Showing posts with label dineLA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dineLA. Show all posts

Friday, January 30, 2009

DineLA 09: The Foundry on Melrose, Dinner

This past Sunday I decided to take advantage of the dineLA deal and try out The Foundry on Melrose for the first time. The Foundry has a nice covered and heated outdoor seating (although the heater was blasting, making it a tad too warm).

Apparently, though, The Foundry has a prix-fixe menu on Sundays for $39 for 3-courses or $49 for 4-courses. This made us feel a bit ripped off by the whole dineLA deal - didn't feel like such a deal after all. The 3-course menu was almost the same as the dineLA's $44 menu except for the options of Pork Belly as appetizer (available in the 4-course) and the bread pudding for dessert.

Hmm. The pork belly and bread pudding do sound appetizing though. In the end we decided to get a couple of dineLA menu and a couple of Sunday 3-course menu and share.

They started us off with some bread amuse bouche with tomato sauce and parmesan.
The bread is pretty dense, making it quite a heavy amuse bouche.

As for the appetizer, I managed to taste the:
Option #1 (not in any order): Calamari "a la Plancha" - Olive Tapenade, Grapefruit, Piquillo Peppers
This roasted calamary was done quite well. Was not overcooked and had a nice texture to it. Light and crisp, and the combination with grapefruit makes this dish quite refreshing.

On the other end of the spectrum is Option #2: Crispy Pork Belly - Grapes, Almonds, Eggplant
This might be the best dish of the night (I guess it's worth the extra $5-$10 on top of the Sunday menu to get this?). Crispy and tender without beeing too fat-laden. Really liked the combination with the grapes as the sweet/sour notes help cut the fattiness of the belleh.

As for the entree, I went with the Entree Option #1: Hangar Steak - Crispy Fingerlings, Mushrooms, Anchovy Butter
Steak was cooked medium rare - it was still a bit tough because it is hangar steak. It goes well with the mushroom, but it was also served with some sort of mushroom puree that most of my friends didn't like (it gives them a weird aftertaste).

Entree Option #2: Crispy Skin Salmon - Crushed Potato, Orange, Fennel
The was a nice dish. The salmon was not overcooked and was pretty juicy - skin was nice and crispy. The fennel was good by itself and in combination with the fish.

Entree option #3: Chorizo Crusted Jidori Chicken - Mashed Plantain, Avocado Citrus Salad
I didn't get to taste this, but my friends seem to enjoy it and one said that it was the best of the entrees.

Dessert #1: Spiced Doughnuts - Pineapple Saffron Sauce, Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce
Thought this was okay. They were good, but nothing special. They are a bit on the dense side ( I prefer Grace's donuts).

Dessert Option #2: Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding - Rum Raisin Ice Cream
Definitely the best option for dessert. The bread pudding is warm, rich and moist.

Option #3 was the creme brulee which apparently was not really a creme brulee after all. Did not get to try this, though.

I thought the meal was pretty solid, although the service was quite a bit slow (the desserts took quite some time to be served). Also, with their existing Sunday prix-fixe menus, I'm not convinced dineLA is a good deal for people to try out this restaurant.

7465 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, 90046

The Foundry On Melrose on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Don't Forget to Reserve: DineLA Restaurant Week

Before I forget again, dineLA week is coming up January25-30, Feb 1-6, so make your reservations soon!

This year's setup is a bit different as restaurants are classified into three price tiers.
Check out the prices and participating restaurants+menus on their website:

The ones I have my eyes on this year is BLT Steak, Water Grill, Dining Room at The Langham, and also perhaps Citrus on Social and The Foundry on Melrose. Royal/T's menu for lunch would also be a good deal.

You can check out my review from last year on Asia de Cuba, Grace, Red Seven, Luna Park, Chaya Brasserie, Noe at the Omni, Circa55, and Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Beverly Hills (they're all participating again this year).
Man I went to a lot!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

DineLA 08: Ruth's Chris Steakhouse

My friend convinced me to go with her to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Beverly Hills on the last dineLA night. I had read on Chowhound that the dineLA menu is actually a good deal, so I gave it a try.

All four of us ordered the Ahi Tuna for appetizer:

I was pleasantly surprised by the generous portion. The dish itself was not at all bad. The fish was pretty good - it was not the freshest but not bad by any means. I was expecting three slices like what I got at other places for dineLA.

Got the petite filet mignon, medium rare. Someone had warned me that steaks at Ruth Chris is drizzled with lots of butter, and so it was.

The meat was medium rare, not overcooked, but it was rather fatty - it was not the best quality meat. My piece had too much fat for my taste, my friends' were supposedly better.

The portion of the side was also very generous (it was a regular sized side). We had both the creamed spinach and mashed potato. The mashed potato was fairly standard. I liked the creamed spinach more.

I really like bread pudding, so I opted for that instead of the chocolate sin tart (which also looked very tempting).

The bread pudding had a crunchy crust and is moist on the inside. Overall I liked it, it was rich and well done. I took it home and heated it up the next day - it was better then in my opinion, since it's warm and moist :)

I also tried a bite of the chocolate cake.

I really liked the chocolate cake. It was very rich and dark. I loved the espresso taste.

Overall, I thought it really was a good value for the dineLA price, but I probably wouldn't go back on a regular day. The quality of the meat that I got was not that great.

Ruth's Chris Steak House
224 South Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Ruth's Chris Steak House on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

DineLA 08: Red Seven

We tried Red Seven dineLA for a quick lunch on our way out. The restaurant is inside the Pacific Design Center. We did not know that at first so it took a while to find the restaurant.

The furnitures used in the restaurant were very nice, probably because of where they are located - I really like the swiveling chairs they had.

Both me and my friend ordered the hamachi for appetizer.

The hamachi was good, like standard hamachi dishes you find in most fusion restaurant these days. The portions were not bad, which I am happy with for $22 3-course meal.

We decided to get the burger and the butterfish to split.
The Kobe burger was pretty big and came open-faced.

I ordered it medium rare and that's the way it came. It was a pretty thick patty and was enjoyable. The bun, sauce and pickles were good.

The butterfish portion, on the other hand, was really small.

It was only two small pieces, and also small serving of the sides. Although we really enjoyed this dish - the sauce on the fish, the tenderness and moistness of the fish, and the noodles were excellent, the portion left us wanting.

I ordered the mango pudding for dessert.

This was very well-done (although the mango topping on top were rather sour - but I'm used to very2 sweet mangoes from growing up near the equator).

My friend ordered the almond roca samosas.

I thought this was just okay. They should have made the pastry crispier, then it would have been pretty good. The filling is also just okay. Definitely go for the mango pudding for dessert.

Red Seven
Pacific Design Center
700 N. San Vicente Blvd.,
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Red Seven Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 4, 2008

DineLA 08: Noe at the Omni

The menu at Noe at the Omni for the dineLA was enticing, with black truffles and foie gras, so we went to try it out.

With the bread came regular butter and some truffle butter. We all went for the truffle butter, which had a nice smell and taste of black truffles to it. No one touched the regular butter. We liked the truffle butter and thought it was a nice and generous touch by the restaurant.

Then came a complementary amuse bouche: tuna tartar.

A bit spicy but had a nice flavor and the fish tasted fresh.

The potato with winter truffle soup was very very good. I'm partial to creamy potato soup and this one is one of the better ones. They also put a generous amount of black truffles both in the soup and in the shavings.

Next was the hen roulade with foie gras.

This dish was a bit disappointing. Although the chicken was tender, moist and tasty and the roulade overall was good, I did not see any foie gras and didn't really taste any either.

Next is the berry cobbler with chimay ice cream for dessert.

The cobbler was good although for me it was more "interesting" than good. It had a strange taste, particularly for a cobbler ... the ice cream was good though.

The service was good: nothing special but nothing to complain about either.

We did like the food there, although normally it would be expensive. The same menu but with both appetizers instead of just 1 was listed for $60. This is too expensive in my opinion, especially if it was the same hen roulade with not enough foie gras to taste.

Food: 8/10
Regular Price: 7/10
Service: 7/10

Noe at the Omni Los Angeles
251 S Olive St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

NoƩ Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 3, 2008

DineLA 08: Chaya Brasserie

We went to Chaya Brasserie for the dineLA menu. There were three of us and it was the first time for all of us.
Before proceeding with the dineLA menu, one of my friends ordered the seared foie gras with black truffle mac and cheese:

After one bite of this, the rest of us decided to order another one to share. The mac and cheese was excellent and you can really smell the black truffles! The seared foie gras was great (although not the best ever). The thing is though is that eating both the foie gras and the mac and cheese together were strange and personally I don't think they complement each other. Individually, however, they were excellent.

Now, on to the dineLA menu: Everyone ordered the lobster ravioli.

The sauce was good, but all in all the dish was just okay. The lobster inside the ravioli was not particularly good. Rather flavorless, in fact.

Next up is the entree. We got one of the fish and two shortribs to share.
The fish was flavorful, but the rice even more so.

This was a pretty good dish. The fish was not as dry as it seems and was in fact quite moist.

The short ribs though, in our opinion, was by far better.

I am partial to short ribs to begin with, and this one is tender and moist. To top it off, the risotto with champignon and black truffle oil was excellent. I just love that truffle smell. Mmmm.

For both entree, although we really liked them, we noted that the rice/risotto is more flavorful than the main meat/fish. If you eat them together, they tend to overpower the meat/fish.

The dessert for the prix fixe was pretty simple, nothing particularly worth noting. Got the ice cream cookie sandwich and the gelato. They were good and end the meal nicely, but nothing special.

The service was good throughout the night. They changed the gelato flavor of the day in the middle, and when I got the green tea instead of the banana walnut, I made an unhappy face, so the waitress brought me the other one also. I ended with two scoops of gelato now.

If I have to sum it up, I enjoyed the meal. The food was very good although their combination of sides and main meat do not really go well together. But I wouldn't give up any of the sides ... I just want to eat them individually.

Food: 8/10
Service: 8.5/10

Chaya Brasserie Beverly Hills
8741 Alden Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Chaya Brasserie on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 1, 2008

DineLA 08: Circa 55

Running out of options, we decided to try Circa55 since you can't really go wrong with 10 oz new york steak for dinner. I just got back from the dentist, so I wasn't really eating that night, but I'll report on what my friends had.

The starter was a crab cake with garlic aioli.

The crab cake was pretty big, and had a lot of crab in it. The garlic aioli was really good.

Then comes the New York steak.

The steak was well prepared, cooked just the way we asked. The blue cheese was really good and a really nice touch for the steak. The only thing was that the mashed potato was cold ...

For dessert one friend has the Journey to Chocolate.

Chocolate sponge cake, which we thought was infused with sage. Good, and unique.
The others were an opera cake (good, like normal), and a chocolate shot thing, which she didn't comment on.

All in all the food was pretty good, and it was a pretty good value for $34.

Circa 55
The Beverly Hilton Hotel
9876 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Circa 55 on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 31, 2008

DineLA 08: Asia de Cuba

We went to Asia de Cuba for lunch today for the dineLA event. 11:30 reservation. The restaurant was empty when we arrived. All in all the food was good, but service sucked.

I got the pulled pork empanadas for starters, which was excellent.

The pulled pork was tasty, and the empanada skin was flavorful and crunchy.

My friend got the lemongrass skewered chicken.

This was not bad but I liked the empanadas much better. The chicken was a bit tough IMO. So I can't eat spicy and this dish was pretty spicy. I ran out of water, but my waitress never came. I raised my hand etc etc finally got the attention of a bus boy. I asked him for water, but he didn't come back with the water for a while while my mouth was burning.

I had the butterfish as the entree.

This was good, fish was tender. Black bean and edamame salad was also very good. I also liked the shishito pepper. (It was like any other miso butterfish, and it was one of the better ones).

My friend got the BBQ chicken and I had a bite.

Chicken was tender and sauce was good. The sticky rice though, my friend claimed was soggy and no good at all.

We had the carrot cake and cuban opera for dessert (no one wanted to get the sorbet so we had 2 opera cakes). We watched as other tables that came after us and finished entrees after us get served desserts first. It seems like they screwed up the order - afterwards they brought us desserts but didn't get the right orders. Either that or our server was just not as attentive as other servers.

Desserts were good, although nothing particularly special.

Asia de Cuba
8440 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, California 90069

Asia de Cuba on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

DineLA 08: Grace

One word: Excellent.

The dineLA experience at Grace does not disappoint. Made reservation for 3 at 7:15 but only 2 of us could make it. They gave us no fuss, seated us immediately. The hostess took my coat for me.
They served us complementary sparkling water. They had additional options available for extra $10 charge such as hamachi for appetizer and wild boar for the entree.

I ordered one Grace Gimlet, which was okay. It got better at the bottom of the glass, not too sure if it's because it wasn't well mixed or just because I was more intoxicated towards the bottom.

I got the spinach and arugula salad bcs I needed some greens. The salad was simple, yet very well done. Goat cheese was yummy.

The other person got the Shrimp Cavatelli, which was very yummy, but the portion was much smaller than the salad.

I didn't dig the peas too much but everything else in the dish was excellent.

I opted to pay $10 extra to get the wild boar with spaetzle and baby bok choy. The waiter informed us it was recommended medium rare which was just perfect for me anyway.

An amazing dish. Meat was very tender and flavorful, the sauce was excellent and so was the spaetzle. The fresh mint leaves just added a great "kick" to it.

The other person ordered the king salmon. The first bite prompted him to say "wow", which does not often happen.

The salmon was medium rare and was just cooked to perfection. Very tender, not dry. One of the best salmon we've ever had. The quinoa and the artichokes go perfectly well with the salmon - the artichokes especially for me. Too bad I was stuffed.

The desserts, of course, was doughnuts (no other choice).

Doughnuts were good, although I didn't think it was really that special. The hot chocolate that came with it was really yummy. Had a bit of spice to it which was excellent. Unfortunately though it came with too much cream and I just mixed it all in, which I regretted later on.

All in all, it was an excellent meal and well worth $34 (well, plus $10 for the boar). The entree portions were regular size, they definitely did not skimp just because of the prix-fixe deal.

Food: 9/10
Service: 9/10

7360 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036-2501

Grace on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

DineLA 08: Luna Park

Yesterday was the dineLA kickoff. It just happened to be Luna Park since Grace was tonight. Wanted to try one of the cheaper menus, and a friend said Luna Park is good, so we made reservation for 8 pm. Got there at 7:58 but the table wasn't ready. We waited at the bar, which was also jam packed and no seat was available. At 8:20 I was getting pretty pissed, we still weren't seated. At 8:23 the hostess came by and apologized, saying that the tables have had their checks for a while but still have not left. Then she offered us the goat cheese fondue on the house. I took it, naturally, and was much happier now.

We were seated soon after, and the goat cheese fondue followed shortly:

The goat cheese was good with a smoky flavor. The bread itself was not bad although nothing special.

Since we've had this on the house, I got the calamari for appetizer. It was an ordinary calamari, although I did like the wasabi dressing. No picture since it looks like a normal breaded calamari dish.

Then I had the pork cutlet.

The cutlet was crispy. Although it was filled with mushroom and gruyere cheese, it was thin. The sauce was sweet and goes well with the cutlet if you take care not to put too much on. The mashed potato was very good.

They were out of the tarts that I had wanted for dessert. We got the smores and the apple pie instead.

The smores was normal, although it was kinda fun. Neither the chocolate nor the crackers were anything special.

I didn't dig the apple pie filling- it reminds me more of the apple pie from McD ... the ice cream, though, was good.

Luna Park
672 S La Brea
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: (323) 934-2110

Luna Park on Urbanspoon

Gourmet Pigs   © 2008. Template Recipes by Emporium Digital