Fifty Seven LA and smoke.oil.salt?
Has anybody been to either of these restaurants? Would you recommend?
re: Johnny L
Interesting. Did you see the Kevineats recently went? While I enjoy his blog, I must say, the guy has almost never given a negative review to anyone, so it becomes a bit difficult to tell what is truly great sometimes...
I've been wondering why the place has gotten basically zero press though. It looks like a sort of Red Medicine knock off.
Maybe it's a good thing that cooking of such an apparently high caliber has gone totally unnoticed in LA?
Why would you say the food wasn't worth the money out of curiosity? (I haven't been...and I have too many places ahead of it on a list to go to before going there, but I'm just curious.)
Seems like the current chef has a good pedigree from EMP and Joel Robuchon. Not that this in and of itself would signify good food. The prices seem to be inline with what I'd expect at other restaurants in this caliber. Fifty Seven LA also has a $45 prix fixe for app, main and dessert which seems like a good deal.
When I went to Bestia last week for an 8:30 reservation the valet line at Fifty Seven was packed. I don't know if it was for the restaurant or performance space downstairs though.
If your idea of good food is luckwarm perfectly cut garnishes and vegetables that take 3 cooks to assemble then it might impress you but honestly nothing I ate made me say, wow that was tasty. The jerusalem artichoke dish that Kevineats thought was one of the better preparations of the ingredient was a total clusterfuck of I have no idea where he is going with this dish... strange combination of ingredients that made no sense. I personally did not feel any sort of connection with the food and felt it was making the motions in terms of modernist cuisine but lacked soul.
Better check if the A/C is back working.
Friend of mine was supposed to have pre-Disney Hall dinner there last night, meaning Thursday, and the restaurant called up and notified all reservations had to be cancelled as the building A/C was down for the count.
Whether the case or not, hard to know = maybe someone called up at the 12th hour and wanted to rent the entire place for the night, which happens from time to time in this town, and the money was too difficult to resist.
I had my birthday dinner earlier in the week and ate at Warren's Blackboard in NoHo, with review elsewhere on chowhound.
So I can now report on Fifty Seven LA, and highly recommend it. I thought the food and service were outstanding.
We decided to do the prix fixe with a few shared items to begin. For shared items, we ordered deviled eggs (which turned out to be given as an amuse), fried chicken, pickled garden, and veal liver.
The deviled eggs came first. Excellent. They are described as having a celery relish, but they were very creamy, with a heavy mustard flavor and a touch of bacon. Everyone had questioned why I had wanted to order them, but was very glad we got them.
The fried chicken was not a karaage-style chicken like I expected. They were served almost in a triangle shape, with a mustard sauce, thin slice of jalapeno, pickled carrot, and slice of fried chicken skin. The chicken was perfectly cooked – very juicy – though I did begin to worry about the amount of mustard we were seeing.
Next came the pickled garden. Now I skipped this dish as I had already had a pickled carrot and I generally don’t like most pickled vegetables. Everyone else raved about it and my mom declared the pickled cucumber the best dill pickle she had ever had. I do like pickled cucumbers, but was late to nab one, so I was a bit jealous.
Finally, we got the veal liver, served with some toast. This came as a mouse with an onion jam and some nebbiolo sauce inside the mousse. It was so rich and decadent. One of the best faux gras’s I’ve had since the ban went into effect. Everyone loved this, even my brother who hates liver.
At this point, we were beginning to get full and were beginning to wonder if we had been silly in ordering a three-course dinner. Then they set down house-made butter and their bread – brioche roll and rye. Both were great and the butter was so good that one of my brothers took what remained of the butter home with him at the end of the meal.
Also around this point, Chef Nayfield came out and chatted with us. He said he would like to open his own restaurant in LA. He loves the quality of the product he can find here and says he is looking to solidify investment.
Moving on, we received the first of our three courses. For the first course, I had ordered the brassica, which was a play on a Caesar salad with a variety of vegetables instead of romaine (some pickled), breadcrumbs instead of croutons, and roasted garlic. It worked well for me. All of the different tastes came together to feel like a Caesar, but were also unique. One of my brothers, who has less of an adventurous streak when it comes to food, didn’t like it much.
My stepbrother ordered the Jerusalem artichoke with mole and crema, which he enjoyed immensely. I did not manage to get a taste of it. My other brother had vegetables a la greque, which was a mixed vegetable dish that he seemed to enjoy.
Mains were next. The standout was the roast Muscovy duck for two, which my stepfather and I shared. They first brought it out whole and asked us to name it, before returning it to the kitchen for carving. This was one of the best preparations of duck that I have ever had. The breast was served in two long rectangular slices, one of which had the skin, and there was also a cube of duck confit. It was served with a carrot puree and a simple mix of chickpeas and peas.
One of my brothers and my mother had the heritage pork with spatzle, mustard, beet and apple. Caveat. They are not big pork eaters. While they might eat pork in Chinese or Mexican or in sausage or bacon, we generally never ate pork chops or pork loin growing up. So I don’t think either of them really knew what to expect from the pork chop they received. First, they were both taken aback by the size, which was about three times as large as the duck portion. Second, the pork meat was much milder in flavor than I think they expected. They both thought the pork was bland, though everything around it was fabulous. I thought the pork was good, but I generally don’t expect a pork chop to have as strong a flavor as beef or lamb.
The remaining dishes – halibut with garlic and peas, and amish chicken and mixed vegetables – were quite good.
Interestingly, when my brother didn’t finish his pork and asked for a box to take his home, Chef Nayfield came out again to ask if everything was okay and if there was something else they could get him. We assured him that nothing was wrong and it’s just my brother’s hang-up in wanting to pack his own food. I was quite impressed that the chef would want to ensure that customers were happy.
For desserts, we all ordered one of two desserts the cherry, which was served as a large cobbler, or the chocolate, which was a small dense fudge cake, served on a wafer with a caramel ice cream with wild rice crispies. Both were very strong and intense. And excellent.
Dinner for six was about $550 before tip (but including tax). That included a bottle of Domaine Bruno Clair Marsannay for $110, one glass of white wine, a couple of extra non-alcoholic drinks, and some sparkling water.
Also, one of my brothers was supposed to upload photos that he took so I can copy them here. But they don't seem to be up yet. Once they are, I will add them.