Tag Archives: tasting menus los angeles

Zen and the Art of Fine Dining

One thing that you may not know about me is that I’m really into meditation. Between all the food adventures, I’m taking sound baths, silently repeating mantras, and aligning my chakras.

Auburn, an upscale restaurant which opened this past year in Hollywood, has a simple yet refined elegance that appeals to my zen-loving self. The modern decor is minimal with white walls, lots of natural light, and beautiful hand-crafted blonde wood furniture with clean lines.

The menu of New American cuisine lists twelve small plates of roughly equal size, from which you can select either four, six or nine courses with optional wine pairing for your own custom-designed tasting experience. Chef Eric Bost’s dishes are each beautifully composed and perfectly balanced, creating a blissful sense gastronomic harmony.

My favorites are the incredible Epoisses Cheese and Sunchokes with Seeds and Flowers and the superb Sonoma Duck Aged in Kogi with Mustard Greens and Roasted Figs. And while a dessert selection is certainly optional, I wouldn’t miss Pastry Chef Dyan Ng’s spectacularly tart and sweet Yogurt with Mushroom Caramel.

Auburn is located at 6703 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles (in Hollywood). Namaste.

Puffed Pig Ears
Corn Tartlet with Rye and Corn Custard
Boule with Avocado Butter
Santa Barbara Abalone with Mitsutake Mushrooms, Kabocha Squash, and Broth of Bone Marrow and Roasted Chicken
HIramasa Crudo with Citrus Fern, Celery, Purple Radish, Blackberry and Fingerlime
Eggplant charred in the hearth with Puffed Grains, Black Garlic, Almonds and Onion Essence
Sonoma Duck aged in Koji with Mustard Greens and Roasted Figs
30 Day Dry-Aged Rib Eye with Oxtail, Turnips, Nori, Charred Grapes and Red Wine
Epoisses Cheese and Sunchokes with Seeds and Flowers
Yogurt with Mushroom Caramel
Candied Rhubarb

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Filed under Hollywood

Something to Talk About


Hidden behind a door marked only with the letter “K” on the second level of the Third Street Promenade food court, an exciting adventure is being had by foodies. One of Chicago’s top chefs, Dave Beran, has relocated to LA and opened an intimate restaurant that serves only a tasting menu of approximately 18 course of New American cuisine with French and Japanese influences. The menu completely changes every three months with only a single dish linking each quarterly menu to the next.

The experience each night is akin to storytelling as Beran weaves an epic culinary tale that progresses through the seasons of the year with many surprises along the way. The attention to detail at Dialogue is staggering and while not every dish is a standout, many are excellent and all are interesting and thoughtful. This is a meal best appreciated by thinking about it as a whole rather than focusing too much on any of its many small parts.

You will need to purchase a ticket for this adventure rather than secure a traditional reservation. Gastronomic excellence of this nature never comes cheap and this experience will cost you between $175 and $200 plus tax (all service charges are included in the ticket price), but not including optional wine pairing for an additional $125-175 plus tax. Although there are a few tables in the restaurant, my recommendation is to go with just one other person and sit at the bar where you can converse with Beran as he and his staff compose each dish right in front of you. This kind of experience makes it well worth the splurge.

Dialogue is located at 1315 Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

Oyster Leaf with Lychee Mignonette

Spring Lamb, Green Blueberry, Nasfurtium

Frosted Geranium Leaf

Hamachi in Monochrome

Perilla, Fermented Cauliflower, Comma Song

Earl Grey, Pine Nut, Rose

Strawberry Sphere

Golden Osetra Caviar, Leek Fondue, Smoke

Sea Kelp, braised and fried

Sour Cherry Surprise

Fermented Black Bean, Watermelon Radish, Cocoa Nib

Spot Prawn, Long Bean, Chocolate Mint

Sun Gold Tomato and Pork Belly

Thirty Day Dry-aged Ribeye and Charred Watermelon

Foie Gras Acorn and Barrel-aged Quine Soda

Parsnip-Chai Pie

Chestnut, Malt, Honeycrisp

Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwich

Located in a secret room…

…in the Third Street Promenade food court.

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Filed under Santa Monica

I Came, Orsa, I Conquered.

Uni Risotto

There’s a state of consciousness that I refer to as “aesthetic bliss.” It’s when one or more of your senses is completely enraptured as a result of a highbrow pursuit. It’s the feeling you get while listening to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, taking in the Bolshoi Ballet’s Swan Lake at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, or viewing a Kandinsky exhibit at LACMA. The food version of this is Orsa & Winston, the dining experience from local superstar chef Josef Centeno.

Centeno is the creative talent behind awesome hipster eateries Bäco Mercat and Bar Ama, as well as the former chef of Lazy Ox Canteen. With Orsa & Winston, Centeno now has a more sophisticated environment to show off his mad skills. The menu has you select from either a five or eight course seasonal tasting menu (or with a 72 hour advance reservation, you can truly indulge and opt for the “Super-Omakase” of more than 20 courses). All come with optional wine pairings, as well as optional supplemental dishes. Each tasting menu is a procession of beautiful, delectable and perfectly executed small plates to experience and savor.

Needless to say, such aesthetic bliss is not inexpensive. But for a special occasion or when you just want to treat yourself to an evening of exceptional food and wine, Orsa & Winston is worth the splurge.

Orsa & Winston is located at 122 W. 4th Street, Los Angeles (Downtown).

Buttermilk and Summer Corn Soup

Buttermilk and Summer Corn Soup


Smoked Sockeye Salmon Crudo

Smoked Sockeye Salmon Crudo


"Breakfast in a Shell" (Coddled Egg, Maple Syrup, Pancetta, Semolina and Balsamic Whipped Cream)

“Breakfast in a Shell” (Coddled Egg, Maple Syrup, Pancetta, Semolina and Balsamic Whipped Cream)


Milk Bread Focaccia

Milk Bread Focaccia with Parsley, Parmigiano and Speck


Braised Lamb Belly with Cranberry Beans, Hericot Vert and Nectarine Bustarda

Braised Lamb Belly with Cranberry Beans, Hericot Vert and Nectarine Bustarda


Melon Granita topped with Huckleberry and Lavender Mint

Melon Granita topped with Huckleberry and Lavender Mint


Chocolate Caramel Crostada with Candied Banana, served with Banana Rum Ice Cream and Peanut Toffee

Chocolate Caramel Crostada with Candied Banana, served with Banana Rum Ice Cream and Peanut Toffee


Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread Cookies


Modern and minimalist decor

Modern and minimalist decor


On a cool street downtown

In the Old Bank District downtown



Orsa & Winston on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Downtown

Saam I Aam


Located in a clandestine room behind an unmarked door at the rear of The Bazaar in the SLS Hotel, Saam offers one of the best and most exciting dining experiences in the city. Here, super-star chef José Andrés has crafted a tasting menu of approximately 22 small plates of whimsy and gastronomical delight, almost all of which do not appear on the menu at The Bazaar. With so many courses, the meal takes around 3 1/2 hours to complete. Service is top-notch; among the best I’ve ever experienced. Of course Saam is not inexpensive. The cost is $120 per person plus tax, tip, optional wine pairing ($100) and optional shaved truffles ($35-$50 per course). But as with The French Laundry, this is not just a meal. It’s an evening of entertainment; a special and unique experience.

Chef Andrés, who trained at the legendary El Bulli in Barcelona, is incredibly creative and utilizes molecular gastronomy and other playful techniques to surprise and wow his diners. There are scallops masquerading as carrots, spherified mozzerella balls which instantly liquify in your mouth, a Vietnamese Bahn Mi sandwich which has been elevated both literally and figuratively, and a Spanish street food favorite that has been turned inside-out. It’s all really delicious too. One of the high points of the meal is “Dragon’s Breath Popcorn,” a puffed corn cake that is immersed in liquid nitrogen at your table, causing smoke to come out of your nose and mouth when you eat it. The desserts are excellent also, especially the frozen Apricot Timbale with Amaretto, and there is a gift of chocolates to take home.

Saam is located in the SLS Hotel at 465 S. La Cienega, Los Aneles (Mid-City near Beverly Hills and West Hollywood). If you enjoy Consuming LA, please subscribe, like me on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter at the top right of this page. And please forward to your friends!

Apple Meringue with Blue Cheese

 

Spicy Handroll

 

Seabeans in Tempura

 

Oyster and Jambon

 

Jose’s Combination

 

Brussels Sprouts

 

Patatas Bravas

 

Chicken Skin & Cigala

 

Not Your Everyday Caprese

 

Crispy Nigiri

 

Uni & Eel

Chipirones

 

Banh Mi

 

Carrot or Scallop

 

Mirugai

 

Mushroom & Duck Liver

 

Dessert Desert

Japanese Baby Peaches

Dragon’s Breath Popcorn

 

Apricot Timbale with Amaretto

 

Sexy Little Sweets

 

Cotton Candy Cocktails

 

Gifts to take home!

 

Located in a clandestine room behind Bazaar


SAAM at The Bazaar on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Mid-City, West Hollywood

Seafood Splendor

Providence is the most elegant, sophisticated and (along with The Bazaar) most inventive restaurant in Los Angeles. It has won all kinds of awards including two Michelin stars. Unfortunately, the high price tag prevents most of us from eating there regularly. But if you can afford it and need a restaurant to impress an important client or celebrate a special anniversary, or if you simply want to splurge and enjoy one of the best fine-dining meals you’ve ever eaten in LA, this is the place. The decor is elegant but not stuffy; minimal yet comfortable. There is an awesome wine list and the service (led by charming maitre d’ and co-owner Donato Poto) is impeccable. The food is exceptional and exciting. Each dish is a work of art.  Simply put: this is a place where magic happens.

Chef Michael Cimarusti will start your meal out with a bit of complimentary molecular gastronomy; a plate of amuse bouches which on my last visit included a mojito gelee, a screwdriver cocktail gelatin bubble, a gruyere cheese puff, and a shooter of parsnip with port reduction on the bottom. The bread, which they will replenish throughout your meal, is excellent here, especially my favorite, a bacon brioche. The main theme at Providence is seafood and they serve some of the best and most beautiful seafood concoctions you will ever eat. I recommend ordering the tasting menu and putting yourself in Chef Cimarusti’s hands. However, if you instead decide to order specific items, make sure to get the Spot Prawns, which are baked in a block of salt and prepared tableside. I also recommend Bobby’s Block Island Scallops with Buckwheat, Dashi and Cabbage and the Spaghetti all Chitarra with Santa Barbara Sea Urchin and Green Onions. The menu is not strictly limited to seafood. If it’s available, I always order the Foie Gras Ravioli with Aromatics and Parmesan Black Truffle; it’s extraordinary. I highly recommend getting the wine pairing (remember, you’re splurging, so don’t hold back). Finally, make sure to save room for dessert. Adrian Vasquez is one of the top pastry chefs in LA; a true genius with sweets. Some of my recent favorites are his “Simple Apple Tart” with Hazelnuts, Cinnamon Calvados Ice Cream and Green Apple Sorbet and his Pumpkin Polenta with Candied Pecans, Mascarpone and Maple Syrup.  Enjoy!

Providence is located at 5955 Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles (on the border between Hollywood and Hancock Park; near Larchmont).

Quartet of cocktail-inspired amuse bouches

Quartet of cocktail-inspired amuse bouches

Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Santa Barbara Sea Urchin and Green Onions

Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Santa Barbara Sea Urchin and Green Onions

Spot prawns baked in salt and prepared tableside

Spot prawns baked in salt and prepared tableside

Foie Gras Ravioli with aromatics and parmesan black truffle

Foie Gras Ravioli with aromatics and parmesan black truffle

Pumpkin Polenta with candied pecans, mascarpone and maple syrup

Pumpkin Polenta with candied pecans, mascarpone and maple syrup

"Simple Apple Tart" with hazelnuts, cinnamon calvados ice cream and green apple sorbet

“Simple Apple Tart” with hazelnuts, cinnamon calvados ice cream and green apple sorbet

Comfortable and Elegant

Comfortable and Elegant


Providence on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Hancock Park, Hollywood, Larchmont, Mid-City