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Oct 22, 2012 01:32 PM

LA's great "new" small plates hot spot -- Spago (!)

Three of us had a really great meal at new Spago last week.
Prices are down about 30%, plates are built for sharing - duh, ya think they are going for a younger crowd? The room is toned down color wise and seemed much less noisy.

The menu has gone global in many fresh exciting ways; the Austrian favorites of Puck's youth are, sadly, gone. Wolfgang has always been known for incorporating Asian elements into a Cal-Med base but the new menu seems far more Eastern leaning than ever. There is a even a nori-butter served with the breads.

The dishes I can recall:
Chino Ranch Salad (pretty much the same as always)
Octopus ceviche - great
Large spot prawns served with fried heads and a nori-butter sauce - delish
Jidori Chicken Breast & Leg Pastrami, Rye Crisp
Sweet White Summer Corn Agnolotti, Parmigiano Reggiano

The on-line menu mentions one of my favorite things he used to do, but they were not serving it last Thursday: "Whole Roasted Chinese Duck, Bao Buns, for the table"

All in all we enjoyed the evening more than we expected and found the changes promising...especially the lowered tariff. I do not know if they still do the tasting menu.
Worth a visit for sure.

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  1. I heard it was very much like WP24, but not as Asian.

    (A similar Roasted Duck dish is on the WP24 menu.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      That was not my impression at all.
      My one meal at WP24 was nothing like the new Spago.
      24 was a very expensive, "high-end" Chinese meal - much like Shun Lee Palace in NY but not as well-executed.
      The new Spago (other than the duck dish which was not even being served, and a "Hong Kong" lobster) had little Chinese influence. Rather the elements of Japanese, Indian, and Indonesian were on hand. And the prices - at east for now- were much less (pun intended).

      1. I'm with TonyC on this.

        I went to new Spago about a week ago for dinner (maybe I'll do a separate writeup later). The remodel looks great, but the je ne sais quoi "special-ness" that was Spago was somehow missing. Make no mistake: Chef Tetsu Yahagi's creations are (for the most part) very tasty, but it's not the Spago of old.

        1 Reply
        1. re: J.L.

          I thought the old old Spago (on Sunset) was often disappointing. Food was never bad, but I never had anything close to what I would consider a spectacular meal.

          The newer one had very good food - had a few pretty stellar meals there - but the decor wasn't anywhere near up to the food. Looked amateurish in design on a number of levels. I haven't been to newly furnished digs, but a departure from the Spago of old sounds like a step in the right direction. Hopefully it is a step in the right direction. Hard to tell from the pics - but it looks sleek and unoffensive. Perhaps a bit dull (did the design pendulum swing a little too far in the other direction? )

        2. Sounds like a work in progress. Maybe check back in a few months.