Saturday, February 9, 2008
Friday was the last day of dine about week. Of course I went back up to LA to have lunch and dinner. The menu for here looked pretty good and interesting, so we came to try it. It took us a while to find this place and parking was HORRENDOUS! Fair warning to all, that this is Downtown LA so the rate is $2.50 for every 15 minutes and maxes out at $27.50. I personally think that is ridiculous and astronomically high! So I opted to circle around the one way streets for almost half an hour and I found some parking on Hope street for a flat rate of $6. So word to the wise, come prepared to spend tons of money on parking or search for parking far away. The funny thing is that parking could have been more expensive than the lunch itself!
For appetizer we chose Miso Caesar salad, but it was not brought out as a separate course. We both chose Miso Chilean Sea Bass with a Champagne Yuzu Sauce, Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, & Grilled Vegetable. There was also a Gyoza, Tomato & Cheese Skewer, & Takami Edamame in the obento boxes. Presentation was very modern and gave a more authentic feel.
The only issue I had was that they brought my appetizer, soup, and whole main course all out at once. There was way too much on the table to eat all the food while it is hot. I tried the soup and just left it behind because it was just normal miso soup.
The texture of the sea bass was great, but you couldn't really taste the flavor of the sauce. I didn't even realize that it was Yuzu until I just looked at the menu online. The Miso Caesar was delicious and packed a kick. I loved that there were pine nuts inside the salad. For those that know me, it is RARE that I like to eat vegetables so it must be good. The Gyoza was very unique. It was green looking so I am not sure what type of skin they used. The tomato skewer was different because the cheese's texture was more chewy than normal and light so it really brought out the flavor of the tomato. I couldn't really taste the wasabi in the mashed potatoes, but my friend thought that it was quite strong. My favorite thing was the Takami Edamame. I believe it was sautéed with a delicious combo of soy sauce. Loved the flavor that it added to the edamame. If you like saltier foods than this would be perfect for you.As you know, I usually will order anything that has the word foie gras! I got the Filet Mignon & Foie Gras Robata. The word "robata" meant that the food would be grilled skewers. At first I didn't really like the dish as much, but as I ate more and more the flavors started to kick in. There is very little foie gras wrapped in the filet mignon. To my surprise, the dish came with a TRUFFLE dipping sauce. You wouldn't be able to tell that it was a truffle sauce since it was pink. The server never explained what was the flavor combo or the color but you can taste the truffle and mayonnaise. The skewers were good without the sauce, but having the sauce and truffle flavor mix in was a nice different touch. If I ever come back to this place, I would definitely order it again.
Unfortunately our server wasn't very good at calculating the timing of each dish. He brought the dessert halfway through the main course. I had to stop eating my main dish to take a few bites into my Molten Chocolate Yuzu Cake with Vanilla Gelato while it was still hot. This was one of the main reasons I came here, because I LOVE stuff with Yuzu. You can definitely taste the Yuzu flavor in the center and the cake was moist. Our server left and this lady took over, she was very considerate and took away the melted gelato. She offered to bring me a fresh gelato when I finish my main course and start eating my dessert. The gelato was very bland in my opinion, but I guess it compliments the cake because it is a little strong in flavor. I gave up eating it towards the end.
My friend chose to get Crème brûlée. I found it odd that they gave two Crème brûlées for dessert. At first I thought they might be different flavors, but sadly they were both the original. I asked the new server and she said that the flavors depended on the Chef. They could be passion fruit, macha, or original. You would think they would give two different flavors, but they didn't. I thought that they did an average job on the crème brûlée. The vanilla bean flavor was weak and it was a little to pudding-like for my taste. If it were up to me, I'd go back to Lawry's for their crème brûlée.
All in all the food and portion was good, especially for Dine LA's speciall $22 price. Service was good but had a lot of errors. At least they were friendly about it. The only thing was I wrote in the reservation that we were celebrating a birthday and they didn't do anything, not even a candle on one of the desserts. Overall, I don't think I would make the trip back because of the horrid parking situation and it being Downtown LA.
Takami Sushi & Robata Restaurant
Los Angeles, CA 90017