Latitudes Beach Café Makes Us Wonder About that Top Chef Thing
Haitian-born chef Ron Duprat lasted six episodes on Top Chef Las Vegas, eventually succumbing to some subpar paella. A jovial guy with a hearty laugh, Duprat is an easy person to like — if only the same could be said of the food at his restaurant in the Hollywood Beach Marriott. The indoor/outdoor bar and café butts right up to the Broadwalk, where you can watch beachgoers roller-blade past as you sip on a frozen drink or a Red Stripe. The hotel restaurant offers a typical collection of sandwiches and bar food, but stay away from the more ambitious Top Chef prix fixe menu, the sheer recollection of which makes me long for lesser tortures involving paper cuts and eyelids. Case in point: cold, water-thin yellow tomato soup with accompanying avocado and red onion mince. You're gifted an average-sized soup spoon and somehow expected to extract the dirty-tasting tomato jus from the rim of an inch-wide shot glass. As bad as the soup is, a dish of miso sea bass with ginger butter makes it seem like sanctuary. Here, the stringy fish pins down a pile of cheese-coated "citrus rice," crusty as granola, with a splaying of miso paste so salty that it could cure a piece of stucco. By the time you get to the Jamaican spice rum cake — that instead of "Jamaican spice" or "rum cake" consists of a round of citrus meringue violating a sliver of pound cake — you'll be ready to run from this Top Chef's kitchen faster than Tom Colicchio with a case of food poisoning. The sad thing is, Duprat can cook — he proved as much on the show and at a recent charity event at Whole Foods. So what's going on in this restaurant?
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