Well, they were both better than expected but both also very expensive for what they were.
Otium. Gorgeous space. Food is pretty good. Wine service is top notch. Nice stemware. Ordered a half bottle of 07 Pillot Chasssgne Montrachet. It was premoxed. The somm replaced it and took 30% off the wine. A very classy move and totally above and beyond.
The spinach bucatini with ham and clams is the dish to get. I could eat 5 of these. The turbot was wonderfully cooked with hints of cervil. Both the hamachi with nori and hiramasa pastrami were also very good. The other dishes were just okay: blue prawns on toast and scallops with celery. The chicken dish across the table looked very good (large portion)
Pok Pok LA
Still hungry after Otium so decided to give this a shot. We were informed that it was 30-45 minute wait for 3 people without reservations. Luckily we were able to grab seats at the bar. The place was packed.
Didn’t expect much but the flavors are pretty spot on. I agree with all the criticism. I do like Night + Market better, it was $96 for 4 dishes which is absurd, and one of the dishes was pretty bland. It’s absurd the NYC branch got 1 Michellin star if it was anything like this. And I think it’s really crappy of him to not serve any stir fried noodles or rice dishes so he can go open up a separate restaurant that serves those items.
However the pork shoulder and pork belly curry was delicious. The grilled wild boar collar was spot on. We were warned that it was the spiciest dish on the menu but it was maybe a mild Thai spicy. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The glass noodle salad with sausage and mussels was excellent. Very tart and favorful. Again, the flavors were spot on. The shrimp in clay pot over pork belly and glass noodles were very bland. I’d liken this place to the Hakkasan of Thai. Legit flavors at 2-3x the price except no nice decor and no wine program.
I would go back for the pork curry. In fact we have a wine dinner there coming up in a month ($10 corkage). The less spicy cuisine makes it more ideal for a wine dinner. But 9 out of 10 times, I’d probably do Sapp or luv2eat, or Night + Market.