Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  1. Hi All Anyone want to swap a French Laundry reservation? I have one for a party of 4 has been made for Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 5:30 PM. I am not sure I can use it. I would love to take one around the weekend of the 12/13th/14th of September instead (2 people is fine) if anyone wants to swap?!? Post here if you are interested or PM me. Thanks
  2. It's not cheap - from memory around 70-100 dollars for the menu, but certainly a pittance compared to Urasawa. I have not been for 12 months - I went 3-4 times in the old address down near sawtelle/olympic but only once since it moved closer to brentwood. Still food quality was sublime. I think it's the 3rd highest ratedin zagat after urasawa and matsuhisa.
  3. This may be a LITTLE OT but can anyone recommend a wine tour operator for the Napa/Sonoma area that does a good yet not ludicrously expensive private tour or semi-priavte (share with other groups) tour of the Napa or Sonoma area? I am looking for good "ins" with vineyards of a high standard, not your typical mondavis, hess, opus one, blah blah blah. E.g. vineyards that would typically need invitations if you were visiting them indiviudally. Thanks!
  4. Hi Sushi Sasabune is the ticket for you: http://losangeles.citysearch.com/profile/4...i_sasabune.html It usually pushes the Chef selection (omikase) and the fish is as good as anywhere in the US without the hernia inducing prices of urasawa. More traditional and less "fushiony" than Matsuhisa. I have eaten there 4-5 times and everytime it has been fantastic. Cheers
  5. HELP! Disaster strikes.... I have 2 friends travelling out from Australia in September. We were aiming for the well regarded strategy of booking at one of the local hotels (Villagio in this case) and hoping they could make the booking for us. Anyway 2 months out they email to tell me that they can't get us in because someone has done a "buy-out" of the FL for the weekend we were aiming for. AAARGH! I now have 2 friends with confirmed non refundable tickets to the US. Obviously the FL is not the only reason for their trip but it was one of the top 3 reasons. Could use some advice from other FT'ers here. If we are assuming that the fall back plan of aiming for a later date at FL (which Villagio is trying to get for us) falls through what would people recommend: 1. Stick to plan with visiting Napa and book another restaurant (recoomendations please)? 2. Blow it off and head somewhere else (will be leaving from my base in LA) like southern California 3. Try Per Se in NY instead? Any tips would be most welcome Thx
  6. I think the tribal elders gather around Griffith Park Observatory under a full moon and sacrifice a baby goat cheese with an old vine zinfandel to appease the food gods, then they pass you the sacred napkin of gorging. Back in reality, I think you would 'just do it', to coin a phrase. No wait, someone's done that already. I think RJ Wong was happy to hand the napkin over to whomever had the time & motivation. I say bravo if you are the woman (?) for the job.
  7. OK here's the review of Ortolan. We had the tasting menu: Foie Gras Confit with Fig Chutney of Pear ~ This dish was very nice however I thought it would have worked better had the foie gras been pan-seared. It was confit and served cold. Also the brioche needed assembly and we found this a little messy. Perhaps pre-stacked? But I guess the brioche would go soggy... Cauliflower Panna Cotta with Black Truffle Gelée of Crustacean with Lobster ~ Very rich. Perhaps bordering on a little too creamy I thought. But excellent flavours. Egg and Caviar Cooked in Hot Ash Whipped Cream and Vanilla ~ Reminded us of a dish at the Fat Duck? Caviar was delicious and the rest was, well just OK. Roast Langoustine with Quince Black Truffle and Hazelnut Emulsion ~ We thought the next two dishes were probably the highlights. Although this dish had an imbalance of ingredients - there should have been 2 langoustines as there was a ton of quince left over. Maybe a cost thing. Roast Scallop with Black Risotto Vénere Tomato Chorizo Sauce ~ Quite a hearty dish. My wife thought the scallop may have been slightly chewy but it was paired with an Olive Tuile that was bark-like in consistency so I didn't notice. Very flavourful. Roast Seabass with Chesnut Ravioli Green Cabbage, Pumpkin Purée and Truffle Coulis Sauce ~ I think this dish was the low point of the meal. It was as though the ingredients were trying to out-do each other for who could stand out the least. Everything seemed to have an earthy, dare I say almost blandness? And the chestnut ingredient was gritty too boot which killled the texture. Caramelized Roast Duck Suprème Swiss Chard with Autumn Vegetables ~ Lovely salty crisp duck skin (reminciscent of peking duck) was the highlight of this dish was was not good without being truly great. Cheese Plate Sottocenere “Black Truffle” ~ Fine. Went well with the red that came with the duck. I was comped a refill on this due to the duck running late - there was a huge private room table effecting the kitchen (only very slightly). Pre Dessert ~ Apple in Two ways with Caramel Ice Cream ~ This was the pick of the desserts. I believe one way was an apple panna cotta which was executed perfectly and the other a kind of apple jelly? Caramel ice cream also very very good and nice version of a melon ball , done in apple. Chocolate Ganache with Biscuit and Orange Sorbet ~ Maybe I am jaded about chocolate because it's the one thing that is probably the most common ingredient of a tasting menu in my limited experience (although I would think foie gras is giving it a run for its money if recent meals I've had are anything to go by) but this was not outstanding. It was very good but chocolate (like foie gras) is hard to screw up so if you want a 5-star dish you need to really pull out all the stops. I also had the matching wines. Some interesting choices including a wine from the Basque region of Europe that had the ubiquitous letter x in it several times. Nothing startling but very competent matchings. Service was fine although we started early and felt surrounded by waiters. Maybe it's not a big enough establishment for them to make themselves scarce? Also some of the busboys tried to explain the meals but had difficulty conveying the meaning. In the end our server/waiter had to take over. Maybe in future they should just leave it to the waiters? Would I go back here? Not in a hurry I think. I don't know if that vibe came out in the above blow by blow but given we were $400 poorer at the end of the night I wanted to float out of the door. We both felt stuffed full but 2 days later we were not cherishing memories of the night or the food. I still recall most of my meal at the Fat Duck in London when I lived there and that was 18 months ago. Similarly with West in Vancouver 3 months ago - wow was that a good meal. The prices at these other two establishments weren't too far removed from Ortolan's. I really think that if you ware going to step up to the plate and do the full tasting menu thang then you need to be hitting home runs every time, not just making a 2nd or 3rd base hit.
  8. Hey Chris I think we ordered every dish on the menu from the appetizer & entree menu that featured pig-product. There were 3 of us dining and 4 of the dishes were piggy from memory??? Mostly entrees - I could check the Grace online menu... Cheers
  9. Hi There is not much activity on this site for LA for a city of it's size. Thought I'd try to help up the ante a bit with a few reviews of recent meals in the City of Angels: 1. Lucques Superb meal - I last ate here 3 years ago when Lucques was still fairly new. It was good then and it's better now. And RAMMED. We turned up at 10 PM on a Saturday and the place was wall-to-wall. Andy Dick was holding court at the bar. We plumped for the whopping great Club Steak for 2 for entree with Brondade for appetizer. What a piece of meat!!! Cooked on the bone to perfection with excellent slight charring around the meat to crisp up the fat, perfectly medium rare in the middle. In an out in under an hour and a half which is impressive for a place already heaving with service demands. Some lovely wines by the glass - a Zinfandel and a Syrah, the former of which was well paired with the steak. I am going to become a regular here for sure - so many of the dishes on the menu were appealing and this time around we couldn't fit dessert so we definitely have unifinished business as Susan Gloin's place. 2. Social Hollywood Very underwhelming. Again a late session and the place was heaving but mainly due to the jittery, wild-eyed patrons clambering to access the club that shares the building with Social. Service was average and wines small in choice/excitement. Social charges almost the same prices as Lucques and when eating at both establishments within 3 days of one another I couldn't possibly ever bring myself to go to Social ever again when I know there are better options. The food is OK but not memorable. Even a week later I have trouble remembering the tastes. The beef at Lucques still haunts me, however. 3. Grace So near and yet... All sorts of big expectations and enthusiasm accompanied our party to Grace. We were going to eat pig in every form available knowing Neal Fraser's mastery of the porcine form as ably displayed on Iron Chef America. I loved the ambience and decor of Grace - it feels like Soho in New York or somewhere infinitely more sophisticated than, well, Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. We were recommended a delicious bottle of Italian red by the sommelier and appetizers (Foie Gras for yours truly) also tickled our fancy. between 3 of us we managed to corner every pig-based dish on the list. Entrees, however, felt like it was more of a quantity over quality approach. A bunch of pigs just lacking a certain 'i don't know what'. Nothing spectacular for me, sadly. There was truly a mountain of food but none of it was truly outstanding and foie gras is a dish I've yet to eat done badly. Maybe someone can correct my choices on the menu. I think I'd give Grace another try but there are some other fish to fry and some other pigs to eat in unsampled establishments before I return here I wager. 4. Ortolan Eating here tomorrow night. Watch this space. Some other recent casual options: Zeke's smokehouse GREAT BBQ food. The sides are pretty dull but the Memphis baby backs and Carolina pulled pork rock my world. Mmmmm mmmeaat. In'N"out Had to include it - nothing hits the spot like In'N'Out. The best fast food in LA (at least until I get my butt to Pink's which is still on the list). Double double animal style, fries well done, chocolate shake. The order of champions. Versailles Ah the roast pork - how much is it - like, $7 a serve? Heavenly with or without sides. Some of the best value food in LA. The Farm, LA The lobster club rules and the brownies should be outlawed.
  10. Had lunch there yesterday. Nice meatloaf sandwich. Fries are great too. Genuine potato and crispy. Reminds me of In'n'Out double cooked fries which are the king of fast food fries. Also pigged out with Creme Brulee for dessert. Delicious. Slight bitterness from the brulee torching offset the sweet creamy velvety vanilla love in the dish. Yum.
  11. Tried Cito this morning. Like the vibe there. Buzzing even with the Evil Empire Outlet over the road and Urban Fare next door to that in direct competition. The latte was smooth but not quite as strong as I like. The pattern in the milk was a great touch - clearly a sign of care and passion in my book. I'll try it again next week and ask for it strong next time. Definite potential.
  12. I've walked by the Latte Lounge and went to try it one day but it wasn't open - like 8.30 in the morning or something? Come on people - that's latte primetime! Will give Cito a try. Thanks.
  13. Hey all Wondering if anyone had any thoughts on what the best coffee going in Yaletown area is. I regularly get mine at the Yaletown market near the corner of Nelson and Mainland. I have also tried the little French patisserie half way down that street, Urban Fare over by the old train depot, Blenz in the library foodcourt, Starbucks, Melriches and I think that's it. I hate Starbucks - I always need to order an extra shot in whatever they serve. I usually order a medium sized latte and I like it strong. Anywhere I am missing? Yaletown market is good but inconsistent... Cheers
  14. Hi I think I had dinner at the Beach House on Dundarave Pier last night. Felt compelled to write about it. Arrived at the restaurant not knowing what to expect save for a reputation for good seafood. Decor is nice but maybe slightly dated/80's feel to it. Interesting mix of clientele - some looking fairly slobbish in t-shirts and shorts whilst others clearly dressed for the occasion. Vancouver is a real dress-down city in my experience. Anyway back on track... Sat down in a nice booth with a view of the sunset. Kids playing on the beach, beautiful vista. Other patrons kindly pulled the sunshade down to alleviate the glare for us. Nice. Seated at table with menus, sans wine list. First grab of the menu - mmm! Lots of chocies. I know I am probably in for a good meal when there are 4 or 5 things from the appetizer and entree menus the jump out saying "Eat me!" I'm usually good with 2 choices. As a table we had: Appetizers: Calamari, Crabcake, Dungeness Crab Tower Entree: Fish Trio, Ahi Tuna, Wild Salmon, Prawn and Scallops (Notice the seafood theme?) The first signs of slight doubt in the service was the no wine list but this wasn't too big a deal. Given it was peak time of night we decided to place our orders quickly. This necessiatated flagging down our server. After ordering we enjoyed the view and appetizers arrived in good order. The wait staff bringing out the meals seemed to be around the age of 14. One in particular was shaking like a leaf when placing the meals. This same server also had the job of filling up the water glasses for the night which was executed with good regularity however it was accompanied by continually drips across the table - not one or two but small puddles. Poor chap. Felt a bit sorry for him after his grand finale. More on that later. Appetizers were tasty however not spectacular. The calamari was a little to quite a lot tough depending on which of my companions you asked. Also it was a little too heavily crumbed/floured. Crabcake with softshell crab very nice as was the dungeness crabmeat tower. The entrees then took roughly 45 minutes to come out. Gordon Ramsay would have been assaulting the kitchen staff with a blunt instrument if it had been Hell's Kitchen. Where's K Grease when you need him? Anyhoo the long wait meant that our wine was almost completely gone by the time the entrees arrived but I did not give them the pleasure/profit of ordering a second bottle. Entrees were generally competent but again not spectacular. I don't think we could fault the quality of the seafood itself. The Ahi tuna was a huge hunk of fish. Nicely done but definitely not something that I haven't seen in any number of places before. It was almost like there is too much respect for the fish to combine it with any truly adventurous complementary flavours. The entrees were completed with the coupe de grace of the service - the last vestige of our sancerre disappearing into my companions lap courtesy of our nervous serving friend. Ah well. On the upside this faux pas was nicely redeemed by the senior waiter in the section who comped us all with a refreshing glass of moscati each. Nice comeback. The dessrt menu tried to tempt us but unfortunately did not have the calling power of the main menu. Our mutual dread of another long wait was not doing it any favours. All up? Good but not great. Service - below par. Location - Fantastic. Wine list - very good. What needs changing? Facelift wouldn't hurt. More adventurous cuisine would be nice. Some seasoned waitstaff or a maitre d with a panchance for marshalling troops would be a huge winner. I think watching all of Mr Ramsay's shows has made me into a gasto-Nazi! Yoinks!
  15. OK OK! Sold - I will head back for the gingerbread pudding at some point
  • Create New...