture of Roasted Holt Farm Asparagus and Morels,
which is another simple dish, but also one that features one of the biggest reasons that
Archambault loves Los Angeles - all the fresh produce that can be found here.

It took me three or four months to find the good produce but it’s very fresh and that’s
something that I never had in France.

“This is a very Spring dish, he added. “We keep the essence of the taste. I like it, it’s a very
common dish but it’s also very good and I really wanted to share that with all the guests here at

Archambault has also pulled his creative net deep through the ocean with some seafood dishes on
the Spring menu. There’s the Roasted Boothbay Harbor Lobster appetizer, which the Chef was
especially proud of and of course the enormous Seared Diver Scallops entree.
“I love scallops. They’re from British Columbia, so I try to keep everything from the West Coast as
often as I can.”

But one of the biggest hits of the evening came from the Braised Niman Ranch Sweetbread and
Morels, which was Archambault’s interpretation of one of America’s favorite comfort food dishes,
Mac and Cheese.

“Here in America, everybody loves Mac and Cheese. It’s a comfort food,” he said. “I tried to give it
a Southwestern France flavor by bringing some sweetbread in and again some morels as well. It’s
a very nice combination when everything comes together.”

“It’s a big surprise,” he added. “People are expecting something different but they’ll be surprised
at the taste of the cheese with the veal sweetbread and morels. It’s soft in the mouth, very tender
and full of flavor.”

There was plenty of sinful flavor to be found with the RH’s delicious desserts. With
Araguni Chocolate Pie and Warm Cherry Clafoutis, there were certainly options for those that
dared to desire something rich, but also the Red Blossom Farm Berries that came alongside a
sweet pastry cream that could satisfy those who needed something a bit lighter yet still had a
sweet craving to satisfy.

Whether you are a hardcore foodie or someone who simply wants to taste some fine French
cuisine, you should look no further than the Sunset Strip and the Andaz Hotel. When you sit down
in the open-concept dining room at RH, you can watch Archambault and his exceptional team go
to work and enjoy it much in the same manner as the concert that you could catch later at The

I am very happy and feel lucky to work here because I love the open kitchen concept.

He added, “We opened in January 2009. We started in a bad economy but we started very
humble and we’re still very humble but we’re now starting to be known a bit more everywhere.
What’s great is that more and more people are sharing dishes now too because they want to try
so many things!”
“We have the summer menu coming in June. There will be some poached halibut in there for
sure, some crabmeat with avocado as well because that was so well received but there will be
plenty of twists as well.”

Now a year into Archambault’s cooking residency, The Andaz hotel and RH are incredibly happy to
have this talented thirty-five-year-old heading up their culinary creations.

“He’s so open, humble, personable and for being somebody that’s worked for two Michelin Star
restaurants internationally, it’s flooring to me that he’s so down to earth,” Okeson explained. “We
absolutely adore him and he’s such a sweetheart.”

While the “Riot House” days are a thing of the hotel’s past, the rock and roll spirit remains strong
and is more than evident at RH. Much like a great album from a master musician, Chef
Archambault has created a menu to remember and the RH is a spectacular spot to come hang out
with friends and enjoy some fresh tastings together. So the next time you’re itching for a fix of
fine French food with a side of rock history, stamp your tickets at the Andaz hotel on the Sunset

Surf: The Andaz West Hollywood Hotel

Menus: RH Restaurant

Photos & Video By: Chase Maximus

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