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Requesting recent tasting menu recs

spoggly Jun 22, 2007 09:41 AM

Anybody have some recommendations from recent tasting menu experiences? Providence will be the usual response, but I've been there, and would like to try something else. Also, I know Spago is good, but please, other suggestions would be appreciated.

It's hard to get a feel from restaurant websites since these menus change so often, and most don't even list what's on the tasting menus.

I've done searches, and Grace, La Cachette, Hatfield's, AOC, Opus, etc. come up a lot. I like the menu to be diverse and creative.

Food will be the main focus. I like good service, but food is my only true concern.

Who's the got the best current menu (besides Providence & Spago)? The meal would be on a Friday night.

thanks in advance

  1. d
    Diana Jun 22, 2007 09:44 AM

    Valentino is supposed to be good.

    OPus and Grace are said to be nice.

    I frankly have only done Providence ans Spago. Hard to go anywhere else but providence.

    1. ipsedixit Jun 22, 2007 10:14 AM

      Don't know about the best, but aside from Providence and Spago, my current tasting menu of choice would be at Bin 8945 in WeHo.


      1 Reply
      1. re: ipsedixit
        hrhboo Jun 22, 2007 12:49 PM

        Mine too, excellent suggestion!

      2. manomin Jun 22, 2007 10:21 AM

        I just had an amazing tasting menu at Napa Rose in Anaheim but maybe you don't want to drive that far, it was truly remarkable. It's called the Vinter's menu, we sat at the chef's counter which enhanced the whole experience.

        3 Replies
        1. re: manomin
          kek is khmer Jun 22, 2007 10:26 AM

          manomin, how much was it? I'm going to disneyland on wednesday and might check it out?

          1. re: kek is khmer
            manomin Jun 22, 2007 11:49 AM

            $75.00 food only, paired with their selections add $45.00. It was so delicious. We had one of the menu Vintner's and the other was one chef Andrew just made up for me of different things. They really do a good job. You can read about him at this site www.hawaiidiner.com in the archives look up his name, it's a recent interview. We ate there 3 times during our stay (we were at the GCH Hotel) in the bar twice and then the chef's counter. The bar is a great place to sit and relax and enjoy the large bar menu, they have 55 wines by the glass as well as some fun cocktails. I really liked the venison sausage with cavetelli pasta, spigarella broccoli and charred tomato essence and the Sauteed sea of cortez diver scallops with sauce of lemon, lobster and vanilla.We basically ate our way through the entire menu during our 3 visits and loved everything.

            1. re: manomin
              kek is khmer Jun 22, 2007 01:12 PM


        2. SauceSupreme Jun 22, 2007 10:32 AM

          Whoever's got the best regular menu stands to have the best tasting menu (though people will offer Spago with the caveat of only ordering the tasting menu).

          In my mind, Grace is one of the top three restaurants in the city, in no particular order among Spago and AOC. Chef Neal Fraser offers up a great rendition of American cuisine so it'll be different from the French-bent of the other spots.

          I've not had the TM at Opus but I did way back when the chef was at Meson G, so I will vouch for his skill.

          I also had Hatfield's TM last year, so it won't fit your time frame, but I've read recent reviews that were in line with mine. Here's my review with pics:

          My votes would be for Grace, then Opus.

          8 Replies
          1. re: SauceSupreme
            dublinchef Jun 22, 2007 11:57 AM

            I ate at Grace a few weeks ago...got the scallops....I thought the sauce was way too buttery....maybe an off night for the sauce maker???

            1. re: SauceSupreme
              vwoo Jun 22, 2007 03:45 PM

              I will be visiting from San Francisco next week, and may want to give Opus a try. Can anyone tell me how do Grace and Opus compare to some of the restaurants in northern California, such as Marensa, Michael Mina, or Masa?

              1. re: vwoo
                hrhboo Jun 22, 2007 04:11 PM

                I believe Chef Josef Centeno of Opus used to work at Manresa.

                1. re: hrhboo
                  vwoo Jun 22, 2007 04:34 PM


                2. re: vwoo
                  poptisserie Jul 26, 2007 03:28 PM

                  I've been to Manresa and I think Opus' menu was a little more playful. I do think that Opus lacks the same finesse in presentation and execution as many of the NorCal heavy hitters do, but all of the food tastes good and the service is exceptional. Overall, it's a good meal and a bargain for LA, but I do think Bay Area chefs tend to be more inventive.

                  Opus' coddled egg reminded me of the soft-boiled piece of heaven that I had at Manresa...

                  You can check out my Opus post from last month: http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

                  1. re: poptisserie
                    hrhboo Jul 26, 2007 03:35 PM

                    A four-course tasting at Opus costs less than half the price of Manresa's, so any quibbles about presentation and execution are easily mollified.

                    1. re: hrhboo
                      wilafur Jul 26, 2007 03:38 PM


                      1. re: wilafur
                        poptisserie Jul 26, 2007 04:28 PM


              2. z
                zack Jun 22, 2007 11:42 AM

                i don't think it's ever mentioned but angelini osteria has a tasting menu that's available on request. ~7 courses for $80 but the kicker is the accompanying wine pairing is only $25! I had it a year ago on my 1st visit to angelini and again last night. if you like italian and never been, this would be a great introduction to the place. go hungry because it's A LOT of food (big portions, generous pours).

                3 Replies
                1. re: zack
                  wilafur Jun 22, 2007 12:58 PM

                  thanks for the heads up! i am definitely going to ask for this next time i am there. do you need to call it in ahead of time or can you just request the TM when seated?

                  1. re: wilafur
                    zack Jun 22, 2007 02:17 PM

                    no you don't have to request in advance. i'd imagine if the place was busy and packed (more so than usual) the chef may decline the challenge.

                    from memory of what i had last night, may be hazy due to wine...
                    farro salad -small amuse
                    tuna crudo -small amuse
                    portabello, arugula, parmesan salad with shaved summer truffle
                    polipo warm octopus salad (i specifically asked to include this)
                    bucatini carbonara
                    baked lamb t-bone wrapped in parchment
                    baked fig with gorgonzola and port gelato
                    panna cotta with berries (tandem mascarpone with berries)

                    1. re: zack
                      wilafur Jun 22, 2007 02:18 PM

                      thanks! and your meal sounded delicious!

                      i had the fig/gorgonzola dish last time i was there...it was so good!

                2. aching Jun 22, 2007 12:54 PM

                  I was just at Patina last night and noticed that they had both seafood and chef's tasting menus. I did not partake in either, however, as I've decided that most tasting menus are both too much food and too much time for me! I would like to try Opus though...

                  1. f
                    Faulkner99 Jun 22, 2007 03:43 PM

                    Another vote for Opus. Good food and great value.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Faulkner99
                      New Trial Jun 23, 2007 01:27 AM

                      And graciously accommodating to preferences. The chef is also very enthusiastic when it comes to talking about food--it's great seeing someone take such pleasure in his work.

                    2. mr mouther Jun 25, 2007 03:02 PM

                      My favorite is Bistro K in S. Pasadena.
                      Their chef recently guest-cooked at Vermont and that tasting menu is here:


                      They always have a tasting menu and it's $55 (specifics of current one not listed on the website
                      )There is no wine pairing - bring your own with no corkage fee!
                      The best deal anywhere for absolutely amazing cuisine.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: mr mouther
                        rantsnravesnreviews Jun 25, 2007 04:27 PM

                        Unfortunately Bistro K's chef left to open another resturant in LA. It is still Bistro K but a more traditional french menu, and different chef.

                        1. re: mr mouther
                          zack Jun 25, 2007 04:29 PM

                          just so you know Chef Laurent Quenioux no longer cooks at bistro k. it is now under different management and i believe there was a review posted recently of the new food. LQ will open his own restaurant sometime in the near future around downtown area.

                          1. re: zack
                            mr mouther Jun 26, 2007 05:11 PM

                            thanks a bunch for the info - i'm surprised that his website which i posted above doesn't have that info, and still indicates working at K

                            in any case, downtown is closer to me, so that's better!
                            i hope the prices stay reasonable - i 've always been amazed at how incredible his cooking is and how reaonsable the prices are compared to every other chef in LA

                        2. m
                          Mark Sarvas Jul 26, 2007 03:38 PM

                          Had a lovely tasting menu at La Cachette on Bastille Day, which was VERY nice of them as they don't usually offer it Saturdays but Monsieur made a kind exception for us. They have a 5-course and 6-course option - we took the five and loved it all. A lovely foie gras starter, a poached salmon with horseradish, and the beef course were standouts. Pricey but lovely, and a grown up room. (The median age on Bastille Day was probably 55. And that's with us dragging it down.)

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