Dine-LA Restaurant Week 2016

Anybody want to use this space to post your experiences with different DINE-LA Deals around town.

I’ll start with Terrine For Lunch. Two Courses. Price: $20

•Me and my companion both started with the Lobster Bisque. The other choice was Frisee salad with warm poached egg.
The soup was very intense with lobster stock and not very creamy on purpose. Maybe to heavy on the sherry. That alcohol punch mixed with the strong lobster flavor was a little harsh on the throat. We both thought so. It was good, but not my favorite.

•For the second course my friend got the crispy chicken sandwich, which was very good. It was fried well. The Brioche bun was great. The remoulade was a bit too salty.

•I chose the Terrine burger with truffle butter. This was pretty great and one of the better burgers I have had in a while. Perfectly cooked at medium-rare. All aspects were seasoned right.

PS: There was a third 2nd course option: truffle grilled cheese.

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I’m doing my annual dineLA Craft run this week and a trip to Gadarine Swine next week. Lukshon and Night+Market WeHo look rather good. Not much else, I’m afraid.

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I went to Lukshon for the first time the other night and was surprised at how damn good the food was. I’d overlooked the place for years because I figured it was just some overrated pan-Asian place, but now I understand some of the hype. That tea leaf salad though… So good.

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Evan Kleiman from KCRW put up a great list of DineLA meals at her Good Food Blog: Sounds great!

Evan’s dineL.A. Lunch Picks

Aqui es Texcoco—$15
You want the Plato de Barbacoa or Lamb Barbecue Plate. It’s not American BBQ but a combo of tender, flavorful slow-roasted meat served with the resultant ‘consome,’ along with everything you need to make your own tacos. This is probably my favorite dineLA Restaurant Week offering this go round.

Badmaash Indian Gastropub—$15
If I worked or lived in Downtown LA, I’d be at Badmaash all the time. It’s Indian food prepared the way a mom or auntie would make it using fresh SoCal farmers market ingredients. I suggest paying the extra $3 for the appetizer supplement, so that you can start off with the Citrus ‘Cachumber’ Salad. I’m kind of freaky for the tomato-based Punjabi-style Chickpeas, but if you’re a meat eater both the Goan Pork Curry and Classic Butter Chicken on offer are super-flavorful.

Night + Market WeHo—$15
Everyone gets a version of the noodle dish, Khao Soi, as the main course, so I’d pick the Moo Sadoong (also called the ‘Startled Pig’) as my starter. It’s everything you want from a plate of Thai food: funky, sour, spicy and sharp with onion.

Pok Pok LA—$15
You go to Pok Pok LA to try something you’ve never had before, so I’d start with the Neua Khwai Sawan (Deep Fried Marinated Dried Buffalo) with coriander seed and lime leaves. Then as my main, I’d move onto the Cha Ca “La Vong,” fried catfish marinated in turmeric and sour rice, served atop rice vermicelli with peanuts,etc etc. for my main.

Sambar—$15
Chef Akasha Richardson is making some super-tasty food at Sambar, so I’d order items that I haven’t already tasted like the Mulligatawny Vegetable Soup and the Vindaloo Beef Burger. Surprised that I picked the burger? Me too, but her Mumbai Chicken Burger (not part of the dineL.A. menu) is fantastic, so why not try the beefy counterpart?

Evan’s dineL.A. Dinner Picks—Splurge!

CUT by Wolfgang Puck—$95
Famed celebrity chef Wolgang Puck was one of the first to add a modern steakhouse to his collection of restaurants so we’re here to eat steak. I’d start with the Maine Diver Scallop ‘Cevich’ because it’ll be of extraordinary quality and a great way to whet your palate. Next, proceed with the Dry Aged New York Sirloin with Roasted Bone Marrow. When are we going?

Orsa & Winston—$95
Chances are you haven’t been to talented chef Josef Centeno’s fine dining restaurant, Orsa & Winston, so here’s your chance. Put down the hundred and go along for the ride. It’s a 5-course prix-fixe menu which, to me, is the perfect number of courses. The only decision you have to make is whether or not you want the accompanying wine tasting.

Petrossian Paris Restaurant & Boutique—$49
At $49, Petrossian’s menu is an afforable splurge. I love this place. Chef Gisele Wellman doesn’t get enough love IMO. I’d start with the Buckwheat Blini and Caviar Trio (we’re at Petrossian, after all), then move onto the Red Sea Bream and finish with the Dark Chocolate Ganache.

Redbird—$95+
Chef Neal Fraser and wife Amy Knoll Fraser have one of the truly stunning serious restaurants in the city. No choices here except what cocktail or wine you’ll pay for to accompany your luxurious tasting menu. You’ll enjoy the Slow Cooked Salmon, followed by the Day Boat Scallop, a Bone-in Filet of Beef and finish with the Truffle Sundae—all in one of the most beautifully redone historic LA buildings.

The Arthur J—$95+
Chef David LeFevre’s opus in Manhattan Beach. What a menu! Go with three friends so that you can order everything. Personally, I’d get the Chilled Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail (because, why not?), the Pan Seared Scallops, Pan Roasted John Dory and the Baked Alaska because it’s LeFevre, and he knows his fish. But the meat options are crazy good, too.

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Chef Giselle Wellman left Petrossian in late November and now heads the kitchen at Mama Shelter.

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Went to Craft last night. Very good experience, as always. No photos as the lighting is not really conducive to such things. Starters were all good, especially a simple frisee salad with bacon. As for the mains, the chicken and pork were really delicious, while the ravioli were a bit lackluster. Desserts were on point as usual (a chocolate panna cotta and an “fry bread” with ice cream and apples). The pastry chef at Craft really should get a lot more public love because it’s always hovering around Karen Hatfield level. Service was outstanding. Much more volume this year, I think we left a few notches past comfortable. Strong recommendation for a dineLA experience.

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Hanjip $15 lunch: A choice of 1 bowl (poke, katsu, bibimbap, spicy pork, soon tofu), and 1 cut of meat (bulgogi, brisket, short rib, pork belly, pork shoulder). The bowls are regularly $11-$15 and the meat is a single slice, probably a sixth or eighth of a regular order, so $4-$8 worth depending on the cut.

Best deal, financially, is the tuna poke bowl + short rib, which is probably $20-$22 worth of food for $15. I happened to get that combo today, not because of maximizing value, but because that’s what I would have ordered anyway. Oh and you get the full banchan too! Crazy amount of food for someone dining solo!

Pics:


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FYI - @attran99 is correct. Chef Alex Agneau, formerly of Aestus, is now at Petrossian.

Edit: One more shot, alternate angle of the poke bowl…

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Thanks for this!

Going next week.

werd. I’m sure you already follow, but for others: Chef Swindle’s IG: https://www.instagram.com/shannon_swindle/?hl=en

and his sous pastry’s IG: https://www.instagram.com/johnnybakecake/?hl=en

Craft Los Angeles - Dinner: $49

So, we hit up Craft LA for DineLA this week and really enjoyed it. It was quite the bargain for the amount of food given. I imagine we’ll be returning to try some other regular menu items.

The service was spot on. The staff were professional, personable, and approachable without a hint of stuffiness.

Now on to the food. Sorry for the dim pictures.

Warm sourdough bread and salted butter are presented immediately at seating. Good, but typical.

Amuse Bouche - Salmon Rillette w/ Sweet Pickled Cucumber and Chives
A nice meld of creamy fatty salmon with a clean sweet tang from the cucumber was a nice start to get you going.

1st Course (for the table) - I liked how the flavors of each dish contrasted and complimented each other.
I ordered the foie gras torchon as a suppliment.

Albacore Tune Crudo w/ Blood Orange and Buddah’s Hand
The thick meaty cuts of tuna were hearty and wonderful and briny.
A nice cut of citrus brightened it all up.

Frisee Salad w/ Nueske’s Bacon and Cured Egg
Bright, punchy, acidic, and a bit smokey from the bacon. Delicious.
The grated cured egg added a funky creamy texture which I liked.

Winter Squash Hummus w/ Wheat Crackers and Sunflower Seeds
This was a smooth mix of sweet squash and bittersweet, super thin wheat crackers that were comforting with a slight hint of curry spice. The sunflower seeds added some texture.

Foie Gras Torchon w/ Applebutter and Brioche - (Suppliment: $26)
Ooooooo, dreamy creamy. It had a texture that made me think of goat cheese. So smooth with just the right amount of irony, tangy, funk. The spiced applebutter added some zingy sweetness and the pistachios added a nice nutty texture. I really liked the brioche here. They were thick and substantial, yet yeilded a soft buttery feel that melted in your mouth. A first, I thought it would be too much, but it was just the right amount to pile the foie nice and high. Classic. Not a crumb left.

Main Course (choice of one) - We ordered the salmon and the pork.

Ora King Salmon w/ Savoy Cabbage and Mustard Seeds
Wow. Very generous portion. The salmon was cooked to absolute perfection! Immaculately rendered crispy blistered skin with a center that was just barely cooked and translucent. Soft, fatty, buttery…ridiculously good. I’m not a big salmon person, but this was outstanding. The braised cabbage and pickled mustard seeds where a perfect contrast.

Mugifuji Pork w/ Sweet Potato and Torpedo Onion
The pork was tender and sweet. Nice salty crust. I do wish the pork had a little more juiciness to it but it was still very good. The sweet potato puree had an interesting hit of curry and maple. I wanted more. Sweet and salty was the theme here.

Dessert (for the table) - Not too sweet. A nice light finish.

Mast Brothers Chocolate Panna Cotta w/ Citrus, Pomegranate, and Hazelnuts
Smooth and creamy, although missing that sexy wobble. It was more of a mousse in texture.
Nice dark bitterness from the chocolate. The citrus segments were OK. A bit pithy, but that’s a small gripe. I’m guessing the hazelnuts were in the crumble on top? I didn’t really pick them up anywhere on the dish.

Navajo Fry Bread w/ Apples and Vanilla Ice Cream
The crisp, buttery fry bread coated in sugar and cinnamon reminded me of flat churros. Very good churros.
Mixed with the roasted apples and vanilla ice cream, it was basically a deconstructed apple pie.
I really liked this. The ice cream was perfect.

Mini Maple and Popcorn Pavlova Cookies - An extra gift from the kitchen
They tasted like a popcorn coated maple bar. Crispy and chewy.

Departing Gift - Home-made granola

Overall, a very good DineLA experience. The spacious room, ambiance, service, and food were all wonderful. We will return.

NOTE: Park in the structure right behind Craft, get validation at the restaurant, and parking is free.

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Went to Gadarene Swine last night. Fantastic value as the dineLA menu would up being seven courses. Didn’t miss the absence of animal protein one bit. The chefs know how to coax really pronounced flavors out of their veg. All left completely sated. The carrots with sweet potato and the mushroom dishes were standouts. Strongly recommend.

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Meaning Giselle Wellman is gone?

She’s now at Mama Shelter.

Has anyone else noticed how DineLA makes Weekend Reservations very difficult?
:cry:

Catch her on this season of “Top Chef”…

What was the issue with the ravoli at Craft? That was the one main I thought I was going to get.

Braised short ribs are probably Craft’s signature dish, and I thought this was a way to taste those braise ribs inside the ravoli for restaurant week prices.

I’ll try to describe the best I can. It was like they took some shredded short rib and placed it in some stuffed pasta. In and of itself, this does not sound horrible, but there was nothing to bind the meat as a filling and the pasta was not really dressed much. Just kind of dull, despite the fact that braised meat and pasta are two of my most favorite things in the world. Maybe if the meat was blended with some aromatics or treated more like a ragu. Maybe a sauce that was more adherent to the pasta. Having said that, it was the only dish of the night that our table was ambivalent about.

I live about three blocks away from Lucques. Thought I would hit it up and was able to grab a couple of seats at the bar. It’s just like going to their Sunday supper during dineLA, as it did happen to fall on a Sunday. At any rate, really fantastic meal. Nice squid salad to start. Swordfish entrée was cooked perfectly. Chocolate Pavlova dessert was really, really nice. There still nailing it after all these years.

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