Tuesday, March 8, 2011

LA's "Haute" Asian Cuisine? Lukshon vs WP24 vs Red Medicine, Part 2: WP24

High end Chinese food is not a new venture for the Wolfgang Puck empire, and I still love the Shanghai lobster curry at Chinois on Main (the one in Vegas is not as good), but Puck wanted to go higher. To the 24th floor of the new Ritz Carlton in downtown LA, to be exact.

While I haven't tried the dining room menu at WP24, I did get a tasting of their bar menu with small plates ranging $12-14 and sushi rolls ranging $14-18. No, not cheap, but were you expecting it to be?

While I didn't love everything, I was actually pretty impressed at the quality of the dumplings here. The one thing I fear most about bad dumplings is a thick, tough skin, but I encountered no such thing here.

Chinese Crystal Dumplings (King Crab,  Shrimp, Kurobuta Pork) $12

WP24's Crystal Dumplings
The skin here was actually tender, and the dumpling was filled with quality ingredients. The sauce wasn't shy of spice.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

LA's "Haute" Asian Cuisine? Lukshon vs WP24 vs Red Medicine, Part 1: Lukshon

While high-end Asian restaurants are nothing new, they seem to be popping up even more than usual in Los Angeles lately. Some of them are branching out towards the Southeast Asian cuisine, as well. The openings of WP24, Red Medicine, and Lukshon in the past year were some of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings in town. LAist's samkimsamkim suggested I do a post about all of them. Well, I guess I should, so here's a look at these three restaurants.

First, Lukshon. Sang Yoon gained his fame after opening Father's Office, and there was much excitement surrounding Lukshon, which recently opened two doors down from the 2nd FO in Culver City. Reservations fill up quickly, and don't bother walking in when it rains as they lose 1/3 of their seating area.

My meal started out strong with the Baby Monterey squid, chiang mai pork sausage, candlenut, mint, rau ram ($15)

Sausage-Stuffed Squid
Tender yet chewy squid, stuffed to the gills with spicy and juicy sausage, and topped with small pieces of fried calamari. This one's a must-try.

Foie Gras ganache, carob, ceylon cinnamon, tamarind gastrique, almond, puffed rice ($16)
I liked the tamarind here, but it's pretty hard to enjoy once the gastrique is gone - granted my companion would only eat half of a cube. I felt like I needed some toast.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Al Fresco Dining: Piazza at Zucca Ristorante (Downtown Los Angeles)

Shaved ParmesanOutdoors or patio dining area is pretty common for LA restaurants, but what about a restaurant where the outdoor area is now a whole other restaurant? Patina Group's Zucca Ristorante in downtown LA recently launched its outdoors dining area as Piazza, Zucca's more casual, inexpensive (prices range from $6-12) sister restaurant featuring a small but solid menu of antipasti, pizzettes, and pastas.

Lentil Soup
We started our dinner with the soup of the day: black lentil soup with bacon strip ($6),
The hearty bowl of soup is warming and filling on a cold night. It was flavorful without being too salty. The crunch of the bacon strip was a nice touch.

Next, a board of Prosciutto crudo, mozzarella e olive (parma ham, burrata, marinated olives) - $8
Burrata and Ham
We devoured the creamy burrata immediately and could've easily had another serving! The ham was fatty and flavorful, but I didn't get how the olives are supposed to interplay with the others.

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