Soul Restaurant & Bar, the new three level glass walled corner restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard, run by master chef Giulian Jones, brings a level of sophistication and a much needed calm oasis to Hollywood’s busy walk of fame. Situated just blocks from the famed TLC Chinese Theater, Roosevelt Hotel, El Capitan and the Kodak Dolby Theater where the Oscars dazzle every year, the restaurant’s serene atmosphere is a welcome antidote to the electric energy of one of Los Angeles’ most famous tourist blocks.
Narrow, long and full of natural light during the day and perfect for city watching at night, Soul is the creation of Chef Giulian Jones with consulting chef, Yealang Smith. Jones is far from his southern roots where he learned his love of food surrounded by family gatherings in the kitchen. He is now replanted in Los Angeles after a career of co-running five star resort restaurants in Hawaii, Arizona and Beverly Hills and traveling the world as a notable celebrity chef for A list talent like The Foo Fighters, Pink and Metallica among many other. Jones also opened Urbano Pizza in downtown Los Angeles several years ago, garnering a top ten new restaurants award, as well as opening Ten-81, a New York tapas bar.
At Soul, Jones imbues the menu with some of his own soul, southern raised but with an enthusiastic international flair. The cuisine embodies his international twist, using unique spices and inventive approaches to give down home cooking an upgrade of worldly finesse while keeping the pleasure of a good meal intact.
Soul’s eclectic menu is far ranging and includes choices from gourmet starters and salads, to classics like the rib-brisket burger and steaks, to southern fried chicken, catfish and chips and a jerk spiced chicken.
I started with the smoked trout appetizer, served on a brioche bun with fennel and dill. My salad course was the jerk chicken cobb salad which was a delight. The flavorful chicken had a spicy edge cooled by the avocado and heirloom tomatoes under a bleu cheese dressing. At my server’s recommendation I had the pan seared hanger steak, buttery and delicious, and served in slices cooked with a tomato, chive, garlic puree, and served with a tangy Carolina BBQ sauce. Friends had the fried chicken, (it’s organic folks!) and we were told the tasty treat was brined overnight in buttermilk. Served on a wooded board, to add to the presentation, my friend was particularly delighted by the dipping sauces that came with it.
The Short Rib Brisket Burger was also a hit with my table mates, standing tall with a brioche bun and served with the standard garnishes, though Jones adds in his special twist, the meat mixed with sweet rhubarb and beets. It seems that nothing escapes Jones’ personal touch as he adds worldly tastes to basic pleasures in each presentation.
The menu recommends wine pairings for all its entrees, and whether you keep it simple with salads and pizza style flatbreads or go big with the ribeye & lobster tail, the menu has something for everyone.
There is a weekend brunch, which keeps some of the standard menu’s favorites while adding southern breakfast notables including biscuits and gravy and blue eyed soul cakes. There is also free music on different evenings from 7-10PM throughout the week and weekend, check with the restaurant for listings. Soul also has some fun promotions, such as their all day Tuesday happy hour (bar open until 2am), Wednesday’s half priced bottle of wine, and Hollywood local’s day to get 15% with proof of residence.
While the fantasy world of Hollywood is celebrated right outside their front door, Soul Restaurant & Bar keeps it real inside with southern hospitality, charm and food to delight the palate.
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