Archive for May, 2010

Breadbar – Hatachi – Brian Redzikowski

Chef Brian Redzikowski is currently the executive chef at Bond Street. Before Chef Brian’s arrival, it was completely panned by the LA Times as well as food bloggers. With the arrival of Chef Brian, the reviews have been positive and the once empty dining room is hopping.

Brian Redzikowski boasts an impressive culinary background. He attended The Culinary Institute of America on scholarship from Wine Spectator where he graduated with high honors. During his schooling, he completed his externship at Le Cirque 2000 in New York City as well as monthly stages at Alain Ducasse and Le Bernardin.

Chef Redzikowski’s passion for Asian cuisine was sparked early on by his travels to Southeast Asia. During exploration of Thailand, he found the importance of indigenous ingredients in the Thai’s daily lives especially intriguing. On his return to the states, Brian secured a job at Nobu Matsuhisa in Aspen, Colorado.

After his time in Colorado, Brian took the opportunity as Sous Chef at the only three star Michelin Restaurant in Las Vegas, Joel Robuchon at the Mansion. There he executed Chef Robuchon’s signature tasting menus and traditional French Cuisine.

Prior to coming to Beverly Hills, Brian held the position as Executive Sous Chef of Yellowtail Sushi Restaurant at the Bellagio.

Chef Redzikowski’s approach to food is aided by easily working with local farmers to source out the best seasonal product. His cuisine is seen as French inspired dishes using Asian ingredients and executed with a modern technical approach.

http://www.brianredzikowski.com/bio.html

More about Brian here:

http://www.brianredzikowski.com/news.html

Chef Brian is working on a new concept plus a restaurant of his own to be called Claustro. His hatchi menu at Breadbar featured 8 dishes for $8.00 for each course. We ate the 8 course menu, sharing one for two.

Menu

Chef Brian

BYO Champagne

For some reason, many of the photos are blurry and out-of-focus. I apologize in advance; the photographer had an off night.

Tuna Cubes and  Watermelon Cubes, Tomato, Crushed pistachio underneath the tuna, Soy dabs topped by tomato water gelee

Squash Blossom Tempura stuffed with uni and a dipping sauce of Salsa Verde – I liked this so much that I had seconds between course 5 and 6

Deep fried Unagi topped with thinly sliced Fugi Apple, sitting on a bed of thinly sliced potato and accented with the foie gras- there were three pieces of  the unagi creation, but I am only showing one as the rest of the photo was too blurry. You wouldn’t think this would work, but the fattiness of the unagi and the foie complemented each other with the potato and apple adding a contrasting accent and texture.

BYO White Wine (Corkage was $15 per bottle)

Another iffy photo – Langoustine with Ranch Gordo (known for his beans) “Espuma”, Chive –  John devoured the beans and the langoustine was cooked perfectly.

Halibut, Artichoke, Cherry Tomatoes, Hoji Blanca – The olive oil was done 3 ways – olive oil pudding, olive oil foam, and olive oil powder – again Chef Brian knows how to handle fish correctly.

Another lousy photo – Wagyu beef, medium rare with Spring garnish – asparagus, carrot, carrot juice, cippolini onions, morels, veal jus – the beef was excellent but the star of the dish were the the spring vegetables.

Now I can only say that I entered a surreal experience. It was as if I had left one restaurant and entered another with a different chef. The last two dishes were desserts. For my taste, they were just not good.

Asahi Float with Acacia – Beer and honey just didn’t work for me.

Honey Caramel Popcorn with Preserved Cherries – I had visions of a fun dish with pieces of crunchy caramel popcorn topped with the cherries – sort of a trip back to childhood. It wasn’t even close.

It will be interesting to watch this young chef evolve over time and do his “own thing.” He definitely has the talent and doing the Hatchi series is a difficult task for any chef.

Ludo Bites 4.0 – Gram and Papa’s

I have been a huge fan of Ludo’s cuisine and was a very frequent diner at Bastide. I was distressed when he left LA to go to Vegas and thrilled when he returned to LA to introduce his newest concept  — the pop-up restaurant – one type of restaurant by day and then Ludo arrives when they close to “open” his restaurant at night. The latest reincarnation at Gram and Papa’s is probably the best – the kitchen is not make-shift and the BOH can actually function in this space. How Ludo manages to produce such exquisite food in a pop-up restaurant is a feat in of  itself. For those of you who have a restaurant or worked in a restaurant when prep often starts at 8 am for the evening meal, you will understand the incredible passion, dedication and just hard work that Ludo, with Krissy at his side,  produce. Amazing is a huge understatement.

Gram and Papa’s Room

The Open Kitchen

Ludo

BYO Champagne

I had read every blogger’s notes on Ludo Bites 4.0 at Gram and Papa’s.  I spent hours trying to devise a sensible tasting menu. With Krissy’s and Ludo’s editing of my efforts, I must say we were very successful.

I had adored Ludo’s soft shell crab cone at Bastide. There was no question that I had to have this. In retrospect, we could have ordered just one as this was a maxi version of Bastide’s version. All other dishes were one for two.

Crispy Soft Shell Crab Cone, Mango, Red Spicy Mayo, Corona Granite – the corona granite was an essential component as this definitely had a spicy kick to it.

Krissy explained that an entire soft shell was used in each cone.

Cone broken open

No photo – Tartine plate “Warm baguette” Honey-Lavender Butter and Smoked Lard  – John indulged – I didn’t – I wanted to save my appetite.

Marinated King Salmon, German ButterBall Potato, Red Wine Vinaigrette, Creme Fraiche – this was in a word a Michelin 3 star dish – absolutely perfect

White Asparagus Veloute, Mozzarella Mousse, Candied Olive, Fennel Shavings, Salmon Eggs, Foie Gras Powder – this was served cold and the foie gras powder was a new addition to the veloute – the pop of the salmon eggs, the crunch of the powder, the slight licorice taste of the fennel and the smooth veloute made for another perfect blend of taste and texture.

BYO White Wine

Seabream Ceviche, Heirloom Tomato, Jalapenos, Meyer Lemon Paste, Cilantro Flower- As with all Ludo dishes no ingredient is on the plate for show – the Meyer lemon paste was a crucial element of this dish.

Santa Barbara Prawn, Frozen Avocado and a Cocktail Sauce made with Ketchup, Tabasco and Cognac – Who needs a knife and fork?  Just pick up the prawns by their tails, dip in the great sauce and Voila.

“Paris’ Ham Soup, Bread, Swiss Cheese, Radish, Cornichon, Guiness – Krissy explained that the inspiration for this dish came from the Ham and Gruyere Sandwich that you can get in every little shop in Paris. I have had  the sandwich in Paris and yes the soup brought back lovely taste memories.

BYO Red Wine

John, the photographer, forgot to take a picture of the next dish which was a true tour de force.

Foie Gras, Green Cabbage, Kimchi Consomme, Pickled Turnips, Sesame Oil – I wish you could have seen this. The foie was wrapped in cabbage and was melt in your mouth perfect. The kimchi was subtle, but gave the perfect balance to the dish. We were very full and knew we had more dishes to come. We ate every bite of the foie.

Squid “Carbonnara”. Pancetta, Poached Egg (63 degrees), Parmesan Snow, Chive Flowers – I was going to skip this dish as I was getting full. Neither Krissy nor Ludo would even contemplate that decision. I am so glad they didn’t listen to me. I didn’t eat as much as I wanted to, but it was superb.

Rack of Lamb (roasted in its own fat), Goat Cheese, Artichoke, Mint – For those bloggers who say the lamb is too rare just let it be my thought that this is how lamb should be served. Again the combination of ingredients in particular the goat cheese and lamb was extraordinary.

Served with the lamb potato mousseline – I have a feeling this was Robuchon’s take on potatoes – a pound of potatoes and a pound of butter

BYO Dessert Wine

We just couldn’t do dessert and used the wine as our “sweet.”

Brie Chantilly, Honey Comb, Frisee Salad, Balsamic – this was our final course and again I didn’t do it justice – delicious yes.

Ludo 4.0 is a restaurant — pop-up maybe, wonderful food absolutely. This is not a place to order one dish for 4 or 6 people. You miss the essence of Ludo’s cuisine where every element is essential on the plate. You can absolutely order one for two as Ludo can and will accommodate that kind of plating.  What a fun evening with serious BOH (Ludo) and dedicated FOH (Krissy).

David Haskell – Pastificio Defilippis- Los Angeles

As many of you know, David Haskell is no stranger to the restaurant business. His resume is extensive from Guy Savoy in Paris, Le Cirque and Aquavit in New York, Aubergine in Newport Beach, co-owner and managing director of Bin 8945 in West Hollywood, Director of Operations for Jeffrey Best and Sommelier/Director of Operations at Vertical Wine Bar and Bistro in Pasadena. (In the interest of full disclosure, David is my son.)

Well, David has started an exciting new project.

From nbclosangeles – Feast (quoted with a bit of editing)

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/feast/Updating-David-Haskell-and-Pastificio-Defilippis-92211444.html

“Over the weekend, sommelier David Haskell finalized plans to open an Italian restaurant in L.A. with Paolo Damilano, who owns a Torino pasta shop & restaurant called Pastificio Defilippis. According to Haskell, “I’m very excited to team up with somebody whose view of food and wine is the same as mine.”

On May 22, Haskell heads to Torino, which will allow him to “understand 100% of what we’re looking for, but still be able to adjust to the L.A. market.” He’ll meet Pastificio Defilippis’ executive chef and learn the pasta making process. Then it’s on to Piemonte, where Damilano produces wine. Haskell hopes to forge relationships that will allow the L.A. outpost of Pastificio Defilippis to serve wines that were previously unavailable Stateside.

“What we’re doing is classic,” said Haskell, who plans to pour primarily Italian wines, with one or two bottles from the south of France, plus Slovenia. No bottle will exceed $75. As for the food, Haskell wants to visit Italy before finalizing the menu.

For the design, Haskell plans to go with architect George Kelly, who designed Mozza and The Tar Pit.

Haskell and Damilano are planning to open more than one West Coast branch of Pastificio Defilippis. “We’re looking at rolling the first one out, making it perfect, then looking at more,” said Haskell, who also mentioned San Francisco and Portland as eventual possibilities.

The first location, conveniently located, will serve as the hub for U.S. operations. “The executive chef and two sous will come here for two months to make sure it’s running as smoothly as in Italy,” says Haskell. New hires will eventually come to work in Los Angeles before moving on to the next location.

Haskell expects the L.A. outpost of Pastificio Defilippis to be open daily for lunch and dinner, and he’ll be there daily.”

David is well aware that Defillippis is a hard word for Americans to pronounce.  The actual restaurant will be known as PD Pasta – much easier on the tongue, but true to the concept.

Wilshire

Wilshire is such a pleasure to go to. Andrew Kirschner is a very talented chef whose accompaniments to the main protein is  extraordinary – think the freshest herbs and vegetables imaginable. Andrew must live at the farmer’s market! Also I love his introduction of Asian elements to his dishes – there is not a trace of blandness to this cuisine. Your mouth is alive with different  flavor profiles.

Chef Andrew

The service is always spot on and my many questions about ingredients are always answered patiently and correctly. We did one for 2 on all courses except for the softshells. (I don’t share softshells.)

BYO Champagne

Kumamoto Oysters Dynamite – Oysters broiled with panko breadcrumbs and topped with crunchy wasabi tobiko caviar on a seaweed salad – a one slurp wonder with varying textures from the panko, the tobiko and the seaweed.

Hamachi – Absolutely pristine sashimi grade hamachi dusted with a smear of wasabi with pickled ginger and a “salad” of radish, cucumber, red onion and gobo root

BYO White

Soft Shell Crab, coated with panko and deep fried, a salad of English peas, yellow and red baby tomatoes, frisee, watercress leaves, cucumber, pickeled ramps with a saucing of white balsamic, thyme and olive oil – perfectly done soft shells with an incredible salad of the freshest ingredients.

Close-up of the salad for the softshell – look at that beautiful salad – the peas were wondrous.

Grilled Rainbow trout, sautéed pea tendrils, green papaya and mango salad (mint, cilantro, Thai basil and chili) with a fish sauce and topped with fried shallots – Again, there was a definite Asian accent to this dish that added a refreshing note to the perfectly cooked fish.

BYO Red Wine

Rigatoni with Chorizo Bolognese, wild arugula, shaved garroxta (sheep’s milk) – on to Italy for some pasta – Chef Andrew definitely takes you on a culinary tour.

Duck Breast, Bamboo rice, blistered baby bok choy, kumquat chutney and kumquat reduction – we were getting full – this was a half portion!

Wilshire is definitely a restaurant not to be missed. If you live on the Westside, there is the added bonus that you don’t have to fight the traffic. The menu changes frequently, depending on what is seasonal and what is in the farmer’s market. This is anything but boring food and I do love the accompaniments to the main protein.


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