New: Hyperion Public Doesn't Travel Well

Silver Lake’s Hyperion Public opens new Studio City location with disappointing results.

Hyperion Public is a place you just want to be great. First off, it’s a terrific space—conveniently located in the center of the Valley, just west of Coldwater Canyon. It’s the old spacious Pinot Bistro spot (in recent years, though, it has housed a British-style pub), and the eatery is still divided into two spaces: the bar on the right and the restaurant on the left.

Originally, on our Saturday night out with two good friends, we had plans to sit in the restaurant. But after a long workday on my feet, when I saw the dimmed lights and round, plush booths in the bar section, it spoke to me. (It is important to note here that the bar section is much noisier. You have to communicate with raised voices—but on this particular evening I was up for it.)

We started off with a round of drinks. One of our diners that night is somewhat of a beer connoisseur. After glancing at the menu, he voiced a bit of surprise at the ho-hum beer selection.

Another diner ordered a margarita with jalapeno. Ten minutes or so into it we noticed she wasn’t drinking it. We asked what was wrong, and she told us it tasted like saltwater. Two other diners sipped it and literally gagged. We sent it back, and the friendly waitress brought her another one, sharing that diners had sent back several drinks that night and that they appeared to have a yet-unresolved problem in the bar. A California cabernet sauvignon—their house cab—was enjoyable.

We ordered four appetizers. The best (and prettiest) of the bunch was the Asian steak lettuce cups with bacon and steak—despite a rather meager portion of steak.

The thought of a hot, baked, sea salt-crusted, chewy pretzel sounded appealing. However, “The Pretzel with OMG dip” turned out to be cold, dry and flavorless.

Heat was also missing from the roasted jalapeno “HP Poppers,” wrapped in smoked bacon. Served room temperature atop a chilled, creamy, bland “corn salad,” the dish completely missed the mark.

The absolute worst of the bunch, though, was avocado fries. None of us had ever heard of such a thing, and we thought it would be fun to try. The waitress shared that it was one of her favorite appetizers. The dish turned out to be avocados sliced like french fries, rolled in panko crumbs, fried and served piping hot (hip hip hooray!) with an aioli dip. We all tried one piece. Only one out of four diners opted for a second piece. Point of fact: There is a reason why people don’t generally fry avocados.

Unfortunately the disappointment continued through the main course. Two diners ordered a burger; one specifically asked for no grilled onions and to have it cooked medium-rare. It came loaded with grilled onions and overcooked. The burger buns, however, were excellent and the closest thing we’ve found in the Valley to Laurel Tavern’s fresh-baked, chewy, perfectly sized buns.  

Another diner had a salad, which she proclaimed “OK, but nothing special.”

I had the shrimp and grits “in a brandy reduction,” which was highly recommended by our waitress. There was an ample serving of large, tasty shrimp, and the brandy sauce held promise. But the grits—so often a creamy delight—were watery and clumpy. The real deal-killer, though, was the large heap of greasy fried onions that were dumped on top. I simply couldn’t get them off my fork to taste the shrimp, and after a while I just got sick of trying to flake them off. 

The Silver Lake Hyperion Public was successful enough to spawn a second location, and the Studio City spot was packed that Saturday night. So they must be doing something right. Maybe it was simply an “off” night. That said, with the proliferation of casual eateries along the Boulevard, I’d be hard-pressed to come up with an incentive to go back.

12969 Ventura Blvd., 818-464-3750

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