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Oct 10, 2013 04:59 PM

Spago Tasting Menu Report

I took my wife to Spago (her first time, my fifth) for her birthday last night. Before going, I came to look for reports here and didn't find many (any? in the last year or two). So here goes... let me know if this is too much info, too little, whatever!

Our dinner (5 course tasting)

5 amuses bouches!
Tomato cracker (giant "goldfish" style) filled with salmon mousse w caviar
Oyster grilled with salsa and cream sauce
Pork belly macaron sprig of scallion (FANTASTIC!)
Spicy tuna tartar in caramel-pepper cone (love it every time I come to Spago)

Cucumber sorbet with green tea (palate cleanser)

5 courses:

Sweet corn agnolotti with shaved white truffles

Sushi tuna, white tail, other stuff... Okay not great sushi dish. Little too much acid for me.

Fish white cod with foam (bland, a little overcooked)

Beef two ways ny strip and short rib with bearnaise sauce and potato feullie (NY strip was perfect - Short rib had an objectionable spice to I that I couldn't place)
Salmon on (some kind of red) bean with wild mushrooms and mushroom foam. (delicious balance of a basic, hearty dish. Lots of Umami between the mushroom, salmon and beans)

Coconut pannacotta cotta, sorbet , and purple sweet rice. Slice of apple and a bit of caramel crisp (orgasmic)

I had a Nice Malbec, wife had a Bordeaux. Both were nice and balanced, went well with many of our dishes.

Probably was:
Malbec | Weinert, Maipú, Mendoza, Argentina 2006 56
One of the great old-school wineries of Argentina, making delicious, ageworthy wines that belong on the dinner table

Bordeaux | Château Respide-Medeville, Graves, France 2010 16 /64
Black plums, loads of currants, and Dominican leaf tobacco. Cigar box, violets, lead, and the slightest hint of barnyard.

To me, Spago is still the king of LA. Others maybe more au courant, but Spago still does it for me. Service, style, and food (not in that order). Plus, my wife and I met Wolfgang Puck! We shook hands and he wished my wife a happy birthday. I wish she'd have let me take a photo with him. ;(

Oh, and who is saying that the prices are about 30% less than before the remodel?? We paid $125 for each tasting, and with wine (one glass each) water, tax and tip... Whew! we were over $200 each. Not 30% off prices I remember!

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  1. Good report! Tasting menu prices 10 years ago was already $125 if I remember correctly (but was for 10 courses). Given inflation, that is not that all expensive for the quality of food. I agree, there are other new restaurants that are more "hip" and who's food is more in style for the moment, it is hard to beat Spago for solid food and execution.

    I have to try and make it to Spago's for their tasting menu soon.

    2 Replies
    1. re: KTLA

      Thanks! I'm embarassed that I can't remember the flavor of the sorbet in my dessert. It was the single best sorbet or ice-cream flavor I've ever had. Ever. It was completely smooth, melted without a trace, and flavorful without being overpowering. Best dessert of the year for me!

      1. re: KTLA

        Yeah, it was about 120 back then. So given inflation it is not a bad deal.

      2. Whoa, this sounds like the old-school spago tasting menu, from the 5 amuses (including the tuna cone) to the signature agnolotti. I thought it was gone, but it sounds like it's back?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bert

          Yes, I didn't really notice much of a difference from my previous visits over the last 20 yrs. And that's a good thing.

          I guess the biggest difference was that the two biggest courses were smaller than before? But for me, (eating half my wife's food) I was stuffed by the end.

          BTW, the sorbet was lychee flavored.

          1. re: FIDO

            I think the main difference appears to be that the $125 price tag used to get an 8-course menu (which used to feel even bigger due to the 5 amuses). I believe that there used to be a cheese course and a second dessert, which would account for 2 of the missing ones.
            Anyway, given the fewer courses and FIDO's comment about the big courses being a bit smaller, then that would mean that you're getting about 30% less food for the same price, which is the same effective difference as being charged 30% more, which proves that Wolfgang knows exactly what he's doing.

        2. i love that tuna tartar cone too, and that aglonotti dish a classic they've had for some time...glad to hear that some good things haven't changed. i also appreciate that WP is himself there very often, most of the times I've been.

          some of those amuse bouches sounded new and tempting!

          i will say tho that kaiserschlatenn (fluffy pancake thing with the berries and custard/whipped cream) is awesome, but even more awesome is the one at bar beisl with sour plums.

          1. pork belly macaroon?? Tell me more! I can't even picture it.. Is it a pork belly rillette or pate in between the cookies or...

              1. re: kevin

                To avoid possible misunderstandings:

                From urbandictionary, aception # 2:

                ...2. dope
                ...-1. adj. cool, nice, awesome