Archive for February, 2011

Petrossian – Giselle Wellman

Our expectation for our late lunch/early dinner at Petrossian was to indulge in some caviar with blinis and a couple of caviar influenced nibbles. Little did we expect a carefully crafted meal with faultless execution. Executive chef, Giselle Wellman might be young – 26 – but her resume is impressive – Jack’s La Jolla, Jean Georges, Del Posto, Alinea and most recently Bouchon Beverly Hills. I am a stickler for top-quality ingredients handled with flawless technique and a passionate attention to detail. I despise the current trend of 15 ingredients strewn on a plate with the hope that something on the plate will make culinary sense. Saucing is a passion of mine and there should be no shortcuts to a well-executed sauce –  Chef Wellman doesn’t take shortcuts on anything – she is a chef in the best tradition whose resume is the equal of her mentors. This is approachable delicious cuisine in a lovely peaceful atmosphere with exemplary service.

Chef Wellman and GM Christopher Klapp

Our terrific server, Kyla

The lovely room where you can actually have a decent conversation

BYO Champagne

Egg Royale – A hallowed out eggshell filled with soft Scrambled Egg and topped with Vodka Creme Fraiche and Caviar – this dish can be a disaster if the eggs are over-scrambled. Not a chance with Chef Wellman’s eggs – a glorious dish and reminiscent of Jean George’s egg dish.

Perfect eggs

A gift from the chef- Poached Pear and Gorgonzola in a beggar’s purse with 1/8 inch dice of fresh pear and a Tarragon wine sauce – absolutely delicious with perfect saucing. My only complaint is that I wish I had a French Sauce Spoon so I could have had every single bit of that sauce – I did think about licking but manners won out.

Smoked Sturgeon Risotto, Pressed Caviar, Chives, Apple Batons which had been pickled in liquid from chiles – Chef Wellman is a firm believer that nothing goes to waste in her kitchen – every ingredient is utilized to its fullest and served at peak freshness. Another great dish.

BYO Champagne #2

Duck Confit Salad, Apple, Watercress, Hazelnuts – I did my best to get an exact description of this dish (I get a C for description, the dish gets an A) – the duck legs were perfectly crunchy but still moist, not at all dry. The duck had been dry rubbed with pink peppercorns, juniper, salt and sugar. The second star of the dish were the candied hazelnuts that mirrored the texture component of the duck. The greens had been “sauced” with oil from the hazelnuts – any mistakes in description are mine. Enough to say, this was another evidence of Chef Wellman’s expertise.

Striped Bass, Yukon Gold Potato Noodles, Caviar, Chives, Vodka Creme Fraiche – expertly executed bass with crispy skin and the potato noodles were to die for

Flat-iron Steak with Matsutake, Oyster and Shitake mushrooms with pickled fresno chilies. The sauce was a jus with the addition of the “essence” of porcini mushrooms

Vanilla Panna Cotta – served with spherified espresso caviar (a nod to Grant Achatz) and cardamom shortbread cookies (I learned later that cardamom is one of Chef Wellman’s favorite spices)

Meyer Lemon Tart – a take on Thomas Keller’s lemon tart, but not as lemony with the use of Meyer lemons – the meringue was more like a marshmallow so think of this as a marshmallow lemon s’mores

To be honest, we weren’t expecting this level of cuisine. This is heads and shoulders above most of LA’s dining experiences.

Bottom line: We can’t wait to return and probably will just let Chef Wellman orchestrate our meal next time.


Bashan – Glendale

A Roving Reporter “Report”

Nadav Bashan, the chef owner again created a special tasting menu for my friend and me. Thanks to our servers, they hand-wrote the menu for me – no way would I have been able to supply all the details. As the Roving Reporter had to be on a plane very, very early the next morning, the photos will have to tell most of the story.

BYO Champagne

Butternut Squash Soup – pumpkin seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon oil and chili oil

Kushhi Oyster

BYO Chablis

Hokkaido Scallop Sashimi – yuzu aioli, avocado, shiso, candied lotus root chip

Neiman Ranch Asian Style Braised Pork Belly – pickled daikon, braised daikon, ginger garlic puree, shishito pepper

Foie Gras – apple chutney, apple chip, apple balsamic, tat soi, brioche toast

BYO Clos Vougeot

Maple Leaf Duck Breast – braised romaine, cipollini onion, date puree, pickled jalapeno, duck jus

Beef 2 ways – Prime flat iron steak, braised short ribs, salsify puree, pearl onions, baby sunburst squash, baby carrot, veal jus, chimichurri

BYO Dessert Wine

Cheese Plate – San Moure, Kunik, Saint Agur, candied walnuts, rhubarb jam, walnut-currant toast

Bottom Line: I wish Bashan was on the Westside!

Chinois

Chinois is our stand-by, go-to restaurant – close to home, great service and good food. Rene Malta, chef de cuisine, has added new dishes as well as executing Chinois classic dishes perfectly. Anita and Hoel are a terrific service team. To repeat what I have said continually about Chinois, it is crucial that you don’t treat this as a Chinese restaurant and order a number of dishes at one time. We  order one dish at a time and don’t treat this as family style dining.

BYO Champagne

One of our most favorite servers – Anita

Anita and Hoel. Hoel is amazing – although each dish is served family style, he serves each of us a single portion

Moo Shu Shell with Pork Belly and Julienne Vegetables in a Hoisin Oolong Tea sauce – the flavors of this dish were exceptional with the hoisin oolong tea sauce adding a vibrant flavor profile.

Warm Sweet Curried Oysters with Cucumber Sauce and Salmon Pearls – an old favorite executed perfectly

BYO Red Wine

Stir-fried Sonoma Lamb with Crispy Garlic and Mint topped with a Fried Onion Ring – this was to be eaten like a taco using the butter lettuce as the outer wrap and the radicchio as the inner wrap – this was a half portion – more than generous for two people. The lamb was quite spicy, but not unbearably “hot.” This was an excellent addition to our favorite dishes.

Close-up of the lamb

Crispy Glazed Quail with Grilled Pineapple – another favorite

Raspberry Sorbet and Chocolate Souffle

Thinking ahead we decided to order Cantonese Duck and Bao for an at home “take-out” Sunday dinner

LudoTruck

My first time having Fried Chicken from Ludo’s truck!  YIPPPEEEEE!!!!!!

See here for the LudoTruck schedule:

http://mobimunch.com/ludotruck

Side view – back

Side view – front

Back of the truck

May I take your order?

Menu

LudoTruck Inside

Ludo

Chicken Strips (“white, chicken breast strips, complemented with a sultry crisp”), Fries (“Hand-peeled, hand-cut kennebec potatoes”), Ludo slaw (“A freshly hand-sliced concoction of savvoy cabbage, celery, red onion, chives, and Italian parsley leaves dressed to the nines with a jalapeño kick”) and Bearnaise and Barbecue sauce for dipping

Chicken Strip Sandwich

Honey Lavender Biscuits



Morton’s- Beverly Hills

The Roving Reporter:
The roving reporter LOVES Morton’s! I have been dining with Arnie Morton [now deceased] and Klaus Fritsche since before they founded Morton’s in 1978.  Throughout the ’70s, I hung out during Chicago trade shows at Arnie’s on State Street — a terrific restaurant and bar. I had wonderful meals there and was able to entertain clients very successfully.

Now, 33 years later Morton’s is my restaurant of choice for consistently great food, superb service [Elaine our server at table 52 was camera shy] and a place that does it 100% right.

Last night was no exception.  With a very good friend, I was able to have excellent food, great service in an atmosphere where I could actually have a conversation without blaring music in the “background.”  Add two superb bottles of well-aged Bordeaux and you have what I would rate a perfect evening.

Christopher Garrison GM – I always gladly share our wine with him

BYO Bordeaux

Decanting the Bordeaux

Morton’s presents the food – you actually get to see the quality of the ingredients.

Onion Bread

BYO ’85 Beycheveille joins the party

Shrimp Alexander

Center Cut Iceberg Lettuce Salad – half eaten

New York Strip – oozing deliciousness

Potato skin in development

Potato skin refined

Almost the whole works

Sauteed Button Mushrooms added in as another side

Bottom Line – what more can one ask for?


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