The decor - A+
Beautifully designed space. Great main dinning room with nice tables, comfy leather chairs, and high cielings with a very lovely modern looking chandelier. The bar area is very modern and hip. I feel, as with many LA restaurants, that if this place was in the middle of NY, Chicago, or SF, people would love it.
We got the tasting menu by chef Josef Centeno. Obviously he has top notch cooking skills and our meal was wonderful, but in a city like LA, there are just so many places to get this sorta thing. Some of his dishes were WOW, and others were just VERY good. The food was good, but it wasnt French Laundry good. The tasting menu could have been better although each dish was great. I think the chef should have begun light, peaked in the middle, then drop us down gradually. Instead, the food kept getting richer and more complex as the plates come out and there was no palate cleansing dish. Still very good, just not French Laundry level. Although each dish was very good, only one of the plates was something that is truly memorable. IT doesnt matter though since it is always 10 dollars a plate. For 50 bucks we got a glass of wine, a dessert, and 5 healthy sized courses. Sure it isnt french laundry, but it isnt 150 per person either.
Service - A+
The hostess was very sweet and nice. It seemd like i was dining in a small town instead of a large city. The bartender was very funny and laid back. He joked and discussed each drink with us. He just seemed to love his job. Our server was a little too laid back for such an establishment, but being that we are not stuffy rich people, we didnt mind his laid back attitude. He was jovial and not pushy at all, which we liked. He explained each course very well and set the mood for us to have a very nice casual meal. It was almost like dining in Manhattan Beach or Santa Monica.
The drink menu there is awesome. Like many other establishments in LA, the beer list was great. Unlike other establishments however, the wine list was small but had good coverage and was fairly priced. THe cocktails were the usual suspects, but a few of the drinks were a little more special like the chai cocktail.
All in all it was a very pleasant meal. I will definitely go back.
I understand that there has been a change in the chef and the management. Good service, reasonable wine list, good ambiance, and decent food for affordable prices is a good reason to head down and give it a try.
50 bucks for a tasting menu is not a bad deal at all.
Was the tasting menu actually on the menu or did you know that you were getting it when you walked in?
I don't think anyone's ever dared compare it to French Laundry, but at that price point, it's really hard to find any tasting menu in any town with the same level of execution.
the opus tasting menu really doesn't change all too much, at least not that frequently. a few ingredients here and there might be substituted but the overall presentation and style of preparation of the dishes remain the same. i love the place but that's one of the reasons i don't go more often.
I was there for the first time last night. They put us in the private room without charging for it because other diners stayed longer than anticipated and they could not accomodate my party in the main dining room. They also gave us a free plate of cured meats and five free dips (although it seemed they were running low on bread). The service was absolutely perfect, with no hint of attitude (they offer filtered tap water!). The hostess was very friendly and kept us well-informed as we waited at the bar to be seated; our server was attentive and professional without being too detached or formal.
Everyone in my party of seven loved everything. The rib-eye was HUGE (well, to me, 16 oz. is a meal and a half). Whatever fish my friend ordered, however, was on the small side. He probably should have ordered a pasta course or some sides along with it. The most memorable dishes that I got to try:
Octopus/pork belly/marinated watermelon rind appetizer (which seems to have disappeared from the online menu) - couldn't discern where the watermelon rind was (if it was in there, it must have been minced - I was expecting to see pieces of rind), but my friend and I thought perhaps it was what gave the dish some of its tartness. The octopus was remarkably tender, and the crispy bits of pork belly added a wonderful contrast. One of the best appetizers I've ever had.
Calamari - I've never tasted one with so much squid flavor. Good thing too, or the chili aioli might have overpowered it.
Melon granita - cool and refreshing as one would expect, but with a surprising spiciness that creeps up on you, thanks to the addition of Tabasco! Brilliant.
The yellowtail tartare, acorn pasta, and flatiron steak were also hits.
The best part of the evening was when some drunk guy wandered into the private room, and then tried to leave by walking into a glass wall separating us from the dining room. And it happened twice. Even our server couldn't keep from laughing.
Speaking of the private room, it is adjacent to the lounge, so some smoke did creep in. Also, most of the wall it shares with the dining room is actually a large wooden wine rack, so you still hear all of the dining room noise.
Next time, I'm doing the tasting menu. I wanted to do it this time, but one of my friends isn't the type to spend that much on a meal.
I really want to do at least 6 courses. :) But even 4 courses was off-putting to my notoriously frugal friend - he probably spent less than $30 on his entire meal there. I felt kinda bad dragging him to a place like Opus, but it was my birthday, and no one else minded, so I felt justified this one time. I'm just glad he was very pleased with his meal. On normal occasions, my friends and I don't even bother inviting him to such places, because we know he'd decline.
So glad Opus is worth all the praise I've been showering on it! Ever since I took my BF there for his birthday last year, our favorite local restaurant changed from La Buca to Opus. After reading about your experience with the tasting menu, that's definitely what we're doing next. Thanks for sharing!
I found the service there to be the warmest I've encountered in LA, as well. Why can't every restaurant do that?! From the reception to the tasting service, it was really friendly and cheerful without being cloying. And yeah, I thought the food was also really fantastic.