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AOC tomorrow night (and Coni's last weekend)

Still working on bucket list checks before my SoCal departure in a week, and tomorrow night it will be AOC. Unfortunately there's a private event on the patio so we'll be inside; I assume that's not a complete tragedy. What are the "must haves" or highly-recommended dishes at AOC?

Finally hit up Coni's on Sunday after landing at LAX. I didn't call ahead to verify that Sergio would be at the helm, but, thankfully, he was indeed cooking at Sunday lunch. What awesome ceviche, with shrimp, octopus and fish, and jicama and cucumber! Also enjoyed the camarones borrachos. Wanted to try the marlin tacos, but lacked the bandwith. Need to squeeze in a return visit.

Again, what to eat at AOC?

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  1. Their blood orange and kumquat dessert dish that is rightly raved about in the dish of the month thread is a must order if those flavors are up your alley.

    On my most recent visit, I thought their peach, ricotta salad was fantastic. And the Spanish fried chicken is always worth a go in my opinion

    1 Reply
    1. re: set0312

      The blood orange and kumquat dessert is seasonal and no longer being offered.

    2. imho, the dishes you had surpass the marlin tacos.
      i suspect the reason so many folks love them is that the smoked marlin is more "meaty" than most fish.

      5 Replies
      1. re: westsidegal

        Having had everything he listed at Coni plus the marlin tacos, I must admit I think the tacos might be my favorite. But to each their own!

        1. re: set0312

          ah yes,
          we could start arguing about which of the Coni'Seafood dishes are the best.
          then, strictly to collect evidence, i'd HAVE TO go back and try everything again so that i could back up my position.
          maybe you would too.. . . .

          we could agree to have this argument at least yearly.

          1. re: westsidegal

            That would not be a bad way to do it. An annual mid-summer Coni review!

          2. Was at AOC a couple of weeks ago for dinner. spanish fried chicken, lamb tagine and grilled peaches were winners.

            1. in my humble opinion, you did not miss out on skipping the marlin/cheese tacos.

              1. At AOC ...

                Spanish fried chicken
                Bone-in Monkfish tail

                2 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  See what is being cooked in that wood burning oven. Every dish I have had from that oven has been a revelation

                  1. re: maudies5

                    Our fish was overcooked, that was a special from that oven.... Perhaps later in the night the fire is better controlled.

                2. The little gems salad with cara cara oranges was very good, if they are still offering it at AOC. We also really liked the vintners lunch. The bacon wrapped dates are good, but not really as revelatory as I had hoped, and the portion is quite tiny.

                  1. Reporting back. Loved the dinner at AOC. Everything on the menu sounded like something I wanted (in distinct contrast to Rustic Canyon a couple weeks ago, where almost nothing sounded that good to me - and I know that may simply reflect personal taste and that many folks think RC puts out really good food, whereas it did little for me). There were four of us at AOC, and the server suggested we order 8 to 10 small plates. We went with only 7, plus one dessert, and that was plenty. The super-highlights were the sweet corn and avocado salad, the brioche with prosciutto, gruyere, frisee and a fried egg, the Spanish fried chicken and the pappardelle w/ wild mushrooms. I also liked the soft-shell crab with fried green tomatoes, but it wasn't quite as inspiring as the former dishes. The braised black kale was fine, but nothing special. The only thing I definitely would not order again was the shrimp and scallop ceviche. I personally was against ordering it to begin with, but the SO wanted it, and I didn't want to be (or at least not appear to be) a domineering control freak, so I let it go (and thereby forewent ordering the grilled peaches with ricotta, which I really wanted instead, but the SO has a pathological aversion to fruit that is either cooked [so no pie] or is in a savory dish - bizarre, I know!). Anyway, the ceviche was really tiny for the price; tasted fine, but after being at Coni's only a few days earlier, it was clearly a silly thing to order at AOC. The other disappointment was the "AOC bread." Very mediocre to poor bread; didn't even taste that fresh, and I couldn't figure out why they'd name it epynomously (?) if it was not at all special (and it cost $2). But neither of those drawbacks took away from the array of stellar dishes. I wish we had ordered one of the large platters (if we had room); the pile of roasted chicken being carried by our table looked superb. We shared the berry/rhubarb crisp for dessert (despite SO's aversion to cooked fruit). I thought it was quite good. With a delicious Dolcetto (2011 - $50), the tab was $180 before tip. Would love to return to AOC. We had pre-dinner cocktails (and French fries) at the bar at the Hotel Bel Air. Damn, that's a nice spot!

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Wayno

                      Sounds dope.

                      Btw how were those fries ?????????

                      1. re: kevin

                        Fries were quite good. Not sure they were $12.00 good, but we were paying to be there. The cocktails were terrific. $18 per.

                      2. re: Wayno

                        Thanks for reporting back. I am another who does not particularly care for Rustic Canyon. Same reaction as you; nothing particularly appeals to me. I always enjoy dining at AOC, whether lunch or dinner. Food is consistently good.

                        1. re: maudies5

                          maudies5 did you like Rustic Canyon when Evan Funke was cooking there?

                          1. re: wienermobile

                            I loved RC when Evan Funke was cooking there. We were pretty regular customers. Great food and close to home.

                            1. re: maudies5

                              Yes, I do agree with you. It was one of my favorite restaurants during his tenure there...