You’ll Want to Forgo That Steak for One of Their Elevated Dishes
Written By: Jennifer Pellerito
Photographed By: Liza Rosales Gratitude Beverly Hills
Just as one word can change a sentence, so can one ingredient in a meal. Executive Chef Dreux Ellis has crafted the new dinner menu at Gratitude with all the beloved vegan goodness as before, but now with an elevated take on plant-based and organic. Located in Beverly Hills, Gratitude is a sister to the well-known hotspot, Café Gratitude. The restaurant is irresistibly Californian cuisine fused with flashbacks of Mediterranean flavor.
The concept is familiar. The menu continues to use its “I Am” lingo that customers love, but now there’s Hearty, Bountiful, Ravishing and Valiant. Who needs meat when you’ve got seared endive with fennel, topped with shallot, capers and black sesame gomasio? The new menu also includes a signature dish by holistic nutritionist Elissa Goodman. Coined Cleansed, the salad pairs chickpea tofu, watercress, spinach and dandelion greens with even more nourishing superfoods.
While the concept stays true, the atmosphere at Gratitude is revised. Those looking in Beverly Hills will inevitably seek a sophisticated experience, which Gratitude aims to provide. Candles are placed like raindrops throughout the space, pitter-pattering a warm flicker that complements the chattering hum from restaurant-goers. An eye-opening white marble bar, bronze accents, tiny succulents in terracotta pots and a dark chevron wood floor all deepen the crescendo of the dining experience.
Gratitude Beverly Hills
A Q&A With Executive Chef Dreux Ellis
Q: What inspired your new dinner creations?
Dreux Ellis: My training is primarily from Italy. I lived there for nine years. That, really, is what I
brought into it. We have a great beetroot ravioli and truffled mushroom risotto on the menu—those are the kinds of things that I’m very familiar with, and I really wanted to be able to bring this to clientele. Being able to make the broth and spend a lot of time with it, and [give] the attention to detail. That’s where I started, with my Italian experience, but I’ve actually gotten interested in something I’ve never done before—adding a slightly kind of French influence, like the beet tartare with horseradish cream. I’m really interested [in] playing around with French influence. I’ve also had a late awakening with Julia Child. I’ve been watching a lot of her, and it’s sort of a back-to-basics, on a French level. I’d like to try a bouillabaisse or a mushroom bourguignon.
We really wanted to go for a pan-Mediterranean kind of feel. It works for Beverly Hills, Newport Beach and it works for California. We have a very similar produce and climate [to] southern France, Italy, northern Spain—it’s where I’m looking to for inspiration right now. If you look to those traditional cuisines, they’ve got so much we can play off of. It’s a bit of a fusion with traditional Mediterranean cuisine mixed with the California organic produce.
Q: What are a few favorite ingredients you incorporated into the new menu?
DE: Mushrooms—oyster mushrooms and portabella are on the menu and using truffles with them. I [also] started to work with a lot of squash, like delicata squash and some spaghetti squash. Root vegetables; parsnip, beets, rainbow carrots. It’s late summer, early autumn [flavors] that were really working for me. And of course, the romanesco and cauliflower. Late summer, early fall California.
Q: How do the flavors on the menu coordinate with the overall look and feel of the restaurant?
DE: I feel like the food is really connected to the room. The food is elegant and light. There’s still a lot of color on the plate. We still make everything from scratch. So, everything feels very vibrant and alive, but it’s just in a presentation that’s more refined.
Q: What are some non-negotiables when it comes to curating what you put on the menu at Gratitude in general?
DE: I work really closely with all of our vendors, so that’s a real non-negotiable for me. I couldn’t just go to the LA market and say, ‘Get me whatever you’ve got for eggplant today.’ I need to know where the food’s coming from. Another non-negotiable: we don’t use any processed foods in the kitchen. We make everything in-house. [Although], we did just recently break this rule—I finally just start buying ketchup, because I tried to make ketchup for five years across many locations. [So], I do allow ketchup. For me… [I can’t] put out anything that I can’t stand behind. I [have to] feel really 100 percent confident that this is a reflection of what I see as a vision for healthy, plant-based food. I just can’t put anything out that’s anything less than that.
Q: How do you anticipate customers will respond to the new menu items?
DE: Based on the first three nights that we ran the menu, I will say shocked by how impacted people were by it. There was an incredibly positive reception… People were really, really thrilled. I had a vendor come in… and she said to me, ‘I didn’t think I was in the same restaurant. I was completely blown away.’ That was the overall vibe. I had somebody who ordered to-go and called back to say that they were so impressed that were going to write a Yelp review right then. Who calls back to say that?
Native Knowledge: If you can’t find street parking, try the Beverly Hills City parking structure just next door. The first two hours are free.
Native Knowledge: I Am Hospitable, a chicken-fried mushroom concoction with gluten-free oat waffles, is a weekend favorite that will now be available on weekdays, too, by popular demand.
Native Knowledge: Follow Gratitude on Instagram @gratitudekitchenandbar for updates and drool-inducing pics.
419 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
424.389.1850 Gratitude Beverly Hills