Exposed brick walls with concrete floor and high exposed wood ceiling make this space very inviting. In the back, you can see the activity in the open kitchen with wood burning oven. Tables are spaced well so you’re not dining with unexpected guests.
A visit to O&P would not be complete without the cheese puffs served with Romescu sauce. Other standouts were the creamed cauliflower with pesto and sirloin tip. We got the chimichurri sauce as an add-on and it brought out the sirloin tip very nicely.
Trout is not river trout, but ocean trout (like a mild salmon). I’m not a huge fan of this, but it was prepared well with a crispy skin and beets. Broccolini with eggplant was similarly well prepared although I would have preferred more broccolini than eggplant. It’s simply a personal preference as I’m not a huge fan of eggplant. Again, nothing against the preparation, just personal preference.
All the dishes were executed and plated very well, although they were all quite rich with cream, butter or oil.
Service was generally good, particularly the bus staff. Main waiter was enthusiastic and attentive at times, other times not so much.
I decided to take my mom out to Odys & Penelope for a bit of a celebration regarding some good medical news.
The meal has only affirmed for me that it remains one of the greatest restaurants in Los Angeles. The Hatfield’s really captured pretty much everything great about LA dining at the place. I am always pleasantly surprised at how attentive and excellent the service is given the casual setting. Plates are cleared for coursings, food is brought out at appropriate intervals, water is never low, and yet never once do you feel pestered, only completely taken care of; it’s something the vast majority of such casual spots miss in LA. Additionally, there is no tipping, and no “additional tip line” nonsense, which, for me, relieves a tremendous amount of anxiety. The servers could phone it in and still get paid, but they don’t. They never push you or try to upsell you on anything. I had many questions about various wines, and was leaning towards some expensive bottles, but ultimately ended up with a very pleasant glass of reasonably priced Bourdeaux instead. There are many places that would have tried hard to push me to buy the expensive bottles when it wasn’t the best choice. It’s all too rare that I genuinely feel cared for by staff, and they seem to have that pretty much down pat at Odys + Penelope. Of particular note to other diners is that some of their chairs are a bit hard, however, they will bring you a lovely pillow to sit on if you request it. This particular request turned a slightly sour note into a luxuriously joyful one at the beginning of our meal.
Anyhow, I rarely judge places based off of service, but it’s so good I had to note it. The servers could spit on me while I was dining and I would still return because of their food. I wanted vegetables, and meat more than their wonderful fried items tonight, and it’s a great place to get them, since they almost invert the churrascaria formula by making their vegetables the real stars, despite their humble placement on the menu.
A Lolla Rosa salad was glorious in its asphotic mammoth appearance. The mole roasted carrots, the incredibly fresh lolla rosa, savory goat cheese wisps, crunchy nuts, cool creamy avocado, and tangy grapefruit and pickled onions all came together in one of the most delicately bold salads I have ever had the pleasure of eating. Sweet, savory, bitter, vegetal, nutty, fermented, bitter, spicy, refreshing, crunchy, creamy… a mesmerizing symphony of tastes and textures unleashed upon the palate.
Moving onto larger courses, the Pork Belly Bolognese Pappardelle was absolutely tremendous. for $19, the size must be at least 2x what Bestia or Republique give out in terms of portion sizes, yet the pliant, al dente noodles were immaculately coated with the savory bolognese, and perfect. I usually do not like pappardelle because it is too thin, and the sauce never seems to fully immerse itself in the pasta, plus there is no chew factor. Here, the pappardelle is thick, and has the blissful bite that one craves from great fresh pasta done right. This may be the best value pasta dish in all of LA.
Skirt Steak was recommended medium, which was surprising at first but worked out very well. There were roasted carrots, along with a huge amount of exceptionally smooth carrot ginger puree. The ginger added just the right kick to the sweetness of the carrot, especially in conjunction with the pickled onions and cilantro. The steak itself had a lovely beef tartness, and a ridiculously intense crust to it. The prep remained very faithful to churrascuria skirt, somewhat chewy, but in the best possible way. It felt incredibly rustic somehow, despite the bright, colorful plating.
The magical Cauliflower and Millet with Walnut Pesto is famous by now, and it is a prodigious little dish. It’s almost impossible to state what this is like; I’ve never had cauliflower, nor millet, nor pesto quite like any of these anywhere else. It’s like the porridge at Taco Maria had a wild night with the Mandilli di Setta at the Factory Kitchen, and somehow produced the most beautiful baby in the world.
Of course, one MUST save room for dessert here. I don’t see any room for not declaring them the best dessert restaurant in LA, I often bring people just for desserts here haha. Tonight we hewed light. With the new creeme brulee tartlette, which humbly said it came with lemon sorbet. The tartlette itself had the most delicately creamy, eggy creme atop a bit of Karen Hatfield’s impossibly buttery, savory crusts, and the lemon sorbet conveyed the pure essence of lemon tenderly over it, but there was also a candied slice of meyer lemon, and a slew of diced meyer lemon and kumquats adding bulbous textures. It was one of the most simple, yet complex desserts I have come across, displaying citrus in 4 different ways juxtaposed against a simple creme and crust backdrop. Each bite allowed the palate to discover a new perspective on the classic combination of citrus and cream; a tart explosion from kumquat here, a toasted saccharine from the candied slice there, a burst of orange juice suddenly, a lilting of delicate lemon sorbet on the end… subtle, yet showstopping.
And finally, my favorite dessert ever, the simple Cornmeal Ricotta Fritters. The most delicate, moist, yet crisp fritters I have ever tasted accompanied by the best, whipped creme fraiche and salted honey butter sauce I have ever tasted. The quality of the honey butter sauce reminds me of the butter sauce served alongside extremely aged persimmons at Saison. How utterly ridiculous to find such beauty in a little California churrascaria, and yet how incredilby splendid! To experience the immense sweet, salty, savory butter sauce, the viscous, cool cream that coats your delicate, puffy, crisped fritters is to leave one’s body and enter the astral plane of heaven, if only for a moment.
By now my effusive tone has conveyed my final thoughts hopefully: everything at Odys & Penelope is glorious. It’s the kind of place that makes you envious of the people who live in the neighborhood where it is located. Ah…I feel privileged that the staff remembers me when I come in. Dining here is dining at the best of Los Angeles to me, a truly remarkable gem.
(Cost: All told, with a glass of Bordeaux and a rootbeer flavored Ramazotti this meal was $145.99 for 2. Minus the drinks I think it would’ve been about $120, or $60/person. For the atmosphere, service, and quality of food, you feel like you are underpaying.)
It’s getting increasingly popular. If you show up by 6-7 you can get in easily though (or after 8/9).
It’s such a joyful place to eat at.
Between there and Republique, that stretch of La Brea is maybe my favorite dining street in LA currently. Only better strip is the Southern end of Washington which houses Hatchet Hall, Charcoal, and Lodge Bread =P
When you go to O&P, get the huge smoked short ribs, they’re truly remarkable. I simply wanted to go in a new direction this time around. Also, their cocktails are great, don’t hesitate to go that route if you feel so inclined.
I don’t think you can go too wrong with anything there though really. Look forward to hearing about a successful trip!
Huh, I don’t know if Bob was joking, but every meal I’ve ever had at O&P the dining room was full, and I’ve never had a problem having a conversation there. Not sure what he is talking about? I mean, in any restaurant that is popular there is going to be SOME noise…
If you want to eat amazing food and be in silence, go to Jagerhaus in Anaheim.
I recently returned to O&P and had an absolutely spectacular dinner. I am not sure what the comments about decibels are about as I choose this place for dinners when I want to have conversations, and this was no exception. I as very easily able to have a night of great conversation with an old friend even when the restaurant was full.
We started with what is basically O&P’s version of a ceasar salad. I thought it was a beautiful plate of well-sourced red romaine lettuce with an appropriately light smoked jalapeno and parmesan cream dressing with chipotle-spiced breadcrumbs adding a pleasant crunch. It was not overdressed, and had only a delicate spiciness to it that was tempered by the cool sweetness of the lettuces. Maybe I just love fresh produce too much though.
We moved on to fresh grilled snap peas and their tendrils with a chimichuri sauce. Absolutely brilliant. Showing off the sweetness of the fresh peas, with a bit of astringency from the tendrils against a savory chimichurri that was even a bit nutty, but not overpowering. Beautiful.
Fried mushrooms are a classic at O&P and did not disappoint. Lightly fried, bursting with the umami essence of mushroom and controlled by the soft luxuriousness of the Persian garlic sauce on the side. Just brilliant.
The only main we got was an oak grilled Branzino, which was a perfect showing of the fish with gloriously crispy skin. The fish itself was still moist, and tender and went perfectly with the sharp olive tapenade adorning it. But there was a melange of braised leeks, escarole, and asparagus underneath the fish was that utterly sublime. Each vegetable was cooked perfectly in a type of lemon confit, and displayed their vegetal essences magnificently while also having very sumptuous textures that were somehow new to me. The vegetables on the dish overshadowed the awesomeness of the fish honestly. It was really a breathtaking plate overall. I could see some people being upset about the pricing of this since you get a filet for $32 whereas you can get whole Branzino for that at places like Bestia, but it was so great I didn’t even think about it.
Cauliflower with walnut pesto is another classic, and remains one of the best things I have ever eaten. Like a fine vegetable risotto with added nuttiness from the walnut pesto. It is impossible creamy, savory, nutty, sweet and comforting in the best way imaginable.
Sprouting kale was tremdnous in its texture, being quite thick and toothsome, but not chewy in a bad way. It was hefty and lovely. Lots of umami bite from house sambal combined with the luxuriousness of brown butter, yet the fresh earthy essence of the kale was not overpowered. Seriously amazing, not just another kale dish, but a new spin that is well worth your time to explore.
Finally, spaghetti squash in almost “noodle” form with a simple salsa cruda and parmesan. The squash was featured prominently and mostly unadorned. The savory character yet unmistakble saccharine notes came through in a lovely way. Once of the niest squash dishes I have eaten in quite some time.
We finished with a blackberry brown butter crostata and lemon sorbet. Wow, extraordinary butter crust that was just completely perfect in terms of its crispness, its buttery savor, etc… and the fresh blackberries were brilliant, displayed tartness and sweetness in equal components against the buttery crust. The lemon sorbet was the silkiest sorbet I have ever encountered and was not overpowering but provided an alluring sour note and cooling temperature contrast to the warm buttery crostata. A perfectly conceived and executed dessert; I expect nothing less of Karen Hatfield.
All in all, it was a flawless meal showing off the bounty of LA’s produce, which is what I missed most wile away from the city. Afterwards I was treated to some rare liquors and mezcals. I would say this is the only place in LA I have been to that is serving Mezcal as good as the best places have in Mexico City, and that alone makes it worth a visit.
Everything about O&P makes me love it. Service, ambiance, and food all seem to be perfect, even if it isn’t a “fine dining” establishment. It is one of my favorite places in the world just to be for a night.
First time we went, we were just short of shouting. But this last time, at 7:00 on a weekday, it was quite pleasant. Not full, terrific service and not overly loud… And the papardelle was delightful, as was the dessert.
What a gorgeous spot. Food was good though after chi spacca it almost feels like waste of money lol. who deep fries wild mushrooms? you saute them or you develop their flavor… also who makes spicy bolognese out of pork belly? that’s not a bolognese… it’s a just a spicy pork sauce… noodle was great though.