Showing posts with label wolfgang puck. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wolfgang puck. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A WP24 Lunch with Iron Chef Morimoto, LA Food and Wine Festival

The first LA Food and Wine Festival kind of snuck up on me. Suddenly there are a slew of celebrity chefs in town doing special lunches and dinners, and grand tastings, totaling to about 70 events!

Thanks to Lexus, I was lucky enough to attend a lunch at Wolfgang Puck's WP24 (normally not open for lunch) prepared by WP24's chef Sara Johannes and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.

Iron Chef Morimoto
Chef Morimoto
I've always admired the view from WP24, but this was the first time I've seen it during the day. Lucky for us, it was a beautiful day!
The party started in the front bar area with some Scharffenberger Cellars "Brut Excellence", Mendocino (Anderson Valley). This sparkling wine was made with a base from 2007, using 2/3 Chardonnay and 1/3 Pinot Noir. I missed out on most of the passed hors d'oeuvres - they went fast. If I had known the bao was filled with foie gras instead of pork belly, I would've tried harder to procure some.

Oh well, I had a great meal ahead of me anyway.

We alternated courses made by the Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and WP24's chef Sara Johannes.
The first course was by Morimoto: Kin Medai Snapper with geoduck, papaya, peanuts and coconut foam.
This was paired with a glass of Grieve Sauvignon Blanc, Napa 2009
Kin Medai
I loved the Southeast Asian flavors that come out in this dish, especially from the peanuts and chili. I don't think I've had sashimi with southeast asian flavors before, but it certainly worked wonderfully.

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.

Friday, October 9, 2009

DineLA 2009: Spago. One of DineLA's Best Deals.

Just last week LAist released tips on how to get the most out of dineLA and one of their points is to not go for restaurant week menu offering dishes not originally on their regular menu.
At Spago, none of the dishes (minus desserts) offered are on the regular menu - you can get on-the-menu New York Steak for a hefty supplement of $35 though.

Does this mean Spago dineLA is not a deal?

Spago, one of the longest-standing LA's star eateries, the flagship of the Wolfgang Puck empire. Overhyped, you say? Let's not forget the Michelin stars this place got (before Michelin decided to abandon our city) and the fact that Nancy Silverton of La Brea Bakery and Mozza and Mozza hailed as a pastry chef from this place. Fact is, Spago got famous for a reason, and it managed to maintain that reason.
Not to mention they have one of the best patios in town.

Now, the deal. Let me see here. Burrata fig salad with jamon serrano and either poussin or kurobuta pork chop+dessert seems worthy of a $45 Spago meal to me.
If you actually look at their regular menu, you'd notice that their cheapest entree offered is $38. A $45 3-course Spago meal? That would be impossible without restaurant week!

Yeah, but they might give you crappy dishes, smaller portions, etc, so let's see what you actually ate.

Fig salad with burrata and jamon serrano.
Great figs, great burrata, great jamon. I am not sure about the combination of it all though. I certainly loved the burrata with the jamon and the greens, but not with the figs. I ended up eating the figs separately.

Kurobuta Pork Chop.
Smaller portion? I think not. This pork chop was so big I managed to take leftovers home. It was a very good pork chop, quite tender and moist, well seasoned. Great flavor and very complementary sauce and garnish.

Getting the supplements make dineLA much less of a deal.
A sweet corn agnolotti which runs for $19 on the regular menu is available for a $14 supplement.

Amazing agnolotti, though. I stole a couple of bites from PepsiMonster's plate and it was sooo good. It's definitely worth trying, although I'd rather get it as an extra order for $5 more :)

An order of New York Steak is $61 on the menu and available for a $35 supplement for DineLA.
A great steak, no doubt, but I was happy with my Kurobuta pork chop for much less money.

The desserts offered actually do come from the regular menu. I got the Apple Cider Upside Down Cake.

The cake had a great flavor but it was a bit too dry for my taste. I should've remembered these types of cakes are generally too dry for my palate. A lot of people seemed to like this though.

PepsiMonster got the Dobos, 12 layer chocolate and praline cake with nutella gelato.

I like his dessert much better, the chocolate buttercream layer was very smooth but you get just a teeny crunchiness. Great taste and texture.

We had a great meal overall. $45 for this 3-course meal (plus leftover for lunch, mind you)? I'll take it any day.

176 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 385-0880
Spago Beverly Hills on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 18, 2009

CUT: 100% Wagyu Beef and a $200 Meal

I was coaxed by the 100% Japanese wagyu beef! By a reservation that suddenly becomes available. At any rate I found myself at what is purported to be the best steakhouse in LA, Wolfgang Puck's CUT, with fellow bloggers Pepsi Monster, KevinEats, and tangbro1.

We started with a variety of bread including these Gougeres,
and a bottle of champagne: 2002 Jose Dhondt Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Mes Vieilles Vignes.

We pretty much dined family style, sharing everything from appetizers to steaks. We ordered a series of appetizers according to CUT veterans Kevineats and tangbro1.

Prime Sirloin "Steak Tartare", Herb Aioli, Mustard ($22)
A classic but well-done preparation of steak tartare, with high quality meat. This was delicious and rich with the addition of the quail egg.

#1 Grade Blue Fin "Toro" Tartare, Wasabi Aioli, Ginger, Togarashi Crisps, Tosa Soy ($32)
This was a good quality tuna and a well-done dish, but quite the "classic" preparation - in other words, rather boring.

Kobe Steak Sashimi, Spicy Radishes ($22)
I enjoyed this dish quite a bit and wished I could have more. The meat tasted fresh and had a nice flavor and texture.

Warm Veal Tongue, Marinated Artichokes, Cannellini Beans, "Salsa Verde" ($17)
Perhaps my favorite appetizer of the night, tender flavorful tongue and delicious tomatoes. This was the most interesting of the appetizers. The tongue was gamey which might put off others but I personally love.

Maple Glazed Pork Belly, Asian Spices, Watercress, Sesame-Orange Dressing, Rhubarb Compote ($16)

Since we couldn't decide on a red wine, I chose a 1997 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape, because I've never had a Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This one was not particularly smooth - I thought it was okay.

We also shared 2 non-steak entrees:

Kobe Beef Short Ribs "Indian Spiced", Curried Sweet Pea Purée, Garam Masala, Slowly Cooked For Eight Hours ($39)
Sashimi Quality Big Eye Tuna Steak ($42)
Surprisingly, the tuna takes the win in this competition. The short ribs were quite tender but a bit too sweet. The tuna was excellent - high quality fish and seared just right. The middle rare part was delicious.

As for the steak, we decided to get each one and divided it evenly among everyone (6 people total). These are the 4 steaks, in the order of least favorite:

4. U.S.D.A. Prime, Illinois Corn Fed, Aged 21 Days; Bone In New York Sirloin 20 Oz ($56)
The cheapest, and weakest, of all the steaks. It's probably good by itself, but after having the other three, I'd stick with one of the other three no doubt.

3. American Wagyu / Angus "Kobe Style" Beef From Snake River Farms, Idaho; New York Sirloin 8 Oz ($75)
Before trying the 100% wagyu, I quite liked this. After a while though, it isn't as meaty as the dry aged, but not as amazingly-fatty as the wagyu. Feels like it's just stuck in the middle for me.

2.U.S.D.A. Prime, Nebraska Corn Fed, Dry Aged 35 Days; New York Sirloin 14 Oz ($59)
Flavorful, juicy, and meaty. If I had to eat more than 2 oz, this would be my favorite any day as the 100% wagyu would just be too fatty. An excellent piece of steak.

1.True Japanese 100% Wagyu Beef From Saga Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan; New York Sirloin 6 Oz ($120)
What we came for. Let's take a look:
In the middle is the American Wagyu while to the right is the 100% Wagyu. The difference in marbling is strikingly noticeable (pardon the flash, but I had to capture it). And aye, it's that fatty. Yes, it is delicious. If you're eating 2 oz or less. Anything more and I would have a heart attack :P (Well, I may be able to handle 3 oz).

Indulgence does not end there. It's time for some dessert!

We started our dessert courses with a Brooke Cherry Toasted Almond Crumble, Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream ($14)
They scoop the crumble onto the bowl tableside. I'm very much partial to berry cobbler/crumble and thus really enjoyed this.

Dark Chocolate Soufflé, Whipped Crème Fraîche, Gianduja Ice Cream ($14)
I've heard about the Valrhona chocolate souffle at CUT and thus have been looking forward to this dessert. A well done souffle with a rich chocolate flavor.

Warm Brioche Doughnuts, Huckleberry Compote, Butter Pecan Ice Cream ($14)
The simplest turned out to be the table's favorite. The doughnuts were warm and fluffy, they were perfect with a bite of the nutty, creamy ice cream.

To finish the meal were three types of dessert bars: lemon, caramel, and chocolate.
I liked the lemon bar the best, though I've always been against caramel because it sticks to your teeth ...

Kevin says that this was the weakest of his CUT visits thus far, which was unfortunate since it was my first. I still had a good impression overall, though, and would probably come back another time. This meal cost $184 including tax and tips. At first I was proud for spending less than $200, but then I went to pay the valet .... which cost another $16 :P
So there you go, $200 even for a grand tasting at CUT.

9500 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 276-8500
Cut (Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons) on Urbanspoon

Cut in Los Angeles

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

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