When you consider the movers and shakers, celebrities and notables who frequent the posh, indoor/outdoor plutocratic Polo Lounge at the equally extravagant Beverly Hills Hotel a $22 egg salad sandwich on rye might not seem that expensive and it does come with French fries or fruit. What’s more a glass of California Chardonnay costs $35 and up. We’re talking a clientele who actually have dishes sent by FedEx to friends and relatives around the country. One woman actually had the $35 McCARTHY SALAD ( Romaine, Grilled Chicken, Organic Eggs, Beets, Tomatoes, Cheddar Cheese, Smoked Bacon, Avocado, Balsamic Vinaigrette) salad over-nighted (on dry ice) to her daughter’s college dorm in Michigan. Only in LA folks, only in LA where we have many multi-millionaires and even a billionaire or two so what’s a $43 Maine lobster salad to them, or a $50 black truffle tagiatelle made with European butter, Parmesan Cheese, house made pasta). If you’re interested a burger’s $40 but it is made with Wagyu beef; and steak frites will run you $59.
Again if you have to ask the price the Polo Lounge shouldn’t be on your list save for a very special splurge which is worth it for memorabilia buffs as this spot was once the ‘it’ rendezvous, room to work for the biggest names in show business. It once had a special pager (before cell phones, yes Virginia there was a time before you could text, surf the web and perhaps make a call from a mobile device) and would call your name if you had a call and bring the phone over to your table. It was so prestigious for this to happen that some folks would have their secretaries or friends phone them just so they looked important. Yes diners would look up to see who was getting a telephone at their table and if they should perhaps send a drink or a script.
Alas the pink palace by which the hotel is well known for its façade shade has gone through some turbulent times with some of its best customers picketing it for the anti-gay beliefs of its Sultan of Brunei owner. But the looks of the lack of diners yesterday it appears that some regulars have taken their expense account or plutocratic palates elsewhere, like the Montage or Peninsula’s Belvedere (which is better than ever actually).
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money for lunch at the Polo Lounge you could just have an appetizer the $18 tortilla soup which is quite good, they do bring a wonderful basket of breads, and then you can star gaze and check for famous faces (we saw a couple yesterday) and walk around the lobby and wish you were rich and famous—if you’re not already.