Last we heard from Anthony Zappola, the skilled chef who opened Tom Colicchio's Craft in Century City, he was parting with the restaurant to explore a different direction. Two years later, it turns out he's finally found it, as The Langham Hotel is re-branding its restaurant The Royce as The Royce Wood-Fired Steakhouse, reopening March 15. The restaurant will dedicate itself to superior meats (American prime, Australian wagyu, and according to the property's press rep, "five-star grade Japanese Kobe cuts") grilled over white oak and other woods, and a secondary selection of seafood, sides, and vegetable dishes. The restaurant's fine-dining look will not be altered, nor has its serious wine stock been liquidated. The new Royce will also feature a Sunday brunch with mimosa and chef-manned buffet stations, as a hotel restaurant probably should.
The grand dame property has had a little trouble getting its restaurant concepts to stick in the past years, even with the talents of Michael Voltaggio at The Dining Room and later under French chef David Feau when it became The Royce. A conversion to a elegant steakhouse might possibly have a broader appeal for the area's well-heeled denizens than the fussier, think-food brilliance of its past chefs, even if the playing field for steakhouses is crowded for the city at large. At least we know with Zappola in the kitchen, the hotel has the right guy in place to make the concept remarkable.
The Royce Wood-Fired Steakhouse opens for dinner on March 15 at 5:30 P.M. at 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave. in Pasadena. Reservations can be made at 626-585-6410.