Review: Shibumi DTLA

Shibumi is a kappo-style restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles. After seeing it on an infinite number of best of and must try lists, I was very much looking forward to this meal. My brother was in town for the holidays and I took him here for dinner. We ordered:

  • Lotus, Sweet Potato, Young Burdock Chips
  • Japanese Sea-Bream Sashimi, Ginger Bud, Pickled Plum-Irizake
  • Iwagaki Oyster, Fresh Yuzu, Shiso Flower & Mountain Caviar
  • Broiled Sanma Skinny Mackerel, Black Vinegar
  • Grilled Heritage Pork In Koji, Pickled Daikon, Leek
  • Steamed Rice (with accompaniments)
  • Koji (R)ice Cream, Apple & Fermented Apple

The chips were interesting, I’ve never had young burdock (nor did I know what it was til I googled it). The sashimi and oyster was pretty standard, but the seafood seemed like good quality. I wish more flavors came through. The mackerel was bit overcooked. My favorite was the Koji (R)ice cream, because it was different and not too sweet. I also had a good drink – French Cider En Flute, Calvados Back so I appreciated that as well.

All in all, I was disappointed. The service was decent, but one of the servers was so soft spoken I just said no thank you to everything he said. If only I had the same experience as Jonathan Gold. I probably won’t be back, if anything for maybe a cocktail while on my way to another dining experience.

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Osso DTLA

LA Weekly called Osso the best restaurant you aren’t eating at, and I couldn’t agree more. I stopped by yesterday for the second time, and it did not disappoint.

Located in the Arts District where the One Eyed Gypsy is located, it’s a nice hang for dinner or drinks. When you walk in there’s no host, or there hasn’t been the last two times I’ve been by which is a bit weird, so you seat yourself. The cocktails are delicious (I had a whiskey sour) .

MUST ORDERS: Sugar Snap Pea Salad. Couldn’t believe how good this was. Creamy thanks to a yogurt and dill dressing. We inhaled this dish. Live Diver Scallop. Served in the shell in kolhrabi, mandarinquat, and lemon basil. Absolutely divine. I have never had a scallop this fresh ever. Skilled Fried Chicken (not pictured), allow 45 minutes to order this deliciousness. Tagliatelle (not pictured) – house made pasta with meyer lemon and pistachios. So fresh and clean tasting.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Kusshi Oysters. Rye Brownie.

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Magnolia Bakery + Kate Spade

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How cute is this collaboration? I adore Magnolia Cupcakes and I have to mentally prepare myself to walk by it everytime I go to Drybar. But this cupcake is forever! It reminds me of the Carrie’s bag in the first Sex and the City movie. They definitely put more frosting on the real ones.

Photo Credit: Kate Spade

Bad Review for Alma. Sorry not Sorry.

I never write anything negative on here and only post about things I LOVE….but after getting an email from Resy this morning about Alice Waters’ favorite restaurants in LA, it got me a bit angry. I actually agree with her picks of Mozza, Sqirl, and Gjelina but absolutely not Alma.

First off, of course Alice Waters is going to get impeccable service at Alma – but if you’re “no one,” (LIKE ME!) that is likely not the case. She probably didn’t have to wait FIFTY minutes past her reservation time to be seated.

That being said, I’m simply reposting my Yelp review for Alma, Bon Appetit’s Best Restaurant in America 2013::

I was really really excited to try Alma. There was nothing getting in the way of enjoying this meal!

We arrived promptly at 8:30 PM for our reservation. After about 15 minutes I looked around at the 12ish tables and it didn’t look like anyone was leaving anytime soon. 5-10 minutes later the hostess said it’ll be “about” 10 more minutes.

A lesson in customer service to Alma: PLEASE be honest when you’re throwing out numbers like that. You don’t have a full bar and we would’ve gladly went across to the Ace, grabbed a cocktail or two and come back if we were simply told that the way was going to be much longer. Seriously. Don’t fucking lie.

Finally we were seated at 9:20 and I was HANGRY, angry and annoyed at this point. We were here for my friend’s birthday which is the only reason I didn’t throw a full on tantrum at the staff.

My friend wanted to try the Market Menu – which I have a confirmed email from Alma saying that they would have it. They didn’t. There were guest chefs from Bucato so they only had the 8 course menu. Strike 2.

The service was very sub-par. This price level is up there with Son of A Gun, Providence, Bestia, Mozza – the service should be at that level. I felt like I didn’t really know who my server was and one of the food runners was like “Can I put this plate down?” when my friend was trying to finish her oyster.  RUDE. You don’t work at Red Robin but maybe you should. Much better service at other places in the area – Preux & Proper, LA Chapter (even though the food isn’t that great), Terroni, The Gorbals, Wood Spoon to name a few.

I didn’t get to write down all the descriptions of the food mostly because I inhaled them immediately and partially because they were mumbled at me, but we had:

oysters
artichoke
uni + english muffin
tofu beignet
some kind of fish
sunchoke soup
pasta
another kind of fish
lamb
fluffy ice cream/icey/foamy dessert

My favorites were: oysters, artichoke, sunchoke soup, 2nd seafood dish. Nothing was that memorable and that’s what I was really hoping for.

It still wasn’t nearly as good as I was hoping seeing as how this is Bon Appetit’s Best Restaurant in America 2013.  Absolutely not worth $95 and an hour wait.

Here’s some photos of the food I begrudgingly ate.

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Preux & Proper DTLA

Preux & Proper is a new little restaurant that took the place of my much beloved Parish in a flatiron building in downtown LA. Same owners as Five0Four in Hollywood – a little New Orleans style watering hole, this is like the upscale restaurant version of it. The downstairs area seems more like a bar where you can sit and havea a daquiri and some little bites, but I prefer the upstairs where you can sit at the bar and look out the second story windows to Spring Street.

I’ve been twice since they opened in mid-December and I’ve basically had everything on the menu at this point.

My recommendations as far as food are the lobster po boy (served cold – more like a lobster roll), grilled beef short ribs, oysters, kale & quinoa, pecan pie (pictured), and banana bread pudding.

They have punch bowls for $40 that are absolutely worth the money if you have more than 2 people or plan on having more than a couple drinks. The Category 6 is my favorite (Midnight Moon strawberry moonshine, pineapple juice, orange juice, lime juice, passionfruit syrup, grenadine, Bacardi oakheart) but it’s VERY VERY dangerous.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Now, hop, skip, jump, and run your way over to this spot while it’s still not too crazy. K?

Preux & Proper
840 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA — 90014

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Le Bernardin – NYC

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My cousin works at Le Bernardin in NYC – a triple Michelin-starred french restaurant originally helmed by Gilbert le Coze and now Eric Ripert. I sat at the bar because otherwise the meal would’ve been upwards of $1000+ and I have yet to win the lottery. The service is friendly (even before they knew I was my cousin’s cousin) and not pretentious at all. Restauranteurs take note.

Their cocktails are delicious – my favorite being the Immortal Highlander – 2nd photo (Highland Park 12 year Scotch, Oloroso Sherry, Amaro Montenegro, Heering Cherry Liqueur). Their manhattan (pictured in first photo) came in a close second. The bar bites of popcorn, candied walnuts and seaweed covered pretzel sticks were never-ending – showing how good the service is. It’s like bottomless pasta at Olive Garden but about a million times better!

The tuna tartar (not pictured) was as fresh as ever as were the freshly shucked oysters.

My favorite of all was the Tropical Pavlova (Caramelized Passion Fruit Pavlova, Exotic Fruit Salad) deliciousness. The Pavlova melts in your mouth and the fruit salad brings together all the flavors of the pavlova, fruit salad and sauce together. Heaven is how I can best describe this dish.

Stay warm NYC.
 

Restaurant List – Los Angeles

I have a never-ending shopping list AND a never-ending restaurant list in my phone. I love lists!

It seems that there are a ton of restaurants in LA I’d like to try in the near future – especially with DineLA at our fingertips.

Here’s my wish list: