Friday, February 14, 2020

Steak Flight with a View at Castaway in Burbank

I figured for Valentine's weekend, it's good to post about this restaurant with a view, right? Castaway in Burbank has quite the romantic setting, especially around sunset time.
Castaway Burbank
Castaway has been around for years but they had a major remodeling in 2018.

The cocktail menu was more interesting than what I had expected. I started with a Don Pedro Old Fashioned (Ilegal mezcal, spiced bourbon reduction, PX nectar - $15). It was a nice mezcal Old Fashioned, and look at that view!
Castaway Burbank
Castaway has hired Perry Pollaci as executive chef .Chef Pollaci previously worked with the Patina Group and at The Royce at the Langham in Pasadena.

I'm behind on blogging, so some of the menu has changed since the time I went but at the time I had some heirloom tomato and burrata with watermelon, yuzu, white balsamic, black pepper, mache, basil, chia seeds  ($17)
Castaway

Friday, January 24, 2020

Crustacean Beverly Hills, Beyond the Garlic Noodles

Even though I've been in LA for a while and have even had the An family's food at AnQi in Costa Mesa and even the famous garlic crab at the original Thanh Long in San Francisco, I actually have not made it to Crustacean until recently. Sure, I've had the garlic noodles at food festivals, but that's not quite the same.

Luckily, I was recently invited for a tasting menu so I made my way there for the first time. It was the middle of the week but the Beverly Hills restaurant was hopping. It was quite crowded both with dinner guests and people drinking at the bar (after-work drink crowd, I presume). There was a live music performance going on, which takes place on Wednesdays from 4-7pm.

Our tasting menu for two started with these tuna cigars, with quite the eye catching presentation. A cigar box was presented to us and smoke wafted out upon opening.
Crustacean
The tuna cigars were made of feuille de brick, tuna, avocado silk, Vidalia onion, and tobiko caviar.
Crustacean

The smoky presentation continued on with the cocktail I ordered, the Hightea Penicillin. The Penicillin traditionally consisted of scotch, ginger, honey, and lemon juice and here it's topped off with black tea and lavender cloud.
Crustacean

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Ktown's Caffe Concerto Gets New Chef and Tasting Menu

Caffe Concerto in Koreatown has been around for a while, serving Italian food with Korean inflections (you can read my previous review here of their pasta including a kimchi carbonara).
They recently hired a new head chef, Terry Kim, and have added a tasting menu component (the rest of the a la carte menu remains the same).
Concerto Tasting
After the amuse bouche we started off with some beautifully plated Tuna tartar and Granny Smith apples
Concerto Tasting
This was a good rendition of a classic, with the sweet apples juxtaposing the fatty tuna nicely.

The tuna was followed by a Tomato salad, persimon dressing, cherry tomatoes, tomato sorbet, parsley oil, olive crumbs
Concerto Tasting

Monday, January 6, 2020

Bar Avalon Brings Cozy Wine Bar and Dinner Spot to Echo Park

Echo Park got a new wine bar back in October with Bar Avalon, which came by way of Revelator Coffee. This intimate spot offers interesting wines and a small but solid dinner menu.

The wines here are listed by order of latitude and the list offers both old world and new world wines. The sommelier is always on hand to tell you about their more interesting offerings like Unti Segromigno from Dry Creek Valley.

The menu is divided into four sections including small plates, little bites like deviled eggs, and bigger entrees. We tried the Plancha Blue prawns, n'duja, preserved lemons ($14). Can never go wrong with blue prawns!
Bar Avalon

Pork Rillette ($14) from the "tasty bits" section
Bar Avalon

Friday, January 3, 2020

Taco Omakase at Bee Taqueria (West Adams, Los Angeles)

West Adams seems to be the upcoming food hot spot, and Bee Taqueria is certainly adding to that reputation. Bee Taqueria is opened by chef Alex Carrasco, who has worked at places like Scratch Bar, Osteria Mozza, etc. It's not a fine dining place, but rather a colorful tin shack with outdoor seating only.
Bee Taqueria
That doesn't mean the food is low-brow. While Bee Taqueria has a casual a la carte taco menu, Carrasco also offers a taco omakase by reservation only, and it's one worth trying. There's a table of four in the corner that's set aside for the omakase.

We started with taco placero (market taco). For this one Carrasco uses a white heirloom corn tortilla and tops it with roasted pork belly, tomatillo salsa, and herbs including papalo and chives.
Bee Taqueria

Next: squid ink tortilla topped with quesillo, huitlacoche, black truffles, bottarga, and tomato.
Bee Taqueria
A great combination for someone (like me) who loves the black fungi like huitlacoche and truffles!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A Konnyaku Tasting at INN ANN (Japan House LA)

INN ANN was the Japanese restaurant run by Japan House at Hollywood and Highland with acclaimed sushi chef Mori Onodera. INN ANN closed on December 31 to be reconfigured into a culinary incubator of sorts, so that reminded me to catch up on my posts ... A while back (because I'm so behind) I attended a special lunch featuring konjac or konnyaku.

Konnyaku is a chewy "cake" made from konjac yam. It has a texture like gelatin and has made a name in the Western world for being a zero-calorie food. The lunch gathered three chefs from the LA area to showcase the different ways konnyaku can be prepared.

We started with a Konjac and mushroom shabu shabu from INN ANN's chef Mori Onodera.
Konjac at Japan House
We started with the shabu shabu to showcase the konnyaku in its pure form.
Konjac at Japan House
Next up: "Spring tidal pool" with uni and coastal herbs from Joseph Geiskopf (he was at Triniti at the time) with konnyaku and vegetables.
Konjac at Japan House
This was a beautiful bowl, both in appearance and taste. The broth was flavorful yet clean.

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