Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Doma (Beverly Hills)

The owner of Dan Tana has branched out of the old school Italian with Doma, a modern Mediterranean Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills. It's a casual but elegant space with a focus on seafood. The chef, Dustin Trani, grew up working in his family seafood restaurant, J. Trani's in San Pedro. He has also trained in Europe and worked in Thailand, and he brings these influences into his menu.

I got to the restaurant too early for my media dinner, so I sat at the bar and chatted with the bartender. The cocktail menu during the opening was simple, but he said that they will soon be expanding the menu to include more complex drinks including a barrel aged Negroski (Cynar, Campari, basil infused vodka).
He let me take a peek at the upcoming menu, which was definitely a lot more interesting than the opening menu. I ordered the Mexican Grill which was mezcal, Chartreuse, and peppers. Spicy and smoky!

After everyone else arrived, we sat down for an extensive tasting that started with some fresh Japanese hamachi sashimi, ginger soy, ponzu caviar, carrot, cucumber, scallion, sesame tuile ($18, the portion shown is for a tasting, probably not the full portion)
The ponzu "caviar" is a fun touch here

I won't show you everything I ate that night, but here are some of the many many highlights:

Local crispy calamari and rock shrimp, sweet and spicy Thai aioli, balsamic reduction, micro herb, $16)
This is an example of how Dustin's training in Thailand his dishes. The spicy aioli is a nice and unique departure from the usual tomato based sauce.

Baked eggplant and ricotta involtini (grilled eggplant, filled with ricotta and basil, baked over tomato sauce, $12)
A lighter counterpart of the eggplant parmigiana, this is a simple and comforting dish.

Grilled Spanish octopus, Tuscan white bean puree, Meyer lemon, roasted chili, hearts of celery ($19, tasting portion shown)

Mascarpone agnolotti, bone marrow, veal demi, chive, beech mushrooms ($19)
Bone Marrow
Just enough toast for the bone marrow, and al dente agnolotti to accompany it. I like how he combines ingredients found in a lot of menus in a different way. While usually bone marrow is only served with toast as an appetizer, Chef Trani takes it further. It was the same way with the Berkshire Farm pork belly with Beluga lentils. I think it was the first time I've had pork belly with lentils. The grain managed to help cut the fattiness while maintaining a rich, earthy flavor.

Our served poured us Francis Ford Coppola's Votre Sante Pinot Noir, which the table loved.

Chef Trani's signature entree is the Grilled swordfish Milanese with warm tomato salad and micro arugula ($29, tasting portion shown. Main entree usually comes with olive oil mashed potato)
It isn't what I would expect from the name (comparing it to the breaded chicken or veal Milanese). The grilled swordfish was meaty but moist. It was a clean dish, lightly dressed and highlights the sweetness of the tomatoes.

I had my eyes on the uni and crab raviolo since the start. It didn't come out during our tasting, so when the manager came by to ask if he could get us anything else, I asked if it was possible to get one. They were running out but he said he would get one for me to try. Yay!

Uni and stone crab raviolo, mascarpone cheese, olive oil, garlic, chili, parsley, fresh clam juice ($17)
Uni Crab Raviolo
I'm so glad he did, because this raviolo was superb. There was the spicy kick from the chili among creaminess of the uni and the sweetness of the crab. I'd definitely order this again.

Desserts here are pretty interesting as well. My favorite was "Twinkie a la Doma" - a "twinkie baba" (like baba au rhum) with lemon passionfruit sorbet and passionfruit sauce.
Baba Rum Twinkie
Aside from the rum-soaked twinkie (how can you go wrong?), we all loved the passionfruit sorbet.

Cheesecake with raspberry caviar and gluten-free (a.k.a flourless) chocolate cakes finished off our meal.

I had never been to Dan Tana's and didn't know what to expect from Doma (from what I heard, Doma is completely different), but I was quite pleasantly surprised by the food. Most of the casual Italian restaurants in Beverly Hills are pretty "old school" and Doma brings in a nice change with its menu and promising bar program.

PS. Check out the artworks on the wall and pay close attention. They look like paintings of dresses but are in fact composed of vegetables!
it's zucchini!

362 North Camden Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 277-7346
Doma on Urbanspoon


Gourmet Pigs   © 2008. Template Recipes by Emporium Digital