You can rely on hotel restaurants for a few things. Like solid, not particularly exciting food, and a mixed crowd of people having business meetings and out-of-towners too scared to venture off the property. If you’re in a hotel restaurant in Los Angeles, you can add to that list high prices and someone with a current Netflix deal sitting on the patio.
Chateau Hanare is a fancy Japanese restaurant on the grounds of one of LA’s most famous hotels. And while it isn’t officially a part of Chateau Marmont, there’s obviously something floating around in the air, because Chateau Hanare absolutely feels like a hotel restaurant.
Hanare is just off the Strip, inside a bungalow that’s completely separate from Chateau Marmont, as they’ll tell you pretty firmly when you try to enter through the hotel. Once you make it in, you’ll find a beautiful space where you can sit on a walled-in front patio, feel extremely relaxed, and have very little idea that there’s an apocalyptic traffic situation happening just over the fence. It’s a fun place, one with great cocktails, chatty staff, and illustrated Japanese porn wallpapering the bathrooms. Pretty soon, you’ll realize you’re enjoying all the benefits of being a hotel guest, even if you’re not.
But it’s the food that reminds us why hotels aren’t usually our first choices for dinner. Chateau Hanare serves everything from sashimi to udon to serious pieces of meat - most of which is good, but also overpriced. A single raw prawn with yuzu foam is $13, and tastes like air. Six pieces of sashimi are $32, and a perfectly fine steak that you won’t remember tomorrow costs $70 (a steal compared to $145 for an 8oz wagyu). They’ll also push the six-course kaiseki menu on you pretty hard, but with its $115 pricetag, you can get a lot more food by ordering a la carte.
And if you do that carefully, you’ll have a pretty successful meal. The house-made tofu is fantastic (and $12 for a big bowl), the marinated sashimis are all excellent, and the vegetable tempura comes with a wasabi salt you’ll attempt to take home in the coin part of your wallet so you can sprinkle it on everything. Even so, getting out of Chateau Hanare for less than $100 a person is challenging, and there’s a good chance you’ll leave feeling a little bit hungry.
At some point in you LA existence, you’re going to have a meeting with someone who “works in entertainment” or dinner with a friend you met through social media, who has a job that doesn’t sound like a real job. And a hotel restaurant with a fancy vacation atmosphere and reliable food is probably where you’ll end up. Go to Chateau Hanare instead. It’s better than a whole lot of the other options around town. Especially if someone else is paying.
This is the best tofu we’ve ever had. It’s smooth and silky, served warm, and comes with some wari-joyu sauce (soy sauce and dashi). Absolutely get this.
A tasteless raw prawn that comes with also-tasteless yuzu-soy milk foam and makes you even more annoyed when you remember it was $13.
This comes out looking impressive, under a dome with a bunch of smoke, but it’s a tiny piece of toast with a bunch of smoked uni that doesn’t really taste like much.
Fantastic, fresh amberjack sashimi in a white sesame sauce that someone at the table will probably try to drink right off the plate.
The tangy marinated seabream sashimi is a nice contrast to the sweet sauce on the kanpachi, so you should just get both.
Light, crunchy vegetable tempura that comes with little mounds of yuzu and wasabi salts on the side. You’re going to need to eat a vegetable, and it might as well be fried.
You’ve had miso cod before and you’ll probably have it again. This one is fine, but not an essential order.
It’s fried chicken. Good, salty, crunchy fried chicken with Japanese tartar sauce on top.
A pretty solid piece of steak that comes with a delicious steak sauce. But when we’re paying $70 for a piece of meat, we’re looking for more than just solid - we want high-quality, flavorful steak, and that’s not what we got.
They’ll definitely encourage you to order one of the rice pots, but we found them pretty inessential, unless you can’t get through a Japanese meal without rice on the table.
There’s a section of the menu dedicated to roll-your-own handrolls, and while that sounds fun in theory, none of them are really worth the $14+ for a single roll.