Well, well, well… Otium has opened for lunch service!
The edifice and space are indeed attractive, and oh-so “mid-century” in feel, with lots of different seating areas (main dining room, with its commanding view of the open kitchen, seats at the bar, and a lovely al fresco area as well).
The lunch menu gives a hefty nod to Chef Timothy Hollingsworth’s expertise with meats (he was most recently cooking at Barrel & Ashes), along with Italian and Asian influences. My server recommended the oysters with shallot mignonette and horseradish as a starter. I also ordered the (interesting-sounding) tri-tip, fried egg, rice & kimchi for my main course.
First, the oysters. Unfortunately, any natural flavors the oysters would have possessed were muted by the overbearing peppercorns in the mignonette, and shaved horseradish ice placed on top of them. The added effect of the ice also rendered the oysters, very very cold. I tried a few and left the rest. Bummer.
My entrée was a bit better. The tri-tip was a bit on the dry side, but the moisture of the perfectly cooked runny fried egg (someone give the sous chef in charge of the fried eggs a raise!) made it okay. The dish never elevates itself beyond the sum of its parts, though.
There was a plain-sounding “ice cream sundae” on the dessert menu, which I was rooting for as a possible sleeper hit. It consisted of burnt marshmallow, chocolate ice cream, and nuts. It was all right, I suppose.
Having had Chef Hollingsworth’s splendid food at The French Laundry, and also partly owing to the fact that Otium is only in its third day of business, I will just say, for now, that I probably need to return in a few weeks to see Otium operate “on full burners”.
Oh, and Otium automatically adds 18% gratuity to all checks, FYI. My server didn’t bring me correct change, rounding down my change received to the next dollar (which is a personal pet peeve of mine). After I asked her to bring me the correct change, she kindly rounded it up to the next nearest dollar (coins are so not in vogue, I suppose).
Maybe your mileage will vary.
222 S. Hope St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
And now, for a somewhat redeeming second lunch. On my way out of Otium, I spotted a kiosk (aptly called “Otium on the go”) next to The Broad. I ordered a sandwich a sweet bun, and an iced latte. All were very good. The roasted pork, sundried tomato, avocado & arugula sandwich was a nice combination of flavors. The cinnamon bun was delicious, and my coffee hit the spot. Kudos to the “Otium on the go”!