Thursday, March 31, 2011

Delphine - Raw Bar Monday at the W Hollywood

Recently, the respected Oxford English Dictionary sparked a battery of headlines with its latest additions from "LOL" and "OMG" to slang like "muffin top".  If they are releasing the drawbridge to popular culture, I would propose they add "Raw Bar Mondays" at Delphine - with its definition as [n. a fool-proof way by which to induce an incessant grin with fruits de mer fans on the least 'Like'd day of the week].

Every Monday from 5pm-10:30pm, Delphine offers a raw bar menu featuring oysters on the half shell at great prices (East Coast for $1, West Coast for $2 each), as well as cooked foods from lobster bisque ($3) to many other seafood offerings at below street food prices.  The deals are pretty unbelievable, especially for a fancy hotel like the W.

This Monday, after attending a free movie screening at the Arclight Cinerama Dome (thanks MyCinemaAccess!), "Designer" and I decided we needed to head over to Delphine to fill up on our favorite bivalves.

The most fanta-bulous thing about Delphine's Raw Bar Monday is that it goes from 5pm-10:30pm.  I know Happy Hours were created to be close at hand, to service people in the immediate area as their decompression chamber after emerging from a long day at work.  But as a foodie on a budget, I appreciate places that offer good food with their happy hours - and are considerate enough to extend the time so that people who don't work right next door would have time to get there and enjoy their offerings.

On this Monday night it was great to be able to catch a movie and still have time to meander over for the Raw Bar specials.  Delphine was just a short drive from the Arclight, and since it was a 'school night,' we found free parking fairly easily on Argyle. 

The long, marble countered bar beckoned to us the minute we walked in - we were starving and thought service would be faster there.  We love the 'laid back Provencal' decor of the restaurant overall, but the bar lured us with promise of instant gratification. 

Getting right down to business, we defied the definition and raison d'etre of Happy Hour by skipping the alcohol (I know, how dare we call this happy hour without cocktails!) - kicking off our meal with a gigantic platter of West Coast Oysters ($2 each) and Seafood Ceviche ($3).

So, you might say, Monday is possibly one of the worst days of the week for seafood.  And our answer would be - that's when you'll get the special pricing... But at Delphine, the quality is still there.  The oysters were not the best we've ever had, but still very lovely and great for the price.  The ceviche was also a good deal - each portion was only $3, and I would roughly estimate the portion size to be about an ice cream scoop full!  Each bite was packed with a mix of fresh tasting mussel, squid, lobster and slivers of bell peppers.

Next up was the Lobster Bisque ($3 cup) - a soothing, tomato based soup with massive chunks of lobster.  Some pieces were so big I had to try to carve them into separate bits with my spoon before putting in my mouth!  We scarfed two bowls down.  And then ordered one more, each.

Just as we debated a third bowl, our friendly bartender let us know that next time we're back, we should try the Grilled Head-On Prawn ($2) dipped in the lobster bisque - apparently this is amazing! Other items on the Raw Bar menu that aren't actually raw include Chilled Shrimp ($1/ pc), New Zealand Mussels ($1), Beer Battered Cod Fish ($3).  The most expensive items were Garlic Shrimp in Olive Oil ($5), Fried Calamari ($6) and Steamed Clams in white wine or marinara ($6).

There are of course also drink specials (for $5) including "Delphine Fusion Cocktail", Sparkling Rose, Pinot Grigio, Red & White Sangria, or $4 for PBR Beer.  Will have to try these next time we're back, which should be soon!

In any case, we debated a third bowl of lobster bisque, but at that point my muffin top, which Oxford English Dictionary so politely defines as [n. a protuberance of flesh above the waistband of a tight pair of trousers], rudely reminded me that it was time to stop.
While waiting for the bill, we amused ourselves by playing 'oyster shell Rorscharch', and observing the way we stacked our oyster shells.  As we were not given the usual massive bowl for discarded shells, we tossed them in the bowls used for lobster bisque.  I wondered if the way you stack your oyster shells reveal something about your personality?  If so what would Designer's vs. my 'shell art' above say about us? ;P

The last thing to note about Delphine is that, according to the bartender, because the hotel/restaurant is built atop the subway or public property - there is some city ordinance to build in 15% gratuity to ensure that tips are accurately reported for tax purposes.  His point was then that most of that tip will go to the city, so that we could 'if we wanted' leave him extra gratuity on top of that. On one hand, I do feel badly that a portion of his tips are taken away for taxes, but on the other, don't we all have to pay taxes?  It was a bit awkward as instead of leaving more because we wanted to (usually 20% anyways), we felt like we had to leave more because he asked us to.

Regardless, all in all, a fun time at Delphine for under $25 a person (before tax + tip) and a great way to turn my least favorite day of the week into one to look forward to - hurrah for Raw Bar Mondays!!!

On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 5.5 bites
Presentation - 5.5 bites
Originality - 5 bites
Ambience - 6 stars
Service - 6 stars
Overall experience - 6 bites
Price - $ (1 bite mark)
Probability of return visit - 100%

6250 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028  
Ph: 323.798.1355

Raw Bar Mondays:  5pm-10:30pm throughout restaurant
Happy Hour daily:  5-7pm at the bar


Delphine on Urbanspoon


  1. So I also had seafood happy hour (at some LilTokyo joint, immediately next to another trendy LilTokyo joint) last week, and totally paid for it on the toilet.

    You got balls chica. Delphine's people watching might be worth an extra stop at the bathroom though. Tough call.

  2. Sorry to hear! Yeah gorging on 'bargain' seafood can be like playing Russian Roulette.

    But Delphine was actually fine for me - didn't get sick at all and I have a pretty sensitive stomach!



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