Hollywood, CA 90028
Phone: (323) 785-5000
Hours: The Kress CLOSED in July 2011
Parking: $20 Valet parking behind the building
Metro: Red Line to Hollywood & Highland, walk 3.5 blocks east, or 5 blocks west of Hollywood & Vine
The Kress Restaurant occupies the first and second stories of the old Kress department store building, which was more recently Frederick's of Hollywood, which moved across the street in 2007. I was really interested to see what the new owners have done with this classic Hollywood landmark.
The Asian Deco décor combines original art deco elements, like the ceiling, restored to its 1930s condition, the retro booth design and giant round mirrors, with pan-Asian accents like golden lions above the front entrance, and back lit geisha medallions around the central bar.
An inverse wedding-cake chandelier over the bar casts a red glow over the entire room. A mezzanine level overlooks the main room with a circular sushi bar as its central focus. Prime tables overlook the dining area below, and a not-so-private dining room behind a glass wall accommodates up to 12 at one large table.
The restaurant is only one element of The Kress, which also includes the Basement nightclub and the exclusive Rooftop bar open on the weekends, and a 3rd floor lounge used for special events or additional bar space as needed. Patrons at the restaurant get priority access to the Basement nightclub, but not to the Rooftop.
The Menu is Japanese fusion with world influences showing up in dishes like the Yukari Smoked Salmon Crispy Pecan Crepes, Tandoori Spiced Lamb Rack, Thai Beef Tamales and Kobe Beef Carpaccio. In addition to the fixed menu, there is the Chef's daily tasting menu with 8 courses for $100 (may vary), and the day's Bento Box selection with 5 appetizers for $25.
I could have been satisfied with just my half of the Bento Box. The lobster tacos were quite tasty, and although I try to avoid fried food, the soft-shell crab tempura was too delicious to resist. The pulled pork croquettes were mostly potato with a hint of pork on a little bun.
We also sampled the Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio with tempura soft-shell crab on a platter that filled half the table.
However, the sizzling shrimp turned out to be the star of the show. The presentation was spectacular, with the wasabi sauce generating a nice cloud of steam as it bathed the shrimp and hit the hot rock. But it was the perfect savory blend of flavors that made this my favorite dish.
AfterglowWe didn't have room for dessert, but that didn't stop us from sampling the Vanilla Parfait with organic blueberry granite from the tasting menu. Of course, a taste wasn't quite enough. We pretty well finished it off before heading downstairs to the Kress Basement Nightclub.
Go to The Kress Nightclub Review
Note: This story was accurate when it was published. All prices and menu items are subject to change without notice.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary meal for the purpose of this review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.