In the afternoon light at Baltaire in Brentwood, caramel-colored shutters wrap around a sunlit patio where tables are shaded by potted trees. Soft couches on the far end of the room enclose a fireplace, which are steps from an airy bar with a selection that glitters in the light. Green and chocolate leather furnishings share the opposing end of the restaurant in an adjoining space, where herringbone floors and graphic glass chandeliers add detail beyond the four corners of white tablecloths. This mix of light and dark is fitting for a steakhouse in the midst of an unapologetically Southern California city. By embracing its breezy surroundings, while still nodding to the traditional mood of a carnivore hangout, Baltaire is the restaurant equivalent to an L.A. local: stylish, without trying too hard.
Take a seat in this setting, and feast on a menu that’s as equally complementary. Start with the variegated shaved vegetable salad at lunch, which includes heirloom beets layered with carrots and crumbled blue cheese. Then, pile bright ahi tuna poke on long taro root chips. Later, choose between the steak frites and hand-cut fries or bite into the butchered burger that’s made from meat ground in-house. And while it may not be a sweet dessert, it’s worth finishing the meal over: Share an order of mac ‘n’ cheese, which can be made all the more decadent with generous cuts of lobster.
The only balance that may be hard to strike is one between excited and calm.