Tag Archives: Ink

Indelible Ink

The opening of Ink in West Hollywood two weeks ago has been one of the most eagerly anticipated restaurant openings in the country. Ink is the creation of Michael Voltaggio, the heavily tatted and touted bad-ass winner of season six of Top Chef and former chef at The Dining Room in the venerable Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. In August, Voltaggio opened a small sandwich shop called ink.sack a few doors down from Ink (read my review here), which I have fallen in love with and frequented over the past several weeks, so I was more excited than ever to try Ink. Against all odds, I was able to score an 8pm reservation for a party of four last Saturday night.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is one of frenetic excitement. The decor is modern and the restaurant is dimly lit. There is an “omakase” bar on one side which accommodates eight people per night. There is a boisterous cocktail bar which serves creative and delicious libations and is presided over by talented mixologist Devon Espinosa, who served as chief wingman to molecular gastronomist Marcel Vigneron on the short-lived Syfy TV series Marcel’s Quatum Kitchen. And most notably, there is an open kitchen were you can see the chefs hard at work, including Voltaggio who works on the line with his staff.

The menu at Ink consists entirely of small plates; American tapas which Voltaggio describes as “modern Los Angeles cuisine” inspired by the myriad of cultures that make up LA. On the waiter’s recommendation, we ordered the whole menu — literally! Over the course of two and half hours, we were treated to a procession of beautiful, creative, cerebral and perfectly executed dishes. The flavor profiles were complex and interesting, although I thought some combinations worked better than others. My favorites were the Beef Tartare (with Horseradish, Hearts of Palm and Sea Bean Chimchurri), the Halibut Cheeks (with Red Pepper Dashi, Shishito Peppers and Kelp Pasta), the Berkshire Pork Tenderloin (with Charcoal Crust, Macaroni & Cheese and Leeks) and the “Spaghetti” (which was actually giant squid prepared to look like spaghetti, accompanied by squash, hazelnut-ink pesto and piment d’Espilette). Each of these were incredible! My least favorite dishes were the Dungeness Crab (with Smoked Mayo and Bok Choy “Kimchi”) and the Quail (with Banana Polenta, Beet Juice and Sorrel Salad), although I thought they were two of the most beautiful dishes. The desserts were equally creative, fun and delicious, with the stand-out being a dessert of Apple, Creme Caramel, Burnt Wood Sabayon and Walnuts, which was unlike anything I have ever had before.

Ink is located at 8360 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles (in West Hollywood).

Beef Tartare with Horseradish, Hearts of Palm and Sea Bean Chimichurri

Dungeness Crab with Smoked Mayo and Bok Choy "Kimchi"

Octopus with Buttered Popcorn, Piquillo Pepper and Spinich

Bay Scallops with Cream of Dehydrated Potato, Potato Skins and Buttermilk-Shellfish Broth

Quail with Banana Polenta, Beet Juice and Sorrel Salad

Berkshire Pork Tenderloin with Charcoal Crus, Macaroni and Cheese and Leeks

Veal Cheek with Red Curry, Nante Carrots Baked in Salt and Fried Sticky Rice

Grapefruit Curd, Avocado, Cilantro Sorbet and Charred Maple-Lime

A boisterous and fun atmosphere

ink. on Urbanspoon


Filed under West Hollywood

Sack It To Me!

Los Angeles foodies have been eagerly awaiting the opening of ink, the new restaurant by uber-talented, bad-ass Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio. While ink should finally open next month, Voltaggio surprised everyone recently by opening a gourmet sandwich counter called ink.sack a few doors down from his soon-to-debut fine dining restaurant on Melrose. I’ve been to ink.sack a couple times since it opened less than two weeks ago and I am already a huge fan. The sandwiches are inexpensive but small, so you need to order at least two (I could easily polish off three) to make a meal. This is a great feature because even if you go there alone, you’re able to try different things without making a pig of yourself.

The seven sandwiches on the menu are what you would expect from Voltaggio; they’re inventive, complex and fun. I’ve tried all of them (I have a duty to my blog readers, right?) and I liked all of them, although some more than others. My favorites are the Maple-Pepper Turkey Melt, a sweet and savory sandwich which includes Camembert, Mustarda (candied fruit in a mustard flavored syrup) and arugula, and The Jose Andres aka “The Spanish Godfather,” which is named after the awesome chef of The Bazaar and includes Serrano, Chorizo, Lomo and Manchego. These sandwiches are must-haves. I also loved the messy but yummy, sushi-inspired Spicy Tuna with Miso-Cured Albacore and Sriacha Mayo, as well as Voltaggio’s take on a Vietnamese Bahn Mi, which was made with pork cheeks, chicharrones (fried pork rinds) and pickled vegetables. Ink.sack’s version of a classic Ruben is made with corned beef tongue, so when you taste it, it tastes you back (sorry; I couldn’t resist). The “Ruben” is also made with Appenzeller cheese, kraut and Russian dressing and I thought it was very good. My least favorites were the Cold Fried Chicken with house-made ranch cheese and the C.L.T., which is Voltaggio’s version of a B.L.T., made with chicken liver mousse, curried fried chicken skin, lettuce and tomato.

Whether you eat in (there is very limited seating) or take-out, sandwiches are given to you in a black paper bag with your name written on it. Make sure to order the salt, pepper and vinegar potato chips to go with your sandwich. Also worth getting is the refreshing “Street Fruit” (pineapple, jicama, mango and melon mixed with chile and lemon juice) or the watermelon with sriacha and lime. They also have Mexican chocolate chip cookies and a good selection of gourmet sodas.

Ink.sack is located at 8360 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles (in West Hollywood).

Sack Lunch

Chicken Liver Mousse and Curried Chicken Skin Sandwich

Beef Tongue "Ruben" Sandwich

Cold Fried Chicken Sandwich

Spicy Tuna Sandwich: messy but good

House-made Salt, Pepper & Vinegar Potato Chips

ink sack on Urbanspoon


Filed under West Hollywood