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May 13, 2009 09:58 AM


Went last night with a friend and a MS (master somm, none in LA).

Brought our own wine (but list is very good).

Awesome food and a beautiful dining space. Food light, fresh, tasting of itself. Light touch on the seasoning and perfect ingredients.

To start we had the herring, gravlax, mussels, beet salad, artichoke and pork belly with spring peas and morels. All excellent, with the mussels and pork belly sublime.

Next had the lamb chops, swedish meatballs, mushroom risotto, and schnitzel. All phenomenal, I really cannot convey how perfectly executed these were. Complex with lots of ingredients, perfectly plated into a simple whole.

Stellar cheese plate and dessert.

Total bill: $260 for 4. A really good value.

This last year has been a bumper crop for LA restaurants (on the higher end). I would put AK, Gjelina and Church & State in my LA top 10.

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  1. I am not the super hippest person here, maybe a little thick but what is AK and is master somm a Master Sommelier. All these abbreviations drive me nuts....Thanks

    3 Replies
    1. re: Burger Boy

      AK is a restaurant in Venice, on Abbott Kinney. A name, not an abbreviation.

      Master Somm is a Master Sommelier indeed.

      1. re: Adsvino

        Thanks, there are so many abbreviations. Earlier someone said CC and I thought they meant Culver City, which was completly wrong.

        1. re: Burger Boy

          Ok BB ;)

          Run, don't walk to AK, and get the pork belly with peas and morels, swedish meatballs and the mushroom risotto. The food there is truly astounding.

          It's on Abbot Kinney just off Venice.

    2. We were at AK last night with a very large group. The service was friendly but very slow. We were there for 3 hours total. The wine list was interesting but contrary to the NY Times review, you could not find many bottles of red wine for under 50. Some bottles were severely marked up at 3x. Corkage is $20.

      The pork belly with spring peas, morels, and pickled ramps was phenomenal. The grilled octopus was also very tender and delicious. The mussels were an average mussel dish. The mussels themselves were a bit flavorless and the duck sausage was dry. The beet salad was good.

      The entrees were a let down. The halibut with brandade was overly salted, The halibut was well cooked. The flat iron steak was decent but the chimichurri was very unremarkable. The best entree of the night was the oxtail shepard's pie. Very flavorful and complex but also a bit heavy handed with the salt. Aside from the shepard's pie, no one was really impressed with the entrees.

      For us, there were some hits but mostly misses at AK. I doubt I'll be back.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Porthos

        I think a 3 time mark up is standard on wine and it is 4 times if you go by the glass.

        1. re: Burger Boy

          I'm used to 2-2.5x markup from retail. 3x is considered a steep markup.

            1. re: Adsvino

              Are you serious? 3x is a high markup by any standard. I'm talking about from retail prices meaning they're selling wine for $60 for bottle that I can get at K&L for $20. Even in NY and SF, 2x-2.5x is standard.

              Specifically, I can find bottles at Babbo at 1.5x markup. Oliveto in SF gets flak for their 2.5x markup. Sona here in LA has some bottles of Latour with a $30 markup which equates to a 0.1x markup. 3x is not "normal".

              So we don't reinvent the wheel for the 100x time, here's a link to many links about wine markups and what's standard. Most people agree that 3x above retail is on the high side.


              1. re: Porthos

                I'm with Porthos. I'm in the wine biz. Definitively: 2x-2.5x is the standard by the bottle markup. with BTG you're on your own at maybe 4x. 3x for a bottle is excessive and I would byo or make another reservation.

      2. We've tried AK and there were some hits and misses. The rooms, service, and vibe are great. I'd go again but I think overall Primitivo has better food.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bite Me

          i agree - there were definite hits and misses.
          we went last night and while what we had was more or less good, there was nothing we felt we would return for or crave, ever again. the space is really beautiful, though.

          on another note, i have no problems paying for great food, but for drinks, two apps and two entrees for two people and a bill of 150 before tip, it just wasn't worth it to me. i've paid a lot more for meals that i didn't even blink at the price because they were THAT worth it. AK did NOT deliver that for us.

        2. update from Tasting Table:

          BREAKING: Conny Andersson closes AK on Abbot Kinney, citing creative differences with partners. The restaurant will reopen under new name. According to press release, Andersson will look for a new space to reopen AK; former partners will reopen new restaurant in AK space.