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Sep 23, 2008 02:53 PM

5X5 Dinner at La Terza

Last night was (maybe) the final 5X5 dinner of the year and the 6 chefs put on an impressive showing. The service was extremely slow, but the food was phenomenal.

The dishes were as follows:

1) Gino Angelini - Scrambled egg with summer truffle, artichoke in casserole & octopus with fava bean puree and squid ink gelatin.
This was a great start to the meal. The artichoke was sweet, the octopus was tender and the scrambled egg with truffles was amazing. The egg and truffle blended perfectly and this was honestly one of my favorite offerings of the night.

2) Walter Manzke - Hamachi crudo, heirloom tomato sorbetto, celery and blood orange oil.
This was another great dish. It was a light, summery salad and the really made the taste buds jump. The dressing was delicious and the fish was amazingly fresh. The contrast of flavors and textures was really impressive.

3) Alain Giraud - Roasted scallops, montbazillac and pistachio emulsion.
This was a very tasty dish. The scallops were perfectly seared and the dish was delicious. The only critique of this dish would be the fact that there really was no pistachio flavor.

4) David LeFevre - Sweet corn agnolotti, cockles, guanciale, rosemary and matsutake mushrooms.
Another great dish. The guanciale was amazing. It just melted in your mouth. the sweet corn agnolotti were so tasty and sweet and the dish was a great balance of flavors.

5) Michael Cimarusti - Wood grilled hawaiian big eye tuna, fresh cranberry beans, squid, basil and munak ranch tomatoes.
Although this was a great dish and Cimarusti is one of my favorite chef's, I thought the prior courses were more exciting and almost felt as though Michael was playing it safe with this dish. Having said that it was very tasty and I would order it again.

6) Josiah Citrin - Lamb loin & shank, eggplant-potato parmesan, lamb jus.
The lamb shank was amazing. It had amazing texture and taste. The lamb loin was average and the eggplant-potato parmesan was just ok. this was probably my least favorite dish (other than dessert...see below)

7) Gino Angelini - Baba with rum and strawberries.
This course was pretty dissapointing. I thought that it was not up to par with the other dishes and it was unfortunate because you leave the meal thinking about the last thing you ate. It felt like the dessert was an afterthought that was slapped together at the last moment. This was my least favorite part of the meal.

I recently read that althouth its been reported that this was the final 5X5 of the year, that there will actually be another one. Hopefully they can get the service to match the food.

In conclusion, food-wise, this was an amazing meal. Probably only second to my dinner at Urasawa.

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  1. i was there as well Carln... i share similar opinions on last night's meal.... but i do think the Melisse 5x5 back in July was better than last night...

    1. Ditto what carln said. The dinner was exceptional and I felt lucky to be eating the best food in LA. Service gets a 'C-' but the food gets a solid 'A'. (See my last post as to why the service received such a low score)

      True respect goes out to all of the participating chefs for allowing LA to taste some truley amazing food while they learn and work with each other. It really looked like all of the chefs were having a great time and you could taste it!

      1. If they do another one I might still go since even though the service last night was horrible, my experience at Water Grill was so good - so I don't think it is really a big obstacle for one restaurant to get the service right- other restaurants have managed to do it!

        For me it wasn't just slooow service. But slooow service+mixed up dishes. After dish #4, they started serving us dishes #3 which we returned of course ... and then #4 again. I was sitting for an hour with nothing to do but eat bread and watch the table next to us rapidly catching up with us! Yea yea I'm sure you think these ppl are more important than me, since they ordered bottles of wine etc. So I left, took it to go. I ate the rest at home and was much happier.


        5 Replies
        1. re: burumun

          I also had the same experience with the pace of the courses. I think there must have been at least 45 mintues between the time the cleared the big eye tuna course and the time they brough the lamb. This is the first 5X5 i have been to and chalked that up to the madness surrounding this event...hopefully they will learn and improve on that because the food was incredible.

          1. re: carln

            How does one find out about these dinners? Can't believe I missed them. I searched and can't seem to find much besides an article in Los Angeles Magazine.

            1. re: kellydeez

              Eater LA is a pretty good source for info on these events. Barring that, contacting the restaurant of any of the Chef's involved would probably get you the info you need.

            2. re: carln

              I have a hard time giving them the excuse that they will "learn and improve" since this isn't the 1st 5x5 dinner and the previous dinners had practically impeccable service by comparison (no mistake, no long waits). I admit it is the most crowded - but then they should know not to take in so many guests?

              Slow waits may be the kitchen getting backed up. Mixing up customer's dishes twice in a row is ... I don't know what that is.


              1. re: burumun

                I completely agree with you here. And the issues with the service were resoundingly universal. I wonder if it's an issue with the La Terza staffing and management. I give kudos to them for doing it, naturally, but it was almost unforgiveable.

          2. I have now read this post and the comments on the thread, as well as lotta cox's review further above and photos from her blog. Here's my question: How can the long delays possibly be the fault of the service and not the kitchen? If everyone is suffering long delays between some of the courses, isn't this obviously because one of the chefs is having trouble getting his food out? Nobody is saying that there was a shortage of front-of-the-house staff or saw food sitting unclaimed on the counter waiting to be served. Now in the overall scheme of things, it is fair to say that the timing for the meal was off. But blaming this on the service?

            2 Replies
            1. re: nosh

              My problem was them bringing me the wrong dishes multiple times and then serving the table that came an hour later first ... since the dishes are the same, why is it that they gave it to these guys first and not us? This I blame on the service.
              My waiter was actually from the Osteria, I guess they had to bring more FOH staff in.

              1. re: nosh

                I personally did not lay blame on the wait for courses with the service per se, I didn't actaully lay blame anywhere. If I had to speculate, I would say there should be equal blame. There were issues with the service that had nothing to do with the kitchen (our waiter was basically absent most of the night although certainly genial) and the food was slow (most likely floating around the restaurant being served out of time somewhere, or not making it out of the kitchen). Fortunately, as everyone has noted the food tasted fantastic.

              2. I've heard unconfirmed rumours from tangbro1 that the next 5x5 will be at Paperfish...

                1 Reply
                1. re: kevin h

                  how and when might we hear more about this? just keep our eyes on eater la? i definitely am game to try again.