Okay, I would like to thank Mr. Michael Voltaggio for bring such a graceful restaurant to Los Angeles. Now maybe food critics and lovers of food will think of the City of Angels as a real eating destination. Myself and 5 friends were able to secure reservations for last night, Monday. They have only started to open on Monday’s and I just happened to be on their website when I saw there were openings to be had! mvink.com GO, Go everyday. Get a reservation. And try to get some like minded friends. Order it all, and share. You will not be disappointed. Make your own tasting menu. But try it all. I don’t say this lightly, but the Big Eye Tuna (which is a person favorite of all foods) was one of the least interesting dishes. Seriously! Big Eye Tuna wasn’t one of the highlights. The other items were That good!!
So to start, we actually had two different reservations at two different times. But after a few misses on the phone with the restaurant, my good friend Kelly was able to get through, and with only minimal explaining, they totally accommodated our request to have us all sit together at the later time. And then our one friend got tied up for a few, and was going to be late, we were all ready to sit and start ordering and they sat us. Which is awesome. How many places make you all wait. We were ready to start ordering. Since there was many small dishes to get under the belt, so to speak. They ended up putting us in the private wine room, and it was fantastic. It just made the whole experience even that much better. Especially for a group of hungry, experienced food and wine fanatics.
So then we met our server Steve, who was very amiable and explained the menu to us, and our options. But since we were basically going to try to have as many things as possible, he helped us par down from them all, to ordering multiple of the smaller and better dishes.
This is one of the missed things in many restaurants today, especially in LA. A waiter who totally understands the menu, and how it all works, but more importantly knows the menu inside and out, and was able answer our questions and help us to have the best experience, which we did. For inspiration we started with an amazing white wine. Gruner, Gruner Weinrieder 2009. And if you’ve never had this fantastically awesome white wine from Austria, go get some. It is unlike any other white you’ve had. So smooth and drinkable.
We ordered four dishes to start and another bottle of wine. A 2009 Macon Villages Chardonnay. After this bottle we met the Sommelier Josh, who we realized we had met a while ago at Bastide. Which love him or hate him, Joe Pytka and his many incursions of Bastide did run a restaurant that gave you an amazing culinary experience. But I digress, we chatted with Josh for a while and he brought us some great wines for all our other courses. Again, we made our own tasting menu, and would order a few courses at a time, eat those, then try more. It is a fun way to try the menu and not be overwhelmed. Which is also why the wine list is so great as well. It is small and accessible to all. It has a mix of drinkable and younger wines that are reasonably priced and some all stars that are probably not an option unless it’s on the company’s dime! And Josh won’t make you feel like an ass if you don’t know your wine.
So our first courses were Big Eye Tuna, Fluke Crudo, Charred Avocado, and Kale.
The Tuna came with a parsnip-sesame cream, grapefruit and soy gel. We gave it a 7.5 The tuna was top of the line, and quite tasty. The cream added an unusually unique flavor that elevated the tuna, but the grapefruit was a little heavy handed, and for me took away a little bit. Depending on what is on the menu next time, I could go without this one again.
The Kale, we got only one but could of polished of another. Even though we gave it a 7 rating it was really really unique and tasty. It had Burrata, Asian pear, pumpkin seeds and yuzu. The kale was a very crisp fried almost tissue paper delicate. But the flavor of the kale still came through. And what isn’t good with burrata???? The small cheese balls were highly contested by the table, and I was lucky to get one with all my limbs intact. A very nice dish, and with all the meat we were going to consume, the greenery was much needed.
Fluke. Ahhh fluke. It’s a flounder. A left-handed flatfish to be exact. And it was cut paper thin. And amazingly tasty. Really, really, really tasty. Again, a raw serving, a large thin piece wrapped around Romain hearts with a fried Caesar dressing and lemon oil. Ohhhhh my god. This was one genius presentation and we were glad we had two. This was tasty, tasty, tasty. And the fried Caesar dressing was so totally unexpectedly good. Basically a crouton of fried tastiness. It added a great element to the dish. We gave this a 10 out 10. A home run, a completely finished amazing dish. The paper thin fish was so delicate.
Next the charred avocado. Wow! WOW! It only rated a 9 in our group. But this was another totally amazing totally different dish like none I’ve had before. It was quartered slices with hen of the woods, a kind of mushroom that is out of this world! If you’ve never had one, find some and eat them. Anywho, it had a great hen of the woods on the slice of fried avocado with a whipped fish sauce and a mushroom chicharron. YES, A MUSHROOM CHICHARRON!!! I forgot this was a mushroom, it was so good. Again, this dish rated a 9 out of 10. The flavors were so utterly insane and dare I say, off the hook, that I wish I had this in front of me now. This is a taste of the most amazing hike you ever had in your life. This dish lives and breathes. It takes you away. Takes you away to a much happier better place. I loved it.
So now that we got those out of the way, we of course ordered more wine and food, DUH
For wine, Josh helped us pick a Croatian Red. Now if you haven’t any Croatian wine either, get on the boat. The reds from this area are off the hook. We had Plauac 2009 from Dingac winery. It was a good selection for our next courses!! It was a nice light red. It was fruity on the nose and finish was super smooth and tasty.
Round 2: Brussels Sprouts, Spaghetti,, Lamb Neck and Jidori Chicken
Ahhh Brussels, what can’t you do? And thank you for the nasty Brussels from my childhood being gone. Gone, nasty veggie, GONE. Now I cook the hell out of some Brussels. And thank you Ink for also cooking the hell out of those Brussels (in a good way) They came in a house-cured lardo, apple and covered in pig ears!!!! Pig? with Brussels? Well that’s nothing new, but they hit it out of the park Again! The pig ears were like little julienned pieces that were fried and plopped on top. The flavors in the dish itself were a big big hit. The development of flavors were fantastic. The lardo and cooked down Brussels were so easy to wolf down. Which we did. Should of got two of this dish. We voted it a 9 out 10.
The Spaghetti. We give them big props for doing a giant squid spaghetti. But the flavors weren’t spot on, and it was a bit too watery. I enjoyed it, well I am Italian and love me some squid. But it didn’t knock my socks off, nor anyone at the table. We gave it a 6 out of 10. It had squash, hazelnut-ink pesto and piment d’espelette. Definitely not your grandma’s spaghetti. But not one you’d go back for.
Lamb Neck. Yes, Lamb Neck! Lamb……Neck……….. Two words I would not of necessarily put together. Or drooled over. Another hit! OUT OF THE PARK. Thank you Michael. So good. So so good. It had a chickpea poutine, yogurt curds and a chive puree. Seriously, this was so unexpected. The poutine was amazing. A fried piece of super delicate deliciousness. I mean sooo good. The neck was hidden under everything else and was so tender and tasty, I could of eaten two more plates of it. And the yogurt had an almost cheesy consistency. A great component. We gave yet another 9 out of 10. Yep that good.
JIDORI CHICKEN Basically a modern day crazy mash up of chicken and waffles!!! FUCK! sorry. I loved this dish. One of my favorites. Not every-one’s, but one of mine. It only got 8, but I had it higher. The chicken was so tender and soft and flavorful. I would venture to say it was sous vide. It was that soft and thoroughly done. Basically perfect. A perfect piece of meat. And the waffle, get the heck out. It was a wafer thin, almost cracker like waffle. And somewhere in there, with the chicken and waffle was a hint of real maple. And then drizzled around the plate was a hot sauce that I could of had a plate of myself. And the piece de resistance was a mascarpone sliver of cheesy goodness on top. It was like nothing I’ve ever had before.
And for our final courses, Josh picked up an Italian. Rosso Montefalco 2007, Scacciadiavoli. A great great finish. Hearty and tasty. Perfect for our meaty meat dishes coming up.
Coming next was Octopus, Skate Wing, Pork Cheeks and Veal Sweetbreads. Awesomeness. Pure perfection. Thank You again Ink. As you read this, we are planning our next gastric attack on the restaurant.
Now if we thought the first courses had depth and difference of flavors, we were about to get our ass kicked.
Well to not end on a bad note, the Octopus. It was not liked at all, by anyone. It was way overdone and chewy and gummy and not tasty. Not a soul at the table liked it. And I love my some tentacles! The flavors weren’t there, and not much was. I don’t want to dwell on the one miss. It barely rated a 1 out of 10. That is all for that one.
Veal Sweetbreads. I love Sweetbreads. Even after I learned what they were. And if you don’t, I won’t ruin it. Go eat it and see if you like it. A super tasty piece of one of my favorite meats. Again, If you get on my case about veal, so be it. It is a tasty animal. It comes with red curry, nante carrots baked in salt, and fried and sticky rice. Wow. The carrots and the salt were such an interesting blend. And the curry was so so so barely there, but added lots of flavor. Added with the salted carrots it Played off the veal very very nice. And the rice was an out of left field element we all loved. A 9 out of 10.
Pork Cheeks. If I’m not eating veal, give me Pork. It was actually one of the simpliest dishes, but most flavorful. A great blending of different flavors. It was served in a charcoal oil with macaroni and cheese and leeks. So, the mac and cheese was one large pasta tube, like a super long rigatoni filled with baked cheese. I shit you not. I would never lie about cheese. This did nearly cause a fight. The pork was beyond perfectly done and that mac n cheese made us forget we had to share. The flavors, the flavors, the flavors. Amazing. A 9.5 out of 10.
Skate Wing. With mushroom oatmeal, matsutake and a brown butter-mushroom broth. 10 out of 10!!!! A ten! 10!! WOW! I don’t even know where to begin. This dish was super duper perfect. A stunning presentation and packed with layer after layer of amazing flavors. I mean, I can’t even put into words. Perfection.
We got the peanut butter, milk chocolate, coconut and banana. The Apple, creme caramel, burnt wood sabayon and walnut. And also the chocolate, coffee and spice.
Wow. What a finish. I’ve used all my analagies. They were all great. The chocolate was like a mousse that was tasty beyond belief. The whole dish was good, but not great. I would of just taken a big bowl of chocolate.
The Peanut butter was also quite tasty. One not to be missed. You can never ever do wrong with PB and chocolate. The depths of flavor were super.
Now, the apple. I didn’t care to get it. And somehow Steve our waiter talked us into getting two. And thank you! Those two plates disappeared. That burnt wood flavor gave it an almost bacon like flavor. Wow (again) Loved Loved Loved it.
And then the pastry chef sent us out an extra course. Off the menu and fantastic. But alas I’m sorry and we wolfed it down without me getting a full description. But thank you! It was really, really good. I remember frozen slices/chips of chocolate. A good solid dish.
Thank You Ink
We Will Be Back Soon.
Oh YA, and one more totally awesome thing about the restaurant is the price. All the smaller plates are 10-16 dollars and mains, or the bigger dishes are 18-24 dollars. For the overall experience from the staff, to the wine, to the food, to the attention to detail, like swapping out silverware and dishes when they are overly used. For the six of us, with tax was only 100.00 each. Now I know that is a bit steep for some people, but for an experience like this, it’s worth every dollar!!