1104 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Chef Josiah Citrin
Dinner only Tuesday through Saturday
I have never seen bread service precede the amuse gueule. Or all of the stemware for the next 5-6 courses being laid out in front of me in advance for the wine pairing as though I was going to play glasses. 3 hour tasting menu? They can rip through it in 90 minutes (the stemware efficiency must be helping).
I thought I had a salty palate, but I was craving water as much as wine based on the aggressive seasoning in most of the dishes (although I did still enjoy the saltiness in the Normandy butter).
Don't tell me that white truffles are in season in early October, charge $120 for the supplement (OMG salty much?), and then present out-of-season black truffles studded all over the sauce (having said that, in an earlier course, the nicely hot eggplant-rosemary veloute with the cold black truffle creme quenelle was a surprising and tasty temperature and flavor contrast; I am so glad I did not listen to the captain instructing me to mix it all up before eating). That truffle egg supplement was also a visual disaster -- although it was interesting to experience essentially a savory Ile Flotant with a runny yolk in the middle.
Foie terrine was flawless, and so was the caviar egg (but I kept thinking of Jon Favreau's Chef movie as I was eating it; I actually enjoyed these classic French dishes).
Chawan mushi on the other hand. Sigh. I know that the chef de cuisine is Japanese, and the matsutake mushrooms and spinach components were well-prepared, but the texture of the custard was grainy and too firm (instead of the correct consistency of silken tofu or super-soft and jiggly panna cotta). Chawan mushi also needs a layer of broth on top, and needs to be scalding hot, neither of which happened here.
The Santa Barbara spot prawn was overcooked; the cod was undercooked (and the over-salted lobster bisque flavored broth, the hollandaise rouille, decorative calamari, and the chewy fish skin-- do I even need to describe it further? what a trainwreck!); and the duck was under-rendered and this time, severely undersalted.
The bubblegum macaron, however, was well-executed if you can get over the swallowing chewing gum sensation of eating bubblegum flavor.
Not to mention, man, do Los Angeles people like to namedrop. Servers and diners alike.
Places I would go back to eat (places in wine country listed separately) *Closed 1550 Hyde * 1601 Bar & Kitchen 1760 Polk 231 ...
Places I would go back to eat *Closed Geno's Steaks Pat's King of Steaks Morimoto Vetri I am not really certain whether there...