Classic Tables: Spago

Wolfgang Puck gives his Beverly Hills flagship a face-lift

Cosmetic makeovers are a diamond a dozen here in Beverly Hills.

So when Wolfgang Puck shuttered his crown jewel, Spago, for a massive renovation, we knew it would reopen with more than a fresh coat of paint.

Sure enough, the restaurant that emerged in 2013 was different from the one that opened in 1997–but not too different.

The service is still crisp, the wine selection still encyclopedic, and the kitchen's fastidiousness still peerless.

What has shifted most dramatically, though, is the menu.

It's engagingly modern, but does not chase trends. It's both a greatest-hits compilation and an indie concept piece, drawing on the global experience of Puck and his resident chef, Lee Hefter.

Our first course was a wooden box of chirashi ($21), spread with fresh uni and glowing pearls of salmon roe. The second was two hollowed marrow bones stuffed with veal tartare and smoked mascarpone ($16). Each dish was immaculate.

Next came tempura-fried softshell crab ($24), with curry aioli and sweet corn salad, then a supple rack of lamb with raita and falafel "macaroons" ($39). Ordering incorrectly here would be a tough proposition, we imagine.

And do we even have to describe Charlie Trotter veteran Della Gossett's bewitching desserts?

They, like many dishes at the new Spago, seem destined to become classics all over again.