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Tasting menu on Westside for anniversary?

I have searched but have come up with little. Have been to Joes, Jiraffe, Josie, Melise, Vito, Axe and although I enjoyed each for different reasons, I would like to try something new for our 9th anniversary on Wednesday. A few years back we went to Maple Drive and that was quite good. We both had the tasting menu with wine pairing.
I would love to do a tasting dinner on the west side for this year too. I eat anything and everything. But my hubby has high cholesterol so needs a place with "healthier" options/substitutions. Usually/thankfully, LA places are accomodating to finicky diets but I don't want to be deprived either. Any recs? oh and foie gras gets big bonus points!

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  1. Here is the link to Mako in Beverly Hills about 9 posts below yours, and it would be an excellent choice for every reason you mention. Nice wine list as well.

    1. I'm confident you'd be pleased with Norman's 6 course tasting Menu with the $10 "Foie Gras" supplement for $90 + $_____ for the pared wines. It will definetly taste "NEW" and unlike the others you mnetioned.

      Just 5 minutes from the easten edge of Beverly Hills. Is that westsidey enough?

      Norman’s “Signature Dishes” Tasting Menu

      Creamy Cracked Conch Chowder
      Griddled Saffron ~ Toasted Coconut ~ Oranges ~ “Key West Cloud”
      Yuca Stuffed Crispy Shrimp
      Sour Orange Mojo ~ Habanero Tartar Salsa
      “Down Island” French Toast ~ Seared Curaçao Scented Foie Gras
      Griddled Brioche ~ Passion Fruit Caramel ~ Gingery Candied Lime Zest
      ($10.00 Supplement)
      Fillet of Key West Yellowtail on a “Belly” of Garlicky Mashed Potatoes
      Grilled Asparagus Spears ~ Citrus Butter
      Roasted Pork “Havana” with “21st Century Mole”,
      Golden Haitian Grits ~ Sweet Corn Salsa ~ Sherry Wine Reduction
      “New World” Banana Nut Cake
      Rhum Flamed Bananas ~ Macadamia Nut Brittle Ice Cream

      Chef Norman Van Aken’s 5 Course Menu is $80.00

      Please inquire if you would like a Signature Wine Pairing to complement your Experience.


      1. OCEANFRONT at Casa Del Mar should work well, plus your on the Beach! The Manager is Allen from the Grill on the Alley (BH).
        Good food and service.

        1. We've had the tasting at Melisse, Jiraffe, Josie and enjoyed them all. Sona's 9-course was a pleasant surprise as we were each served different plates. Though next time, we would just get the 6-course. It's so much food!

          1. We just had an excellent meal at Wilson's last night, and they are offering a chef's tasting menu at $65 and another one I think for $90. The ala carte prices are fairly steep, so this would be a good way to sample a lot of what the restaurant has to offer.

            Casual setting, very friendly staff, and serious food.

            1. Do you have info on Wilsons?

              1. Wilson's
                8631 Washington Boulevard
                (310) 287-2093

                I think their website is www.wilsonrestaurant.com

                They are located in the new MODAA building at the corner of Washington and Cattaraugus, a couple blocks east of the Helms Bakery Building.

                They got a good write up in Thursday's Calendar section. WE've now had two lunches there and dinner, and have been quite pleased.

                1 Reply
                1. It's not quite on the Westside, but we just celebrated our own anniversary with Providence's tasting menu this weekend, and we were blown away by the experience. It's mostly fish, so that should be pretty healthy for your husband. Will try to write a full review later today.

                  1. Well, we ended up at Michaels in Santa Monica and I have mixed feelings. I was looking forward to the tasting menu with wine and when the waiter finally came around (it took a food 15 minutes after we sat down, at least we got bread right away) to order, we were told that both tasting menus have to be exactly the same. WAH? I have NEVER heard of that. Mind you, the restaurant was well aware of the "special occasion" and all but did not give one bit. As stated in my original post, my husband has dietary issues but I don't. Usually chefs are happy to show off both ends of the spectrum. Not at Michaels, "Those are the rules".
                    The first course was heirloom tomatoes with burrata and micro greens. Wine was a South African Viognier. Both very good.
                    Second course ( a good 15 minute wait again) was grilled calamari stuffed with something that had an olive undertone. I can't remember exactly. The three little tubes were served on a black bean puree with some mixed greens. Wine was a very sweet Pinot Gris from Alsace. An unusual pairing but the 5 minute explanation of the dish/wine by the sommelier was humorous/mind numbing. I wondered if the food was warm when it was brought out.
                    Third was one diver scallop on pea puree with, again micro greens. I could have eaten 6 of these. It was very good but I was starting to grow tired of the micro greens/mixed greens/puree theme. The wine was another French wine-this time red. I can't recall what kind but reminded me of a light bordeaux. Probably the weakest wine of the night.
                    Fourth dish was the only one of significant size-read more that 2-3 bites. Duck breast over carmelized onions and white beans (at least they weren't pureed) with a balsamic reduction. I thought it was very good. But my husband is not a duck fan so instead of filling up on the only course that this was possible, he gave most of his duck to me. Wine was an Italian 80/20 Sangiovese/Merlot blend and was very drinkable.
                    Dessert was 2 different ones(I guess the rules are breakable after all). They were OK. One was a plum cobblerish tart and the other was a mix of carmelized banana, a chocolate wafer, a chocolate/banana brownie-like thing and a bit of banana gelato. A bit too literal. The wine was again, 2 different ones: a basic port and a cream sherry. They did write "Happy Anniversary" on the plates.

                    All in all, good food, with really long waits in between. They didn't seem all that busy so I don't know what the issue was. My husband was saying that we would have to stop for food on the way home. We didn't (we had some homemade pesto pasta at home). I was surprised at the plastic patio chairs and the wood/wicker ones inside. My parents had those chairs in the 80s. Diners ranged from tourists in t-shirts taking flash photos of themselves to bluehairs in Chanel suits.
                    Our waiter was talking to another table and started raising his voice volume when we started saying that Tony Blair was in with "Shwarzenegger no not him-the mayor of Los Angeles".

                    The five course tasting menu was $70 and another $30 or $35 for the wine. The total was $270 or so including tip. My husband said he would never go back. I tend to agree. To make up for this dinner, we are going to Echigo as a booby prize.

                    I would like to try Normans-especially on roast pig night.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: zoomchic

                      Michael's is strong with Ambiance(garden) but weak with food. Revolving door Chef's hasn't helped.
                      We've had two extraordinary meals at Melisse the last couple of months. Carte Blanche Tasting Menu both times, awesome!

                    2. I took my boyfriend to Spago for a tasting menu on his birthday not long ago. Although the food was beautifully presented, we weren't impressed with it overall. It was about 8 course, bf had wine pairing (I think it was $45 extra). Most dishes were very simple ingredients, we had the tuna tartar, a heirloom tomatoes dish, a fish dish, a squab dish, smaller tasting dishes, cheese plate, and a dessert. We felt that for the price, we should at least get some steak or scallops or something, but the most expensive ingredients we had was probably a small fish. Server tried to offer us an additional Kobe steak for another $40pp. We did not take the offer.

                      I have read a lot of great reviews and went in with the highest expectations. I guessed it was too much. We had a great night but the food wasn't memorable. As you can see, my memory about the food has already faded. :) I promised the folks here for a review but it wasn't anything worth talking about. Total was $311 including tip. If we go back, we won't have another tasting menu again.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ktla97

                        I'm a huge Spago Fan and only do the Tasting Menu. I've never had a bad experience EVER!
                        Something is wrong with the tasting menu you describe compared to what I remember.
                        First off the TM is around 140- ea plus T&T, plus wine. The cost for 2 should be around 350 plus wine? About 425-475 per couple.
                        The whole reason to go to Spago is the Tasting Menu, otherwise I would probably go to Grill on the Alley, Cut, Mako or Mastro's.

                        1. re: russkar

                          I agree. When we looked at the website, it said about $120 pp for TM, but I swear, we were only charged $90 pp. May be it was the content of the course that lowered the price.. I don't know. I wish we were charged more and given better dishes though. May be we will give it another try but not for a few years. I need to build the trust first. :)

                          On a good note, Puck was there greeting all the table.

                      2. IMHO, skip Wilson. It's interesting, but the setting is not what a Melisse or Spago would offer. I think the food is interesting but limited.