Tuesday, November 4, 2008

XIV Create Your Own Tasting - It's a Learning Curve

Another late Monday night dinner, but I felt like this time god's on my side. The newly opened restaurant XIV is open Mondays until 11 pm, and blogger kevineats has already done a blow by blow review of every single thing on the menu. So I just have to go eat, right? :)

For a place that's been open for only a week, and on a Monday night, XIV is bustling busy. Everyone in there seems to be the clubbing type, of course, but hopefully it was dark enough that I somewhat blended in ...

XIV lets you create your own tasting menu and every dish is priced at $8, and as I learned later this means you should order carefully. The catch - each person on the table has to have the same dishes. In this regard, I like Sona's tasting menu where they give everyone a different dish - lets you try more dishes. Our server was extremely friendly and down to earth - loved her. But the dishes were coming practically in twos which I found weird... My risotto was getting cold as I was eating my salad.

Instead of bread, they serve some Naan with Feta Cheese, and as all have speculated, it's probably because of Michael Mina's middle eastern background.The naan was excellent and the combination with the feta cheese worked extremely well. Each person is given our own dish of naan, and yes, we finished it all.

Our tasting menu started with Foie Gras Terrine with Cranberry gelee on top, cardamom, greek yogurt, flatbread
Great foie gras terrine, and I loved the cranberry gelee on top - nice combination of flavor and texture there. The terrine was dense and smooth.

We also had some salad (not my idea, really *sigh*). The menu read: Heirloom Tomatoes, gem lettuce, avocado, bacon vinaigrette
As you can see, not much heirloom tomatoes there. Baiscally a tiny lettuce salad, for $8 ... Yeah I don't think so. There won't be a second time. The lettuce also wasn't particularly fresh.

I then moved on to a more satisfying "vegetable" dish: Black Truffle Risotto, sweet corn, castelmagno cheese
Great dish - creamy, aromatic. The sweet corn cuts the richness very nicely.

Black Cod, spaghetti squash, matsutake mushroom, foie gras dashi
My favorite dish of the night. The black cod is cooked very, very nicely. The texture is the best I've ever had on a black cod and the flavor is very delicate - amazing. The fish and the dashi goes together perfectly. The spaghetti squash added another layer of texture, and I thought everything worked very well together.

For the red meat we had the Roasted Venison, Onion, Brussel Sprouts, huckleberry
The veal was cooked nicely - medium rare and very tender and flavorful. I also loved the onion and brussel sprouts, although as kevin mentioned, seems superfluous.. The meat itself however, was good but not the best I've had. It wasn't as game-y as I would've liked. That aside, this is one of the better preparations out there.
Also, the portion is a bit on the small side - three small slices of meat. I guess it's only $8.

White Chocolate Cube, orange blossom cream, coriander, pistachio, sake
Drizzled with black sesame sauce. The cube looks like the XIV building itself. Crack it open and you'll find all the pistachio, orange blossom cream etc goodness inside. Also love the black sesame sauce - actually I'm completely biased, I love black sesame. My one and only complaint: I wish it wasn't white chocolate but dark chocolate. Again I'm completely biased here :)

Lemongrass custard, cola, buttermilk, sweet potato-yuzu mochi, saffron
I thought this dessert was tasty and interesting. The mochi was good but pretty sticky. Although I liked the taste of this dessert, it left my mouth feeling rich and sticky while I was hoping for something more refreshing. Overall I liked the cube better, but again, this one still tastes good.

XIV definitely knows how to prepare their food, meat and fish in particular, but the $8/dish can lead to a hit or miss so do order carefully (i.e. avoid cheap salads).
Oh and I forgot to mention - Valet parking is a ridiculous whopping $14.

8117 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 656-1414

Hours: Sun-Wed 6pm-11pm
Thu-Sat 6pm-2am

XIV on Urbanspoon



Great review! I'm waiting for the heat to wear off on the place before I go.

Valet parking fees can be ridiculous. I think at CUT I ended up ponying up $18 to park my car. Just tell ME where to park it and I'll park it! I hate when you can see your car a few feet away, and you still have to go through the whole process of handing over a ticket to get your car.

How much per person did the evening end up running you?


Thanks for the props Fiona! The valet price is pretty ridiculous, but they did waive it on our visit; I'm not sure why.

The cheese with the naan is new. Your risotto also appears to have more truffle. I also noticed that they changed the plating for the salad (which I rather enjoyed).

Have you figured out the wine for Totoraku this Friday?


any idea how they do desserts here? can we just go in for desserts and order 1 of everything? or will everyone have to order the same things? *confused*


Hi TonyC,
So officially everyone on the table has to have the same things, so if we were to go just for desserts, each person will have to order one of everything :(
Bummer I know, maybe you can talk to the server abt it or... here's an idea: sit at the bar, pretend you're separate solo diners :D (I was seriously considering this)


Mike - each dish was $8, so mine that night was $56pp + tax + tips, so about ... $75?
not including valet..


thanks for the explanation!

good thing I canceled that "dessert dinner", else we woulda all ended up paying $60 just for sweets!

t'was a good idea tho.


Those are some impressive-looking desserts! I totally agree about the dark chocolate -- white chocolate just doesn't make sense to me!

Food, she thought.

OMG...this review is killing me. I wanted to comment on every dish, that it looked beautiful, looks and sounds delicious, and so on. But I cannot comment on every single dish! This is the most tempting review I have seen yet, at least with regard to my tastebuds.

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