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May 21, 2010 11:25 PM

Ortolan Spring Tasting Menu

My girlfriend, my good friend Jason and I went to Ortolan a couple of weeks ago to check out Chef Eme's new Spring Tasting Menu. At $40/ person, it was an affordable opportunity to give this place a try. Unfortunately, it was pretty disappointing and judging by the fact that the 3 of us were 3 of 7 total diners that evening, I guess others have already figured this out.

The Spring Tasting Menu options were:


2 shot glasses. Creamy Potato Soup (delicious) and Asparagus Soup (indedible).

Eggplant Dip (really smoky)

First Course:

1) Marinated Salmon with lemongrass sorbet, ginger and ponzu - tasty and refreshing
2) Sauteed Frog legs with cream of watercress, potato gnocchi and zest of lemon juice - pretty tasteless
3) Seared Quail in mushroom soup with duck jus - by far the best dish of the night. a real winner of a dish

Second Course:

1) Lobster Spaghetti with Beef Jus and white asparagus cream - boring
2) Potato Ravioli with Morel Mushrooms, Fava Beans and Scallions - this dish really disappointed me the most. i was excited for some morels this season and this dish was totally ruined by the fact that they were poorly cleaned and really gritty. every bite was like chewing on sand.
3) Lamb confit with Potato gnocchi, Green Asparagus and Tomato Confit. - dry lamb that seemed like it was cooked a week before.

Third Course:

1) Vanilla Honey Panna Cotta with Strawberry Caviar
2) Lemon Tart with Tangerine Sorbet and Citrus Supreme
3) Apple Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream

All the deserts were pretty good.

Has anyone else been lately and had a similar experience? It was really disappointing. Should i have known better than to go there or did i catch them on a (very) "off" night?

If anyone is interested, i have a much more detailed review of this meal at

(its too long to post here


8338 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048

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  1. I was there three weeks ago and had a perfect meal. I thought the marinated salmon was superb. The lobster spaghetti I really enjoyed. I tasted the lamb confit and it was perfectly moist.

    1. It's like Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde with the reviews on Ortolan on this board - You'd think there were 2 different restaurants both named Ortolan, by the dichotomy of opinions on he Chowboard. In my 6+ trips there, I've not had a single bad meal. I must be going to the 'good' Ortolan...

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. now they extended this $40 meal and call it the Summer Tasting. has anyone been recently. tempted to try it this week...but hoping for some recent feedback on the $40 tasting special. thanks!

              1. re: J.L.

                In my opinion it was inevitable. The night we dined there (and from which i wrote the above review) we were 3 of 7 customers for the evening. Not tables...customers. im surprised they lasted as long as they did.