Somni - BH

Having never been to the old Ssam or even Bazaar, I plunged for Somni since a friend of mine wanted to experience what the high end LA dining scene is like. I figure that the restaurant’s unique combination of casual fun and playful vibe, along with its exclusive chef’s counter seatings, will fit the bill. Ultimately, I was not mistaken.

Parking: Valet’s the way to go since Somni will give you a complimentary validation.

Service: Stupendously friendly and engaging. Simply flaweless.

Summary: Is there a more whimsical experience than Somni in LA? I think not. A mind numbing array of 27 “courses”, or amuse bouches as I would prefer to call them, are beautifully plated and served at an ridiculously consistent and precise pace. At its best, Somni’s performance is a tour de force in seamlessly blending together familiar flavors and surprising textures with a dizzying number of modernist techniques, giving birth to masterpieces of edible art one after another.

But however well oiled an machine is, flaws are inevitable. Take the dry and chalky pork course that even an Outback Steakhouse would put to shame. Or what about Somni’s interpretation of pizza margherita? It’s no doubt fun and mind-bending with a crunchy yet spongy meringue replacing the traditional dough crust and intensely tomato-y dehydrated tomato standing in for a tomato sauce…but does the end product ultimately taste better? Or it’s perhaps more satisfying than a good old Neapolitan slice? This theme of presenting familiar flavors with a unique presentation and unexpected textures is something that I can see a guest potentially having a hard time to grapple with.

To me? I came away with one transcendental course and a memorable night.

Highlights: santa barbara spot prawn, shiso & tartare, ensaimada, turbot & tea


Upon entering the restaurant, a gracious host leads you through the music blasting Bazaar, to a somewhat secluded area exclusively for guests of Somni to enjoy their trio of snacks.

The evening then begins with a welcome aperitif.

2015 Weingut Knauß Schwarzriesling Zero

raspberry leaf, powder sugar, wasabi

almond shell, almond candy, praline, lemon pith

oak “tree”, potato, thyme, black garlic

Moving on to the main performance…

hojita
this evening’s first edible cocktail

raspberry tart with tarragon

panellets

chicken skin and liver mousse

porcini

pizza margherita
somni’s pizza with a crunchy but spongy meringue and dehydrated tomato. it’s whimsical but they really should’ve given me a real slice instead

beets, yogurt and horseradish
gazpacho with a touch of cherry for added color and sweetness

santa barbara spot prawn
the picture doesn’t do justice to this ginormous binchotan grilled medium-rare spot prawn…one of highlight of the evening

shiso, tartare
absolutely scrumptious and the wagyu tartare simply melts away on your palate while contrasting with the feather light crunch of the shiso tempura

seeds of life
“egg” on egg action

ensaimada
here’s your bread course. parmesan butter is paired with warm, fluffy, and buttery brioche wrapping itself around deeply caramelized onion

strawberry negroni
how often do you get to eat your cocktail?

hearts of palm and white asparagus

kohlrabi and snap peas
pea season + handpicked peas + truffle = an automatic winner

crab, black garlic and coconut
the crab tomalley infused coconut sauce is the real star of this dish

favas and jamon
not my jam…jamon infused tea didn’t work for me alongside the favas, morels, and artichoke

turbot and tea
forget about the turbot infused tea…the absolute star of this evening is this aged and binchotan grilled turbot wing…concentrated flavor, tender/fatty af, and it’s lightly smoky with a glazed of house-made teriyaki sauce

cochinillo emmolada
this sous vided suckling pig disappoints…skin’s crispy bu the meat is dry. no amount of complex 3,000+ days mole from the venerable pujol on the plate can save this tragedy
P1002020

P1002024

cow and her milk
the pungent machego is countered with sweet melon notes, savory hazelnut crea, and a mystery puree

fresas con nata
great use of unripened white strawberries to give acidity and crunchy texture to balance the sweetness of the strawberry sorbet and sauce

"tropic"
edible piña colada

cheesecake bomb

mochi

xuixo
immensely crunchy pastry

Program is presented at the end of the performance


Somni
465 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

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looks good enough to plagiarize. should this be merged with the other existing somni thread?

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NOPE :shushing_face:

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Is E in Las Vegas still worth a visit after Somni? Anyone? @petoketo

no

Kindly elaborate?

When I had the pork dish a few months back it was not dry at all for me. My menu pretty much mirrored yours and I do agree with the highlights, I share your thoughts on the pizza too, while a fun course at the end of the day not something that wows me via pure flavor or interesting flavor combinations.

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I should’ve asked them how they crisped up the skin after sous viding! But somebody cooked it for too long in trying to crisp up the skin…

Great pics as always.

I don’t think e really hits the levels that Somni does. I guess it’s still worth trying once. It’s kinda neat to try out, and there are going to be a few impressive dishes, but overall, it’s a clear step down. Plus the space feels so cramped and tacky compared to Somni.

Of the fine dining places in Vegas, I’d rank my top three as Robuchon, Le Cirque, Guy Savoy, in that order.

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Thanks! I wasn’t terribly impressed with Le Cirque but I only had their 5 course. Is the 10 course that much better especially given the sky high price?

On a second glance, seems like OOE on the 5 course basically gets you the 10 course so maybe I should just get two 5 course myself and not get the crab/caviar supplement if I do go.

Food-wise it’s more of the same but less delicious than somni. After somni you’ll probably be disappointed with e. However, I thought e was more fun, you’re a lot closer to the action so you’re able to interact with the chefs a lot easier than at somni.

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I might try Somni in Jan or Feb.

Anyone know if they allow sharing of drink pairing?

I want to get a reservation for 2 and get only 1 drink pairing to share with my friend.

it’s not a problem with any restaurants including somni

Really? I thought restaurants would look down on you because my understanding is that they make most of their profits from their drinks.

I prefer to share the non alcoholic pairing with my friend rather than pay twice the amount to get our own. We probably won’t finish our drinks anyways.

never felt that way

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Agreed. Frankly, I find consuming a full drink pairing during some of those tasting menus to be just too much alcohol to appreciate the food.
I either split it, or get a glass or two as I like as the meal progresses.

I just drank water and I had a great meal and they didn’t make me feel any lesser of a diner.

Just bring a flask. Be subtle with it though, it’s a classy joint.

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For those who may not know, Somni does offer an alternative (and inventive) non-alcoholic pairing which, in many ways, enhances the meal more than their wine pairings.

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Really? I can’t wait to go there on February.

I want to get one of their non-alcoholic pairing to share with my friend.

$85 would be the most I’ve ever spent on drinks. I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $10 for a drink in my life.