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Dine LA Jan/Feb 2012 Reviews

groover808 Jan 24, 2012 07:13 AM

Any reviews yet? I'm going to Craft this Saturday (extending specials to the 2 Saturdays)!

  1. f
    foufou Feb 2, 2012 04:51 AM

    Went to Spice Table for dinner last night.....a good DINELA option. This is a restaurant that I would visit again and I would visit regularly for lunch if I still worked in downtown LA. I enjoyed the look and feel of the restaurant and the service was top-notch. I thought the food was good but not excellent. I had the fried cauliflower, noodles with pork belly and asparagus, and kaffir lime custard for dessert. As well, we shared the sambal potatoes, chicken wings, and chicken livers(unappetizing appearance and the star anise/five spice did not work in this dish) from the appetizer/starter menu. I thought the noodles were great and it was the dish that would be the reason to return...to try again as well as other noodle and/or rice dishes. On a return visit I would try the sates as well. Both my dining companion and I compared this restaurant to Lukshon and it fell short (I would characterize both restaurants as AsianFusion). I have seen other threads and know that some CHs think that Lukshon is overdone but I don't share that opinion.

    -----
    The Spice Table
    114 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

    1. n
      nosh Feb 1, 2012 06:42 PM

      Went to Cafe Montana for lunch today. Grilled vegetable salad was excellent, a real melange of eggplant (nicely tender), corn, red peppers, carrot, and a few more over greens with feta atop and a balsamic dressing. My salmon was nicely cooked (I like mine medium) and I liked the lemon beurre blanc. The berry crumble was a nice dessert. More than worth the $16.

      My only issue: Though I was presented with a menu, a wine list, and a laminated card with the daily specials, I had to ask for the DineLA menu. And I noticed nobody else ordering from it. Participation is voluntary -- if a restaurant is involved, do it right. Give everyone the menu and even post it in the window.

      1. n
        New Trial Feb 1, 2012 01:56 AM

        I had terrific dinners at Ocean & Vine (excellent seafood chili, in particular, followed by a small but tasty steak and a decent creme brulee...service started out fine then flagged midway) and Petrossian (caviar egg, flank steak with leeks and foie mousse, and an interesting [in a good way] foie gras ice cream...great service throughout).

        1. i
          issey Jan 31, 2012 06:25 PM

          Went to Fig & Olive and was very pleasantly surprised. The wait staff was friendly and smiled. I had heard the people at the front desk were rude but we did not have any difficulties. Yet, again it might be that we went for lunch instead of dinner. I've heard the bar area is packed on a Friday and Saturday night so maybe the front desk service declines as the volume of guest increase.

          We started with ther BEEF CARPACCIO:Filet mignon, 18 year old balsamic vinegar, baby arugula, tomato, parmesan & SEA SCALLOPS & TRUFFLE ARTICHOKE TAPENADE (add $5). The Carpaccio was perfect and recommended by the people at the next table. The scallops and a perfect crust of brown while being tenders and sweet inside. We also ordered the salmon ceviche which is just ok. The salmon was a bit too over cooked. It was good but not great and I wouldn't order it again. In addition we ordered the bread basket for an additional $9. It came with various jams such as fig, marmalade, mustard, and berry.
          We also requested the rosemary bread..yum with 3 various scented olive oils. The most distinctive of the 3 was the oil with an apple essence.

          For the second course we had TRIO DE LA MER BOUILLABAISSE Grilled scallop, lemon sole, striped bass, côte d’ azur fish soup, shaved fennel saffron garlic aioli and olive oil cracker - Saffron infused Olive Oil. Very good once deconstructed. It would have been a nice touch if the waiter came over to explain each dish but alas we figured it out. The safron aioli came on the side and was supposed to be drizzled into the bouillabaisse.

          ROSEMARY LAMB CHOPS (add $7)
          Grilled lamb chops smoked a la minute with a bouquet of Herbs de Provence goat cheese & chive gnocchi, roasted honey eggplant - Rosemary Garlic Olive Oil were cooked well and well seasoned. The only compliant is that the dish was a bit larger in portion. Three tiny lamb chops given but was not quite filling enough.

          For the 3rd course we had both DESSERT “CROSTINI” Amarena Cherry, Mascarpone, Pistachio
          on Shortbread with Micro-Basil CHOCOLATE POT DE CRÈME Crunchy Praline Financiers & Vanilla Cream. I didn't find the Pot de creme too interesting but the was unique. I'm not sure if I would return for just the 3rd course.

          BTW: Fogo De Chao is no longer including desert with Dine LA. The quality of cuts seemed to have declined just a tad bit. It also could be that they were so mobbed that the meat carvers were a bit messy with slicing of the meat. So a normally thinly sliced piece of meat was more thickly cut rendering it bit more on the tough side.

          1 Reply
          1. re: issey
            j
            Johnny L Feb 1, 2012 01:23 AM

            They also stopped lunch service on Sundays which means the lunch price is only available weekdays which really sucks if you live far from the area. I'm not too sad about the loss of desert since I would have intended to get my fill of meat.

          2. c
            chewbacca Jan 31, 2012 01:51 PM

            I went to Sir Winston's on the Queen Mary....a place I would normally never go but a Monday night business dinner combined with family made it a go. First, I love the boat and the nighttime access and views of downtown Long Beach were sublime. I fel like I'm on the Titanic! The restaurant ison a high deck and on the bow. The bar back by the bathrooms looks like a cool spot and there is a lot of Winston Churchill memorabilia.

            Everyone there seemed to be there for Dine LA except one japanese 4 top. After dinner everyone went out front and took photos and wandered around the ship. I had the smoked salmon appitizer which was good but plated strangely and could have used a couple more toasts for my taste. I thought it was good. My friends had a tomato & fresh cheese salad of which there were too many little cheese balls. Again an extra few bread crisps would have helped. We all had beef Wellington...my first. I thought it was excellent. I couldn't really taste the trufles though. They would have been better in the gravy. The pastry was crisp and flaky and the mashed potatoes and asparagus was also good. Dessert was a pumpkin crime brûlée. If you love Art Deco. And traditional meals .....take advantage of this Los Angeles relic. The ship is also incredibly photogenic. Validated parking is $5/ 3 hours . I parked right in front on a Monday night and the whole place was empty.

            1. WildSwede Jan 30, 2012 05:25 PM

              My friend and I went to Obika Mozzarella Bar yesterday for lunch. Fantastic food, service and weather (we sat outside). Could not have been better. I ordered off the regular menu the Bruschette with tomatoes and olives. $4 for two 4” x 3" pieces of bread with delicious tomatoes, olives and basil. Fresh and cool. From the DineLA menu, I ordered the Crema Di Pomodoro. This was served chilled. Delicious Burrata and croutons on the side and two gargantuan sized basil leaves and a swirl of olive oil on the soup. It was delicious. I needed to add salt and pepper. But fresh and crisp was what I was feeling as I was eating this. My friend ordered the Zuppa de Zucca which was sublime. God, this was good. Creamy with goat cheese, herbs and a swirl of olive oil.
              For the main, I ordered the Lasagnetta which was lasagna with cheese and herbs between the layers of homemade pasta, a very fresh (are you sensing a common theme here!?!?) tasting tomato sauce and small bits of Parmigiano Regiano scattered around. This was perfect. My friend ordered the Burrata with Prosciutto Crudo di Parma. Delicious. 4 large pieces of prosciutto, a ball of burrata, some salt brined olives, pear tomatoes and spinach leaves. Really good.
              For dessert, we both ordered the mini Crema di Ricotta. This was fabulous! They blended the ricotta to make it creamy and then added raisins. On top: honey, pine nuts and orange zest. Perfect ending to an absolutely satisfying and delicious meal.
              Be sure to ask for their bread basket so you can try their house olive oil. It is the first cold pressed and from Tuscany. They sell it there, bright and green. If I had not just purchased some, I would have bought it on the spot.
              This meal was so delicious and memorable, that I think I will be going there for dinner tonight on my way to the airport. So, so delicious (did I say that already?)! It will most likely turn into a place that I will visit a regularly.
              http://www.obikala.com/

              4 Replies
              1. re: WildSwede
                westsidegal Jan 31, 2012 09:05 AM

                +1

                1. re: WildSwede
                  perk Jan 31, 2012 09:52 AM

                  I'm a big fan of this place. I had a bad meal there once....e-mailed the next day....and one of the executives from the company e-mailed me back immediately. He had been there the same night....ordered the same dish....and sent it back. He pleaded with me (swear) to come back and try the dish as it should taste. Went back with the same friend I'd been there with before. (that had not been my first time there....just the first bad meal.) They welcomed us like friends.....couldn't have been nicer (or more Italian!)....and served as fabulous food. Of course, it was all complimentary. Great place....great people....who really care about your experience.

                  1. re: perk
                    WildSwede Jan 31, 2012 10:40 AM

                    That is great to hear. I love it when businesses truly appreciate and value their customers. I cannot tell you how many restaurants I have stopped going to because they just think about the bottom dollar!

                    1. re: WildSwede
                      perk Jan 31, 2012 08:55 PM

                      Yea, it's funny. I went to Scarpetta after it first opened. Had the worst service I've ever had at a high end restaurant. Beyond bad. Also wrote a letter the next day (I swear, I don't do this all the time....only when it's really bad) and they did ask us back. But I don't usually do that,
                      It's certainly an appropriate response. But going back for a "make good" meal isn't a very good example of how a restaurant normally treats people. But at Obika, they were just so anxious for us to experience their food in the way they've intended. They fly their mozarella in from Italy a couple of times a week, and while we were there for the "makeup dinner", they got a shipment. They rushed to the table....very excited....and said
                      "please let us bring some to you. You will be the first to taste this....before we refrigerate it." They literally took joy in serving it to us. How can you not love that enthusiasm and love of food? And I agree. I won't go back to a place that's rude. Way too many choices!

                2. c
                  cdub Jan 30, 2012 09:14 AM

                  went to bld last night. had a truly great meal. the starter was a grapefruit salad that was great. just a perfectly balanced salad. the entree was a perfectly pan roasted bass over couscous. for dessert, had a parfait that was really good as well. great meal. highly recommend it.

                  1. b
                    bohemiana Jan 28, 2012 09:21 AM

                    SPAGO REVIEW for Dine LA 2012:

                    I am going to be critical because I expect quite a lot from Wolfgang Puck and paying these prices. (Although only paid $44 for Dine LA)

                    That said, I have been to Spago twice before about 5 years ago and my memory of it was better than last night. It wasn't bad last night, in fact it was quite good, but it wasn't as amazing as I remembered it to be.

                    First Course: The crab risotto was delicious! This was the winner for the evening. The squid ink was the ingredient that put it over the top. That's the kind of unique taste I expect from a renowned chef.

                    Second Course: I had the pork loin and pork belly. The loin had a nice peppercorn crust and maybe a wine reduction (?). The flavor was nice but not incredibly unique or special. The pork itself was very lean but a bit on the tough side. I have not had pork belly before so I can't compare it but I was expecting something smokey and it was just a braised piece of fatty pork, although very tender.

                    My husband had the scallops. We had read it was a small portion but when he actually got it, it was almost microscopic. One scallop the size of a quarter and the other the size of a half dollar. I wonder what an appetizer size would be?? They had a delicate, buttery flavor but not unique or special.

                    One of our friends paid the $19 supplement for the steak. He got 4 thin slices of steak. No way it was worth an additional $19. It was cooked perfectly but no intense on flavor. You could taste the charcoal edges more than any other flavor.

                    Third Course: Trio of desserts. One tasted like an orange pancake--not very good. One was a chocolate carmel pudding-type thing--the best. The other was a small apple tart with cinnamon ice cream--very good.

                    Service was very attentive.

                    We were torn between Spago and The Bazaar, and I'm glad we went to Spago. The crab risotto was enough to make the evening a success for me even though the other dishes were not standouts. I would definately go back for Dine LA again for $44 although, it convinced me not to pay the regular prices at Spago again.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: bohemiana
                      groover808 Jan 28, 2012 09:36 AM

                      Agreed, went last year to Spago for Dine LA, dinky portions with the extra angnolotti and still hungry......

                      1. re: groover808
                        g
                        granadafan Jan 28, 2012 10:00 AM

                        There's always the debate of quality over quantity. We're all foodies and appreciate great food, ambiance and service. That's not to say we want the massive quantities of stuff that appears to be food at the big chain restaurants that appeal to the, uh, rotund crowd. However, we still don't want to feel like we're being ripped off and leave hungry. Thanks for the review of Spago.

                      2. re: bohemiana
                        b
                        Bert Jan 29, 2012 10:00 PM

                        Re the pork belly, yup, that's how pork belly is served. unless it says "braised bacon," it's not going to be smoky. agreed on spago's DineLA portion sizes. I actually go every year and always order the supplemental agnolotti course. Spago's super spendy, though, so even spending $60 a person (the $44 plus $15 or so for the agnolotti) is still much cheaper than a meal typically is there.
                        For my money, Spago is only worthwhile for the tasting menu (still the best, in my opinion, though it's more and more predictable nowadays).

                        1. re: bohemiana
                          WildSwede Jan 30, 2012 05:32 PM

                          Last year, October, I went to both Spago and Bazaar for DineLA. They are both very different animals. I have been to Spago during DineLA for the past 4 years. I love Spago. I adore their Agnolotti and order it every time (I even stopped by there after dinner at Bouchon to eat it at the bar!). However, when I went last year, it was the first time that we sat on the patio. Apparently, this is not the place to sit if you are a "regular Joe". Service was pretty inattentive. On one of the courses, we sat with empty plates in front of us for almost 10 minutes. That could be all the Industry big-whigs that were sitting around us or Sidney Poitier who was sitting behind me. Either way, it made the meal not as fabulous as it usually is. However, it will never deter me from returning. I am very grateful that they participate in DineLA.
                          Bazaar is amazing. It was probably the most unique meal I have ever had. Maybe even the best ever. Just fabulous. We were treated like royalty and spoiled. Definitely a memorable evening.

                        2. r
                          Ringo Gato Jan 27, 2012 09:51 PM

                          We had a great dinner at the Strand House in Manhattan Beach. Great space (perfect for sunsets). Crazy good soup (squash and chestnut with duck) and hamachi crudo (raw fish and buttery avacado- a combo that is hard to beat). Main courses of perfectly cooked (rare) and creatively seasoned hanger steak and flash seared branzino. Desserts were good but the apps and main courses plus the beautiful space and location (especially considering the dive-bar that had been there before) make the $34 charge well worth it. We'll go back and happily pay prevailing charges.

                          1. l
                            Lambster Jan 27, 2012 08:01 PM

                            Went to Culina last night for dinner. Added the wine paring (3 glasses) for an additional $25. Everything was absolutely incredible, except for the chocolate dessert.

                            1. m
                              manku Jan 27, 2012 07:02 PM

                              Superb lunch today @ Sotto...first time...what a huge improvement over previous tenant (Wood Fire??)...really some of the finest italian food I've had in LA, at very reasonable prices as well.

                              Staff was very friendly...also, they presented DineLA menu with regular menu which I always appreciate...it seems like they are using it actually generate new business.

                              1. a
                                annie Jan 27, 2012 12:02 PM

                                Was at Craft this week for Dine LA. The salmon was perfectly cooked and delicious. Loved the chicken liver pate and the mixed greens, the firecracker shrimp only so-so. The meyer lemon dessert was just the right finish. My friend had the short rib ravioli - unctuous and decadent. The mushroom au jus was the best part! Enjoy.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: annie
                                  Dommy Jan 27, 2012 01:41 PM

                                  Craft always has some of the best DLA menus... it's a deal if you go with 3+ more persons too! More to try! Guaranteed leftovers! :D

                                  --Dommy!

                                  1. re: Dommy
                                    c
                                    chewbacca Jan 27, 2012 06:28 PM

                                    I had lunch at Scarpetta and it was busy, delightful on the patio and the food divine. I had a San Remo cocktail with Campari and bourbon to start. It is now my new favorite drink. We shared the creamy polenta with mushrooms and the beef short ribs with quinoa. Both sublime. Beet pasta type raviolies with cheese and pistachio & poppy seed. Amazing! Also the salmon and more grains but good. The coconut pannacotta was my favorite but the budding was also good and more rich. Excellent experience and I hope to return. Recommended.

                                  2. re: annie
                                    groover808 Jan 28, 2012 07:23 AM

                                    Did you go with just 2 peopls? Some have said the portions a little small. Do you think we should order a side and if so, any recommendations?

                                    1. re: groover808
                                      j
                                      jsandler Jan 28, 2012 10:12 AM

                                      When I went with four people last time, we didn't leave hungry but wished we had ordered another entree instead of cocktails, which weren't that great.

                                      1. re: groover808
                                        TonyC Jan 30, 2012 10:42 AM

                                        Depends how big of stomach you have. If you're used to constantly stuffing yourself at Korean AYCE KBBQs, yes, you will leave Craft barely satiated. If you follow the Chinese adage "7 parts full", then it's perfectly enough.

                                        Going with a bigger party somehow always yields more quantity per person, and I'm not sure why.

                                      2. re: annie
                                        groover808 Jan 29, 2012 08:21 AM

                                        Another Craft report.

                                        Appetizers
                                        - Shrimp: Eh ok, just some poached smallish shrimp with a sweet sauce on top of some fennel
                                        - Winter greens salad: Hearty greens, standard toppings of gorgonzola and walnuts and balsamic dressing.
                                        - Chicken liver mousee: Very creamy and rich, hard boiled diced egg on top and crispy shallots. My first memory of chicken liver is in banh mi so the flavor was very similar but this was much creamier.

                                        Entrees (there were actually 6 instead of the 5 online - add bacon wrapped pork loin)
                                        - Salmon (instead of trout): Huge, thick portion of perfectly cooked salmon (med-rare), at least 6-8 oz portion. The skin was shatteringly crisped, like a paper thin skin cracker. Nice lemony sauce on top of the fingerllng potatoes below.
                                        -Duck confit: Very crisp skin and meat very rich, we got a whole leg quarter between the 2 of us.
                                        - Roasted veggies: Nice little assortment of roasted baby carrots, brussel sprouts, and fingerling potatoes.
                                        - Additional side of gnocchi: Wow, very light and fluffy, perfectly delicate seasoning. Literally tasted like mashed potato orbs barely held together.

                                        Dessert
                                        - Chocolate ganache bars with coconut: Nice and rich semi-sweet chocolate with fresh coconut shavings. There was a tiny bit of salt on top which was subtle.
                                        - Banana and vanilla bean ice cream: Banana was just like eating a fresh ripe banana, vanilla was nice and creamy.

                                        Overall, the appetizers were just ok, loved the entrees. A little sad about just the 1 dessert option, I love lemon desserts. The service was fantastic, although there were misteps here and there, they acknowledged and took care of it (free drink and brussel sprout leaves for 30 minute reservation wait and free gnocchi when it didn't come out with our entrees). Overall, very nice but am I going to run back for the food soon? Maybe, that ribeye for the table some people had looked fantastic!

                                        1. re: groover808
                                          f
                                          foufou Jan 30, 2012 01:04 AM

                                          Craft was an excellent DINELA choice: I had the bacon wrapped pork loin over polenta as my entree choice and it was outstanding. Really well prepared and succulent. My dining companion had the duck confit and it was delicious as well. I loved the appetizers; especially the chicken liver pate/mousse and the kale salad was a nice counterpoint to the richness of the chicken livers. I enjoyed the shrimp appetizer but it was not as memorable as the other first course selections. Dessert was a top-quality bittersweet chocolate tart and banana and cajeta sorbets. We also had oysters as a starter, cocktails, and a bottle of Turley. Service was attentive and there was not one bad note in the entire dining experience. This is definitely a place that I will visit again. Really appreciate chowhounders recommending this restaurant for DINELA.

                                      3. y
                                        yogacat Jan 25, 2012 08:35 AM

                                        loved the foie gras dinner at petrossian last night

                                        1. westsidegal Jan 24, 2012 09:03 PM

                                          had a terrific lunch at Obika today.
                                          will probably go back another few times during restaurant week(s).

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: westsidegal
                                            WildSwede Jan 27, 2012 05:25 PM

                                            What did you order? My friend and I are going on Sunday for the lunch. Thanks!

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