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Ink. To those who've been, is it worth the effort?

uhockey Oct 9, 2011 02:30 PM

Hello all, will be in LA from 11/11 to 11/15 for a conference. Still putting together my dining agenda, but essentially 11/11 and 11/12 will be late night eats (8:30pm or later) while 11/13-11/15 will be earlier dinners. I'll have a car for 11/13-11/15 but not the weekend and while I'd like to do Urasawa and Ssam the timing likely won't fit.

Plans currently are Animal and Red Medicine on 11/11 and 11/12 and then Providence (repeat visit,) Hatfields, and Ink. I have heard Ink. has walkins available early though I'm going to try to snag a reservation. Is it worth it or is it all "foodie hype?" I've been to Volt Table 24 and was modestly impressed but not "blown away" by Bryan's cuisine.

If not ink. (or one of the others) where should I look?

As a final note, if any local hounds would like to meet up for a meal I always enjoy the opportunity to meet new people who are really into food.

http://endoedibles.com

-----
Urasawa Restaurant
218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Red Medicine
8400 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

  1. s
    samtron608 Oct 11, 2011 04:33 PM

    i havent seen too much hype about Ink here on chowhound..which is a little surprising.
    i just snagged the illusive reservation for a table in 2 weeks!
    hounds: have you guys been and is it worth it!?!

    4 Replies
    1. re: samtron608
      soniabegonia Oct 11, 2011 06:03 PM

      Geez, how?! Do you refresh every 2 min? I've been checking almost daily to no avail.

      1. re: soniabegonia
        s
        samtron608 Oct 12, 2011 09:25 AM

        hahah.i just check each morning between 9am and 10am..seems to pop up at random times! just tried for 2 days and got one!

        1. re: samtron608
          uhockey Oct 13, 2011 11:26 AM

          Same. I nabbed a 2-top for 10pm on 11/11 around 10am Pacific time today.

          http://endoedibles.com

          1. re: samtron608
            soniabegonia Oct 13, 2011 11:36 AM

            Success! Good call - 9-10am seems to be the trick... maybe that's when they release the next set of tables a month out. I got one for 11/10 at ~9:30 yesterday.

      2. J.L. Oct 12, 2011 02:36 AM

        Delete Hatfield's and instead do the Modern Kaiseki 13-course tasting menu at n/naka.

        Haven't tried Ink yet.

        Go to Scarpetta for Sunday brunch, if you have the time.

        Also, Chef Laurent Quenioux is up to his old tricks again at Starry Kitchen (yes, the cornucopic LQ cheese cart is back!).

        Happy eating!

        -----
        Starry Kitchen
        350 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071

        Scarpetta
        225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

        n/naka
        3455 S. Overland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034

        13 Replies
        1. re: J.L.
          uhockey Oct 12, 2011 05:39 AM

          I see LQ added tags to the cheeses - amusing as this was my suggestion to him after my meal there. Has the service gotten better? The food was so good, the service SO bad. Having seen the young man at Michel Rostang in Paris rattle off 50+ cheeses including province and notes made me even more annoyed in retrospect. :-)

          I have time for brunch. Is Scarpetta worth it over the standard menu? I went to Scarpetta when Conant was still there in Manhattan. It was excellent, but I'm warry of brunch buffets as I tend to (way) overdo it. I was thinking AOC for brunch.

          Need to look into n/naka.

          http:///endoedibles.com

          -----
          AOC
          8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

          Scarpetta
          225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

          n/naka
          3455 S. Overland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034

          1. re: uhockey
            honkman Oct 12, 2011 01:10 PM

            Always had excellent service at Bistro LQ in our many viisits but his current gig is a "permanent pop-up" which means he is using mainly service from a different restaurant which was good when we went but not sure if would call it improved over Bistro LQ. (The food is still some of the best you will get in LA (or anywhere else especially for that price).

            1. re: uhockey
              Porthos Oct 12, 2011 01:41 PM

              Service is definitely faster and more efficient. I wouldn't let your past service experience deter you. Your meal will not be 4 hours this time.

              You can't get on their case for their cheese cart. Not at these prices. I doubt you could get 3 selections at Rostang for 12 USD (8-9 Euro). And it's not like you can find a cart like this anywhere else in the States.

              1. re: Porthos
                uhockey Oct 12, 2011 02:34 PM

                I'll admit it is an impressive cart, but the server was horrible - couldn't name a thing.

                Perhaps the new LQ over Red Medicine, though the distance to it makes it difficult w/o a car on Fri/Sat.

                http://endoedibles.com

                -----
                Red Medicine
                8400 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

              2. re: uhockey
                J.L. Oct 12, 2011 05:14 PM

                Scarpetta brunch is impressive. Kevineats documented it nicely on his blog:

                http://www.kevineats.com/2011/04/scar...

                -----
                Scarpetta
                225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                1. re: J.L.
                  uhockey Oct 12, 2011 05:36 PM

                  Yeah - no way - I'd not be able to eat the rest of the day. Between the cheeses and the desserts I'd make a fool of myself. :-)

                  http://endoedibles.com

              3. re: J.L.
                uhockey Oct 12, 2011 05:42 AM

                Issue w/ n/naka is the times. How accessible is it by cab from the Beverly Hilton? (distance/cost/time?)

                Also, not that it matters as that menu is incredible, but what is the price?

                http://endoedibles.com

                -----
                n/naka
                3455 S. Overland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                1. re: uhockey
                  Servorg Oct 12, 2011 06:37 AM

                  It's less than 5 miles from the B.H. Hilton (if you cut across Cheviot Hills on Motor Ave.) and less than $20 by cab. Prices and review by J.L. here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/801429

                  1. re: Servorg
                    uhockey Oct 12, 2011 07:24 AM

                    Nice - thanks!

                    http://endoedibles.com

                  2. re: uhockey
                    j
                    Jwsel Oct 12, 2011 09:56 AM

                    I made it in rush hour from Century City (only a few blocks from the Beverly Hilton) in about 10 minutes just going to Overland.

                    I definitely second n/naka. It was one of the best meals I've had in recent years in LA. We did the 9-course meal with one bottle of wine (a $35 bottle of champagne that was absolutely fantastic with the early dishes on the menu) and our total was about $200 per person with tax and tip.

                    -----
                    n/naka
                    3455 S. Overland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                    1. re: Jwsel
                      uhockey Oct 12, 2011 12:31 PM

                      Nice. Save for Urasawa is it the best "Japanese Experience" in town in terms of Omakase?

                      Was considering Mori or Zo for lunch one day but I'm not sure how it compares to the dinner experiences.

                      http://endoedibles.com

                      -----
                      Urasawa Restaurant
                      218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                      1. re: uhockey
                        j
                        Jwsel Oct 12, 2011 06:34 PM

                        I prefer Kiriko's lunch omakase to Mori or Zo. And I also like Kiriko's cooked foods.

                        n/naka, however, is very different. It's kaiseki, not just sushi or sashimi, and uses modern techniques including some molecular gastronomy. Standout dishes that I recall were a tartare of kampachi wrapped in thin avocado slices served with a yuzu sorbet and jalapeno gelee; pasta with cod roe, abalone liver, abalone and truffles; and thin-slice wagyu beef cooked on a magnolia leaf in miso sauce. There were sushi and a sashimi courses that were excellent, but they are not the focus of the meal.

                        -----
                        Kiriko
                        11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                        n/naka
                        3455 S. Overland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                        1. re: Jwsel
                          uhockey Oct 12, 2011 06:57 PM

                          Well, considering I'd need to skip out early either way on the conference, is Urasawa worth the extra $$. Is it THAT much better than n/naka?

                          http://endoedibles.com

                          -----
                          Urasawa Restaurant
                          218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                          n/naka
                          3455 S. Overland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                2. goodhealthgourmet Oct 12, 2011 03:19 PM

                  I've been to Volt Table 24 and was modestly impressed but not "blown away" by Bryan's cuisine.
                  ~~~~~~~~~~
                  guess it's time for a little sibling comparison then!

                  i'm sorry i'm not in LA anymore, i would have loved to meet up with a fellow Hound - particularly one who shares my philosophy of balancing health & hard training with delicious chow. hopefully you'll get to dine with some of the other Angelenos who frequent the board. good folks.

                  enjoy your meals - i'm looking forward to reading your reviews. and in case you haven't yet seen the one from local blogger kevinEats...
                  http://www.kevineats.com/2011/09/ink-...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                    uhockey Oct 12, 2011 03:21 PM

                    I saw his and epicuryan (same meal) and I agree. I'll probably just try to snag a walk-in. Part of my problem with VOLT was probably the other places I ate on that trip.

                    Meeting fellow hounds is a blast - I wish there were more meetups through CH because the folks I've met have been 90% awesome and 9% good.

                    http://endoedibles.com

                    1. re: uhockey
                      goodhealthgourmet Oct 12, 2011 03:38 PM

                      ha! i'd love to know about the remaining 1%. and you can start a meetup thread on the board for the city you're planning to visit. the problem is that we always talk about them but never act on it.

                      oh, and re: brunch at Scarpetta, i'm normally anti-buffet as well but all the positive feedback i got on it from Chowhound and outside sources convinced me to put it on my must-try list (where it's still sitting).

                      -----
                      Scarpetta
                      225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                  2. f
                    FranklinJefferson Oct 13, 2011 04:15 PM

                    Grabbed a reservation for 10/21... With the omakase.... I'll try to report back as soon as possible afterwards.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: FranklinJefferson
                      s
                      samtron608 Oct 13, 2011 04:41 PM

                      have they announced the cost of the omakase yet?

                      1. re: FranklinJefferson
                        carln Oct 13, 2011 06:07 PM

                        When you grab a reservation from their site, how do you let them know that you want one of the 8 omakase seats? Does the available reservation on the site show up as omakase vs. main dining room? any info you can provide would be great as I would also really be interested in the omakase.

                        1. re: carln
                          uhockey Oct 13, 2011 06:13 PM

                          When I spoke to them they said they are not taking omakase reservations yet - that was yesterday and I was asking about November.

                          I'd be interested in hearing the answer to this, as well.

                          http://endoedibles.com

                          1. re: uhockey
                            Grog Oct 14, 2011 10:22 AM

                            I was told, they are looking at beginning Omakase in Dec. It would require MV to move from the line to the Omakase area, leaving the line to his sous chef.

                            1. re: Grog
                              carln Oct 14, 2011 11:00 AM

                              Just wondering how FranklinJefferson above got the Omakase.

                              1. re: carln
                                f
                                FranklinJefferson Oct 14, 2011 11:51 AM

                                When I made the reservation on the website, I informed them that we'd be interested in doing the Omakase menu and specified our dietary restrictions. Since the Omakase info was - and still is - up on their site and there was nothing to indicate that it wouldn't be available (and no one from the restaurant has contacted me in the month since I made the rezzie), I assumed all this had been worked out. <Tant pis pour moi, peut-etre>.

                                1. re: FranklinJefferson
                                  uhockey Oct 14, 2011 12:00 PM

                                  Yeah, it won't be available, I called today. You'll have a table, though I guess it didn't hurt to make them aware you were interested just in case Omakase opens early.

                                  http://endoedibles.com

                      2. j
                        js76wisco Oct 14, 2011 05:34 PM

                        The online reservation system for Ink opens at 4am PST for a rolling 28 days. Today my friend got me a reservation for Nov 12th at 8pm. When I logged on at 7:30am there were still reservations available at 7pm and 8:45pm for groups of up to 4 people.

                        I don't think it takes too much effort. Just need to log on first thing and grab an open reservation.

                        http://mvink.com/ink-reservations/

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: js76wisco
                          uhockey Oct 14, 2011 05:59 PM

                          That is incorrect. It opens at 10am PST for a rolling 30 days.

                          http://endoedibles.com

                          1. re: uhockey
                            j
                            js76wisco Oct 17, 2011 03:01 PM

                            The online reservations open up at 4am. You can email info@mvink.com to confirm. They said it was a rolling 30 day window but the reservations for Nov 12th opened on Oct 14th. My math is pretty good and that is not 30 days.

                            1. re: js76wisco
                              n
                              NYCnowLA Oct 20, 2011 08:12 AM

                              there are res right now for today and tomorrow and other dates as well. they release when space is available, not just 30 days in advanced.

                              1. re: NYCnowLA
                                LATrapp Oct 20, 2011 08:31 AM

                                I could only get the pull down menu to display a table for 1 in any of the available dates/times. Maybe it's for the omakase bar?

                        2. mikeop34 Oct 21, 2011 08:16 PM

                          I enjoyed my recent meal at ink. and wrote up a review on it if you're curious about some of the individual dishes. My friend and I compared it to Animal but with more restraint and focus on letting all the different flavors come through. Definitely worth checking out.
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8080...

                          I'd also agree with JL, who mentioned above to delete Hatfields - the food is decent but not as inspired as these other places you're going to, and it would be a letdown. How about a modern Latin kind of restaurant like Rivera, Playa (their sister restaurant) or Picca? I like Rivera the most out of those, had more mixed experiences at Playa and Picca although a lot of people love those places, too.

                          -----
                          Picca
                          9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mikeop34
                            uhockey Oct 22, 2011 05:32 AM

                            I like Hatfield's as a (relative) classic, but it'd be the first to go if making cuts.

                            Waiting to see the LQ at Starry Kitchen menus for that week/weekend

                            http://endoedibles.com

                            -----
                            Starry Kitchen
                            350 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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