Luau Debuts in Beverly Hills

A perfect Pupu platter, that savory Tiki restaurant standard, should have meatballs. And a wave-your-hand-in-front-of-your-mouth-hot-hot-hot shrimp dish. And spring rolls. Did we mention spring rolls? More spring rolls, please. Luau, the splashy, South Pacific-y new (yet old) restaurant from Il Sole's Andrew Hewitt, Chef Mako of Chinois on Main and jewelry designer Loree Rodkin, boasts such a Pupu, as well as a number of creative dishes with modern Pacific Rim cool.

Longtime Angelenos recall that Luau was once a legendary eatery frequented by '60s-era Tinseltown stars. (We can almost see the clientele now: celebs sashaying in for that lusted-after after-premiere drink in wide-lapel tuxes and tush-hugging shifts). Like its namesake, the new Luau has an au courant vibe, but unlike its namesake, it pays loving homage to the Tiki joints of yore (when the former Luau was around, it was one of those Tiki joints of yore).

In fact, while there's more than a touch of upscale kitsch to the new Luau (eye the school of lit-up Pufferfish on display), the bamboo, Murano glass tiles and strategic use of thatch lend equal parts elegance and serenity (read: do not look for torches to surround your booth, or every menu item to be set aflame tableside).

Luau's cocktails are rum-y -- yummy -- and the menu boasts exotic fare like Banana Leaf-wrapped Halibut. Sounds luscious enough to pull us away from that Pupu platter. 

Luau, 369 N. Bedford Drive, Beverly Hills

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