Recently checked out the new latin-inspired restaurant Dama, which is located in the Fashion District next to Rossoblu. Knowing nothing about the chef or the food, I went in with no expectations. Was pleasantly surprised!
Menu available in article here:
Setting: Beautiful space as you can see from the pictures in the Eater article. We arrived around 6:45pm and were seated on the patio in a wonderfully comfy booth. Large umbrellas gave us good shade while we enjoyed the courtyard between Dama and Rossoblu.
Food: I enjoyed the food here. I wouldn’t say anything is ground breaking, but it’s solid food that made us leave happy. As you can see, there were some slight issues with some of the dishes. Service was also pretty good already. Sorry for the poor pics, as some of the dishes came to me last after passing them around.
Tostada - octopus and calamari were well cooked and tender; nice brightness to this dish; recommended and off to a good start
Crispy Squash Flowers - filled with farmers cheese and goat cheese. These were tasty, but could have been slightly more crisp on the fry.
Whipped Beans - the interplay of the creamy white beans and crispy pork was so good. Highly recommended.
Corn - the cilantro aeoli took this dish up a notch, though I would have liked to see some char on the corn.
Clams & Chorizo - only okay; this had some spanish cider in the broth which gave it an odd sweetness that I didn’t enjoy as much as the other people in my group; Bestia’s version is way better, so would skip this.
Oxtail Taco - yum, hard to mess this one up
Rib eye - 24 oz bone-in. Supposedly dry aged, but I didn’t get much of any funk. Still, it was really tender and tasty, despite the fact that the temp overshot our preferred medium-rare. Ordinarily I would send it back at $58, but after trying one bite, I didn’t bother.
We stuck to cocktails for most of the meal, only ordering some white wine by the glass towards then end, and then finishing with a bottle of garnacha. The somm was helpful in finding us a reasonably priced bottle and the service itself was very good (Schott Zwiesel stems, perfect serving temp, a good middle ground of formality). I like that LA restaurants are now paying more attention to wine service, as I believe it to be as important as the food.
Bar / lounge: Othón and Ashley (formerly of Everson Royce Bar) are now working over at Dama. Some of the most hospitable bartenders I’ve encountered in this city! We stayed for after-dinner drinks…with the dark wood and the music, it’s a pretty sexy vibe for those who like “going out”. I would not say this place turns into a club-steraunt after 10pm, but does get more lively for sure. We enjoyed it, but your YMMV. Drinks themselves have a tropical or latin bent on them, and are quite diverse from refreshing to booze forward. Not quite up to Apotheke levels, but we enjoyed the 6-7 different cocktails we tried. Plus they have frozen drinks for the daytime heat.
Conclusion: So what do we have here? A welcome addition to DTLA. While I don’t think the food is going to set the FTC-world on fire, it’s mostly good, with some tasty bites. Will be interesting to see where the food execution goes from here. The patio atmosphere is pretty awesome and drinks are reasonably priced. Most importantly, our group of 5 had a fabulous time and it almost felt like a little vacation. Total bill was $75pp for the dishes above and plenty of drink. Get a reservation during the sunset if you can.
612 E 11th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015