Just got back from Upstaris 2 in West L.A. Wonderful by the glass wine menu. One of the best I've seen in Los Angeles. We started with glasses of the Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Rose, which was soft and creamy with cherry notes. Nice, nice glass of wine. Wines by the glass were available in 2/5 ozs., 6 ozs., and 12 oz. carafes. The menu is a small plates collection listed as cold, hot and flatbread. To start we ordered grilled shrimp on black rice and two cheeses - a triple cream and Shropshire Blue. The shrimp was not great - a little mealy. The black rice was wonderful. Both cheeses were fabulous. Each was at its perfect moment of ripeness, which could have been a happy accident. Next we ordered a carafe of the 2005 Trelan Pinot Bianco. This is one of my favorite wines. It's a creamy, full-bodied white with melon and pear notes.
The next dishes we ordered were oxtail ravioli, pan seared scallops on lemon risotto cakes with sherry glaze and goat cheese, fig and prosciutto flatbread. The oxtail ravioli came in dry sherry broth, which was a lifesaver for the dish. I just can't get with ravioli made in a wonton wrapper. I find the wrappers tasteless and tough and, in no uncertain terms, a bad time-saving replacement for real ravioli. Anytime I get this kind of ravioli on a menu I read it as the kitchen's insecurity and that is not a good sign. The oxtail filling was very tasty, so we tore the filling out, poured the sherry sauce on it and slathered that on the delicious bread served with the meal. The scallops were meaty and perfectly seared but the lemon risotto cakes were soaked in canola oil and really should have been tossed in the trash. The restaurant does have truffled polenta squares on the menu, so it might be worth it to ask the kitchen to serve the scallops on the polenta squares, instead of the risotto cakes. The flatbread was wonderful. All the ingredients blended together perfectly. The flatbread was thin and crisp. Just lovely. Somewhere in the last part of the meal we ordered glasses of the 2005 Schmitt Kinder Bacchus Riesling. This is a powerful, dry, full-bodied white with a slight mineral note, which I like.
The bill came to a little over $70, which isn't bad. It was an uneven meal but there was just enough good to make it an enjoyable experience. Lots can be forgiven when you have this wines by the glass menu to entice you. I'll be going back. I think.