First Taste of David Chang’s Majordomo

First Taste of David Chang’s Majordomo

February 7, 2018:  The place was bustling when we arrived for our 7:45pm reservations and was packed by 9:00pm.  And why not?  This is David Chang’s first outlet in Los Angeles.  Those who are familiar with Chang know about his Momofuku restaurant empire that started in New York.  A week since reservations opened, it‘s become as difficult to get a reservation as n/naka, and the place gets packed much earlier.

Everyone enjoyed the food here. Of the dishes we ordered, there really wasn’t a weak dish. The food was well seasoned and not overly salty.   The service here was impeccable and friendly.  There was no air of pretentiousness, and the servers and runners were just about at your beck and call.

Bings were pancakes served with protein you can use to make a wrap out of, and each of the selections we ordered were delicious, especially the Egg with Smoked Salmon Roe, and the Spicy Lamb.

Fried Butterball Potatoes are a must have.  Savory potatoes tossed with salsa seca and peanuts that give you a nice symphony of textures in your mouth.

If anything our Whole Plate Short Rib was not completely well marinated.  You could taste the marinate from half of the slices and not as much with the other half, meaning it was not marinated evenly.

In the end, food with tax and tip came out to be about $82 per person, which was a pleasant surprise to many considering how much food we got.  We were more conservative with the portions sizes when sampling each dish, with the exception of the Whole Short Rib.  I’d say be prepared to easily spend $100 here, not counting drinks.

Looking forward to returning, once my wallet recuperates.

NOTE:  We were advised that only about 5 Whole Plate Short Ribs are smoked per night, so if you want to guarantee yourself one, call in at least 48 hours ahead of your reservation to reserve one.

Valet Parking in the lot across from the restaurant is $10.00.  There is ample street parking, and despite how desolate the area appears at night, that seemed to be the choice for most diners.

Most recently, I had friends who dined here last week, and all they could say was that their dining experience was “amazing.”  Guess in the weeks after my dinner, they must have worked out whatever little kinks they had.  I am so looking forward to my 2nd dinner there… soon!

Website:  www.majordomo.la

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Tasting at Chef Dave Beran’s Dialogue Restaurant

Tasting at Chef Dave Beran’s Dialogue Restaurant

Dined here on September 13, 2017, but was just a tad to “out of it” to be in the mood to post about this 20+ course tasting.  Having started a new job in Santa Monica, it was easy for me to head over to Dialogue for tasting or Uovo for a pasta dinner, but with schools back in session, it was difficult to adjust to the 100 minute average drive to and from work (100 minutes, each way, that is).

Nevertheless, I was excited to try Chef Dave Beran’s food, especially since I had always wanted to go to Alinea in Chicago, but haven’t had the time, nor money.  Taking an early reservation in mid-week seemed to be the most beneficial if you’re seeking the lowest prices for this tasting (tax and gratuity included).  For me, it was around $191.00 per person, all in.

Sitting at the counter, it was fun watching Chef Beran and his assistant chefs cook and plate each course immaculately,  At times, there would be whimsy as well, as can be seen with the French Onion Soup course, where a mouthful of that rich and unctuous French onion broth was encapsulated inside a small onion ball that had cheese melted all over it.

The tasting (and keep that in mind, it’s a tasting, not a hearty dinner that will fill you up) took about 2 1/2 hours, but that’s understandable given the number of courses and the amount of work and timing that needed to be executed flawlessly by Chef Beran and his staff.  I enjoyed the tasting and look forward to see what he has in store for his Autumn/Winter Menu, which he will debut next week.

Website: https://www.dialoguerestaurant.com/

 

My Last Call at Michael Voltaggio’s ink

My Last Call at Michael Voltaggio’s ink

 

There was so much anticipation back in 2011 when it was announced that the new winner of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef,” Michael Voltaggio was opening his first restaurant on Melrose Avenue.  When it finally opened in September 2011, I dined there at least 3 times in the month of October, with 3 different groups of friends, and we all admired and enjoyed his style of cuisine, utilizing molecular gastronomy and new techniques (he was a fan of utilizing ash in his dishes).

Since then ink had switched over from serving shareable plates to a multi-course tasting menu.  After a couple of years of each format, ink went back to an a la carte format with a focus on being a steakhouse, offering dry aged Flannery California Reserve Holstein steaks.  However, in the last few years, I was distracted by the likes of n/naka and Maude.

Now that I’ve cut back at dining at such higher end places, I was able to consider dining at ink to find out how the food and the offerings have changed over the years, but with the announcement of Voltaggio closing ink after Sunday’s dinner service (July 31st), and opening ink.well soon thereafter on La Cienega in West Hollywood, I decided to make an impromptu stop for dinner last night and took advantage of the DineLA 4-course Caviar Tasting Menu for $95.00.

However, after seeing the Foie Gras Shavings on the regular menu, and being such a lover of foie gras, I added it as a starter before the 4-course tasting, and I was glad I did.  The foie was creamy and unctuous.

The Caviar Tasting Menu  was lovely, especially the first 2 courses: Smoked Mozzarella and Egg Yolk Gnocchi.  The ball of mozarella was wrapped with a layer of leek gel on the outside, creating a bit of whimsy as one had to break through the layer of get to tender and smokey mozzarella.  The gnocchi  looked like little cylinders of pasta encapsulating creamy egg yolk inside.  Then end result reminded me of a play on mac n’ cheese, with add saltiness from the trout roe.  Both of these dishes were delicious and surprisingly filling.

While I enjoyed dry aged Holstein filet, I didn’t think there was enough “cheesy caviar” to add to the dish.  While the filet was tender and well seasoned, the zucchini strips were a stand out as well.  A side of seaweed mashed potatoes was served with the filet.

Out of curiosity, I added a side of the Carolina Gold Rice as well.  Whoops, too much carbs!  Since I never had it before, it was a treat tasting Voltaggio’s version of it, with the creaminess of the cheese contrasting the airiness and crunchiness of the crispy rice, it was definitely a few bites of fun in my mouth.

Dinner ended with the Caramelized White Chocolate course, which was a nice scoop of rich, sweet, butteriness that was offset by the saltiness of the caviar.  Incorporating the aerated blinis and frozen pieces of creme fraiche into one bite with the white chocolate, my mind kept telling me I’m having a deconstructed cupcake.  That’s what my mind was telling me.  It was a wonderful tasting experience, and I guess a good way to reacclimate myself with Voltaggio’s style of cooking before ink closes, and he moves on to ink well.

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FOIE GRAS SHAVINGS, hazelnut butter, radishes, smoked sea salt, pumpernickel

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SMOKED MOZZARELLA, vichyssoise, leek-lime, Shasestra caviar, purple potato chips
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SMOKED MOZZARELLA
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Close up of the Smoked Mozzarella wrapped by a leek-lime gel and topped with Shasestra caviar.
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EGG YOLK GNOCCHI, trout roe, pickled onion rings, lox toppings, micro croutons
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Close up of the Egg Yolk Gnocchi
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AGED HOLSTEIN (FILET) STEAK, cheesy caviar, zucchini
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Close up look of the Dry Aged Holstein Filet
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SEAWEED MASHED POTATOES that came as a side with the filet.
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CAROLINA GOLD RICE, local milk and freeze-dried Fiscalini cheddar cheese
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CARAMELIZED WHITE CHOCOLATE, classic Shesastra caviar, aerated blini, creme fraiche

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DineLA Restaurant Week Dinner at Patina in DTLA

DineLA Restaurant Week Dinner at Patina in DTLA

In April of this year, Andreas Roller took over the reigns as executive chef, and with a $49 3-course dinner offered by Patina during DineLA Restaurant Week, it was a perfect venue to be able to sample Chef Roller’s cooking.

Service here was impeccable, and our server was sweet and vivacious.  She took the time to go discuss about the different types of tasting menus and beverage menus they have.

We ordered the DineLA menu (pictured below), and I added the shaved summer truffles ($20 supplement) to my Brentwood Corn Agnolotti.  Tasty, though the bold sweet flavor of the corn seemed to have masked some of the delicate flavors of the summer black truffles.

The dishes were delicious, with the Squid Ink Pasta being the stand out.  The texture of the pasta was on the softer, yet firm side.  It was well tossed in a delicate sauce made with uni and bottarga.  Very unctuous.

I was so satisfied with my experience, that I am looking forward to coming back for either 6-course tasting or the Chef’s Tasting.

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The DineLA Restaurant Week’s 3-Course Dinner is only $49.00 at Patina.
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Amuse:  Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Lobster
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Close up of the Amuse
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Bread Service.  Sadly, it’s 7:00pm on Friday, and they’re out of Olive Bread.
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Heirloom Tomato Salad
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Preparing to shave some Summer Truffles over the Brentwood Corn Agnolotti

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Brentwood Corn Agnolotti with added Shaved Summer Truffles ($20 supplement)
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Kurobata Pork Belly
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Sea Bass
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Close up of Sea Bass
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Squid Ink Pasta… so delicate, yet so flavorful.
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Close up of the Squid Ink Pasta
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Buttermilk Verbana Panna Cotta
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Coconut  dessert that’s made with coconut milk, tapioca pearls, mango, yuzu, maracuya, sesame crisps
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Close up of the Coconut dessert that’s made with coconut milk, tapioca pearls, mango, yuzu, maracuya, sesame crisps

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Knife Cut Noodling at Shanxi Noodle House in City of Industry

Knife Cut Noodling at Shanxi Noodle House in City of Industry

In the East San Gabriel Valley, more and more Asian restaurants are popping up all over from La Puente to Walnut, and from Northern Chinese cuisine to Burmese.  Shanxi Noodle House isn’t a newcomer.  They’ve been in business for over about 2 years now, only having been discovered by me, when a friend and I needed to find a place to grab a bite while on our way home from checking out the superblooms along the 15 Freeway in Lake Elsinore back in March of this year.  Searching through Yelp, we stumbled upon their listing, which has been awarded a good number of 4 and 5 star reviews from Yelpers, and decided to give them a try.   The result was enjoying the wonderful layers of flavors as well as different textures in the dishes we tried, particularly of the Crispy Potatoes with Oat Flour Noodle Rolls.  After that night, we came back for more.  The noodles and dumplings are all house made, and the knife cut noodles are made to order.

Korean Royal Cuisine Progression Dinner at Yong Su San

Korean Royal Cuisine Progression Dinner at Yong Su San

I’ve heard from some that these progression dinners, aka Royal Cuisine, are more common in North Korea these days than in the South.  Not sure how true that is.  Multi-course meal served family style, in a formal setting, but not as grand and spectacular as one would see at a Chinese banquet dinner.  Nevertheless, it is an interesting experience to partake in at least once.

The dinners are not cheap (about $40 and up per person depending on the menu selected), and while the flavors were there, they were rather muted and not as bold as one would expect from Korean food.  Many of the dishes were good, but there are better versions elsewhere.

Yet, this place is packed, and for the most part, diners are seated in their own private dining room, whether it’s for a party of 4 or 20 (advanced reservations required, of course).

 

Modern Mexican Cuisine by Chef Diego Hernandez at Verlaine

Modern Mexican Cuisine by Chef Diego Hernandez at Verlaine

Dinner with friends back on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.  Modern Mexican cuisine is finally making a footprint in the LA dining scene.  Chef Diego Hernandez has a critically acclaimed restaurant south of the border in Ensenada, Baja California, before opening up a restaurant in San Diego.  Now, he brings his culinary expertise to LA, and what we got to share was an array of refined, beautifully plated dishes.

The Sorrel Tamal was one of my favorites as the preparation and presentation was nothing one would expect when you order tamal or a tamale.  Our dinner was highlighted by a wonderful Suckling Pig.  Pass me some more of those housemade tortillas!

Dinner ended with a nice Beet Biscocho, soft, smooth, creamy and not too sweet.

VERLAINE, 8715 West Beverly Boulevard, West Hollywood, California 90048, Telephone: (424) 288-4671

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Sorrel Tamal – Corn masa, sorrel juice and cheese, mole amarillito, swiss chard, onion ashes
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Grilled Half Dozen Oysters – Fresh sage, warm butter, lemon
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Beef Tartare – Ginger, chive, kalamata olive, arugula, egg yolk sauce
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Whole Baby Beetroot – Smoked and roasted garlic puree, hibiscus powder, dried cheese
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Ceviche of the Day – Tostada, avocado, mayo
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Whole Baby Carrots – Carrot orange ginger puree, carrot top salad
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Fish of the Day – Ash crust, spinach chilpete, swiss chard stem, guisado, russian kale, preserved lemon
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Suckling Pig – Sweet potato, salsa madre, smoked squash
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Suckling Pig – Sweet potato, salsa madre, smoked squash
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Sauce and accoutrements for Suckling Pig
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Beet Biscocho – Orange creme, beet apple gel, cacao sorbet
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With Chef Diego Hernandez

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