Terra Cotta - Wilshire

~10 minute wait at 10 pm on Friday night for 3. Seems loud as you enter, but gets quieter once you’re in the seating area. I have trouble remembering to take pictures, unfortunately. Some prices are different online. Nevertheless, my experience yesterday:

Drinks

Passionate Seoul $12
-Tequila, Passion Fruit, Thai Chili, Lime, Creole Shrubb
This style of drink tends to be my go-to. Unfortunately it was not particularly interesting - nothing really wrong with it, just lacking nuance.

Raspberry Fix $12
-Bourbon, Raspberry, Lemon, Ginger Beer, Bitters
Friend wanted to try something “sweet” so I got this. It was too medicinal for my taste, though I’m not sure if that’s a flaw in the drink or just something that I’m not used to.

Raw

Toro Tataki $23 (A friend insisted)
-truffled amazu ponzu, shiitake salad, avocado
Predictably mediocre. Go to any decent sushi restaurant for better.

Japanese Buri aka Hamachi $19
-jalapeno / tarragon emulsion avocado, ginger salsa
I think the topping was different. Unorthodox, but tasty. Admittedly not a great value for 6 pieces of fish.

Vegetables

Crispy Potatoes $10
-triple cooked marble potatoes (aji amarillo sauce on the side)
Good enough that I ordered a second helping. The sauce on the side reminded me pleasantly of the citrus dynamite sauce in POT’s Beep Beep.

Anju

Crispy Smelts $19
-tempura smelts, red onion and cilantro, ama ponzu
Pretty good, if straightforward. Nice bit of brine. Could do with a bit less batter but otherwise well-cooked, not too oily or anything.

(Wanted to get some Uni Rice, but they were out.)

Mains

Chilean Seabass $23
-grilled pineapple, microcilantro, crispy leeks, yuzu miso
Pretty typical, but tasty. Pineapple was done well too.

Galbi Toban $25
-prime beef short rib, carmelized onions, galbi sauce
Also fairly straightforward - small serving.

Overall the food is decent, just overpriced for the quality and/or portion size of each dish. If it was ~30% cheaper I would consider returning. As it is, I’ll stick to Here’s Looking At You for my local upper-end dining - better drinks there too.

4 Likes

We were cautiously optimistic about this place, reading mixed reports, and having friends wanting to meet up in K-Town.

Opened right next door to the Wiltern Theatre, I remember reading the Eater preview on this place which states that they are the same owners as the popular Korean BBQ chain, Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong.

Walking inside, it’s got elevated ceilings and this beautiful, gaudy, strange almost gothic architecture.

Raspberry Fix (Bourbon, Raspberry, Lemon, Ginger Beer, Bitters):

This was pretty boozy; not balanced at all. Heavy on the Bourbon (I suppose a good deal for those wanting more hard alcohol), and we couldn’t really taste the Raspberry. I forgot to check @T3t’s post before we went for a refresher. We felt the same way with this drink.

Korean Fried Cauliflower (Crispy Cauliflower, Cho-Kochujang, Sesame Seeds):

This was tasty, but also a bit heavy handed. The Fried Cauliflower was slightly crispy, a little doughy on the batter, and with a heavy dosage of the popular Korean hot sauce, Kochujang.

Ginger Rodriguez (Mezcal, Averna, Ginger, Lemon, Nutmeg):

Playful name, thankfully this was better than the Raspberry Fix. Strong Ginger notes, and the Nutmeg and Lemon actually helped to smooth out the Mezcal. Not bad. :slight_smile:

Grilled Octopus (Kochujang Romesco, Korean Pickles, Roasted Garlic):

Looking at @PorkyBelly’s pics, our plating was anywhere near as nice, and as a result, that Kochujang Sauce was buried / lost for some pices of the Octopus (as we were sharing). I forgot to dab it, and instead got a solidly-cooked, tender (only slightly chewy) Grilled Octopus, but it lacked a much needed sauce.

Korean Mushroom (Shiitake, King Oyster, Eringi, Maitake & Enoki, Shiso Chimichurri):

Not sure what makes this “Korean Mushroom,” but this was a Sauteed Mushroom mixture of 5 different types of Mushrooms. They are naturally bursting with umami flavors, so it’s hard to screw this up. And this was pretty tasty, not only with the 5 different types of Mushrooms, but the Shiso Chimichurri Sauce being a nice herbal complement. :slight_smile:

Yuzu Clams (Manila Clams, House Bacon, Yuzu Soy, Red Chiles, Garlic Chips):

This sounded delicious, as I love Yuzu Citrus, but sadly we didn’t taste any Yuzu in the final dish. :frowning: It wasn’t bad, with just cooked through Manila Clams that were nicely briny, a little spicy and garlicky. But those were the main flavors, with no Yuzu coming through at all.

BBQ Ribs (Oak Smoked, Sambal “Rub”, Elote):

Most of these dishes reflect a very Asian Fusion-style of cooking, and it seems Chef Danny Ye is formerly of Nobu NYC, so I suppose it makes sense. These BBQ Ribs were spicy, coated in Sambal, the popular Indonesian Hot Sauce, which gave them a bit of a funky heat. The issue was that the Ribs didn’t really have a smoke ring, weren’t very smoky, and were lukewarm. :frowning:

But getting beyond that, they were generally OK, but not something we’d order again.

Uni Rice (Hot Stone Rice with Seaweed, Cucumber, Caviar and Sea Urchin):

I was so looking forward to this dish, seeing @PorkyBelly’s mouth-watering pics months ago. :slight_smile: When it arrived, I noticed it looked slightly different. We mixed up the Uni Rice on the hot stone grill, and the Rice and Uni were sizzling.

Sadly, this dish was ruined by the bad Uni. :sob: It seems this isn’t a good time for Uni (after last week’s Kinjiro so-so Uni), and this downright bad Uni at Terra Cotta. :frowning:

This tasted like bad sewage water from the ocean (old Uni), lacking any sweetness. :frowning:

Now looking more closely at our pics and @PorkyBelly’s, there are some notable differences. @PorkyBelly’s pics had bright, sharp-looking Uni, with a good color. Ours had some pallid yellow pieces, and some pieces were mushy (disintegrating / decomposing?).

Our Uni Rice also didn’t have the Ikura / Salmon Roe that @PorkyBelly’s version had. Darn. :frowning: I’m hoping it’s just a sourcing issue, and not a permanent downhill alert / issue.

Dayboat Scallops (Corn Salsa, Okinawa Sweet Potato, Herb Coulis):

This was the best dish of the night! Nicely seared Scallops, with a nice browned crust, but still very tender inside, which paired really well with the Corn Salsa, lightly sweet and spicy, and the Herb Coulis helped bind everything together. :slight_smile:

Spatchcock Chicken (Aji Verde Salsa, Aji Amarillo Mayo, Korean Moo):

This was an entire Chicken, spatchcocked, fried and then roasted to finish it off. The result was a beautiful-looking golden brown Chicken with crispy skin.

Taking a bite, and it tasted just like the “Crispy Chicken” at Sam Woo and other HK BBQ restaurants. :frowning: Meaning it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything special. However, some of the dark meat and white meat were a bit overcooked (dryish), but the Chicken skin was crispy at least.

The Aji Verde Salsa was a bit mild, but fragrant and still somewhat spicy, it worked pretty well. Not sure if this was special enough to order again, but if there’s no Sam Woo nearby, this might do if you’re in the neighborhood and craving that type of Chicken. :slight_smile:

Squid Ink Fried Rice (Garlic & Kimchee Fried Rice, Squid Ink, Dayboat Scallop, Argentinian Prawn):

This didn’t really taste like “Fried Rice,” as it was presented more like a Fusion Paella dish. The Squid Ink Rice was sufficiently dark, but it was a bit soggy / soft, more moist than anything. The flavors were briny, salty and OK. No one in our party complained, but no one felt this dish was anything special, either.

The Argentinian Prawns were fine. Meaty, briny, and solid, but after having amazing Spot Prawns cooked at Sea Harbour, or really fresh Live Amaebi at local sushi restaurants, these Argentinian Prawns were just OK in comparison.

Shellfish Pasta (Maine Lobster, Bay Scallops, Santa Barbara Uni Butter Sauce):

The Pasta is a thick Housemade Pappardelle. The Uni Butter Sauce was pretty tasty, much better than the Uni Rice (perhaps a different batch of Uni and/or the loads of Butter in the Sauce helped to smooth things out?). The Maine Lobster was properly cooked, meaty and lightly briny.

It felt like an OK Seafood Pasta.

The goth decor and loud music blaring made us feel like we were in a club more than a restaurant. It got pretty loud in there and it was packed.

I think it was decent to solid food, but there wasn’t anything that made us want to return anytime soon. I’m hoping we just had a bad batch of the Uni Rice, because with fresh, sweet Uni, that dish would’ve been amazing. :slight_smile:

Terra Cotta
3760 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Tel: (213) 365-1077

http://www.terracottala.com/

2 Likes

I don’t know how your ended on such a positive note after what seemed like a horrible meal reading through it.

Good to know the place isn’t worth it seems though. Thank god because the word “spatchcocked” and the previous reviews of the uni rice almost convinced me to give it a try. Sorry you had to take one for the team though! :frowning:

Sucks that you’ve been having so many bad meals lately :frowning: I always hate it when I end up on runs of bad meals. The downside to exploring new territory I guess.

1 Like

Hi @Aesthete,

Thanks. Yah, there were definitely some mediocre dishes on this visit. To be fair, their 5 Mushroom Saute was tasty, as were the Dayboat Scallops with Okinawan Potatoes. So some of this Asian Fusion worked.

The Uni Rice, if the sourcing had been good to great (like with PB’s visit), would’ve made that dish pretty amazing I think (the seared, crisping rice on the hot iron plate, some Ikura / Salmon Roe mixed in and Green Onions). But our Uni was awful.

Thanks for the report @Chowseeker1999, that sucks you’re striking out with the uni, sounds like some quality control issues. And no ikura?! Was it listed on the menu?

Luckily pot is still serving their beep beep down the street.

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Hi @PorkyBelly,

Yah I hope it’s just a sourcing issue (just a bad wave of Uni). And looking at my pic for the menu, wow, no, Ikura is not listed anymore. :frowning: I think your version was better for it.

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Terra Cotta has really interesting table knives.

is it bad that i just reject any menu that says Chilean Seabass? lyin ass mofos

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Are you waiting for that day when you see ‘Patagonian Toothfish’ on an actual menu? might be a while :wink:

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Calling that fried rice is a crime.

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Had drinks at the bar here a few weeks ago. The place and its clientele felt like it was trying waaaay too hard.

yes… formerly known as fish stick filler