I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately, but Los Angeles’ fine dining scene is appealing to me more than ever before. Maybe Chef Ludo spiked my champagne when I dined at Trois Mec a few weeks back? Really though, what’s not to love about pretty plates, perfectly paced? Just feelin’ fancy…that’s all.
My most recent fine dining explorations took me to Chef Josef Centeno‘s Orsa & Winston, which is “named after two little dogs” according the the restaurant’s website. My date this evening, the lovely D Takes a B, and I settled in for a five-course menu comprised of Crudo, Soup, Grain, Meat, and Sweet for $60.
The 20-course Super Omakase for $195 will have to wait for an occasion when I’m feelin’ fancy and flush.
To start, a refined cheesy broccoli situation consisting of taleggio, broccoli panna cotta, and crispy bits of rye bread. This amuse bouche certainly amused.
The Crudo course came together beautifully, a luscious landscape of ocean trout, house-made creme fraiche, pomelo, and radishes.
In addition to the five billed courses, the kitchen sent out a smattering of “gifts.” This one, known as “Breakfast in a Shell,” featured a sweet and savory coddled egg with sherry whipped cream, pancetta, and maple syrup.
Diana and I, carbohydrate fiends through and through, were most looking forward to the Japanese milk bread, another freebie from the kitchen.
Served warm with house-made butter and black cod “tonnato,” the bread was fluffy as all get out. Neither the butter nor the tonnato was necessary, but that didn’t stop us from slathering with abandon.
The second official course was a brilliantly hued English pea soup garnished with creme fraiche and unexpectedly awesome pickled champagne grapes. Sometimes it’s the simplest preparations that satisfy most.
Even though my friends who had previously dined here informed me that the five-course menu would leave me plenty full, I couldn’t help perusing the “antipasti” supplements available. Always in a noodle-slurpin’ mood, Diana and I selected the Squid Ink Spaghettini ($28).
The made-from-scratch strands were accompanied by sweet hunks of Dungeness crab, uni butter, sardo cheese, and charred kumquats. This supplemental course was simply superb.
By the time the cashew ricotta- and egg yolk-stuffed ravioli with braised beef, fennel foam, butternut squash puree, and grilled squash blossom hit the table, I was running out of gastro-real estate. I could only make my way through half of this uber-rich dish before calling it quits. Perhaps that supplemental pasta wasn’t such a bright idea after all…
Transitioning from savory to sweet, we were treated to a very welcomed pomegranate granita with grapefruit and mint.
For dessert, a buttery and flaky crostata filled with pears and garnished with blueberries and mascarpone.
Presented with the check were adorable mochi lemon candies.
If you’re feeling inexplicably fancy these days like me, go ahead and treat yourself to dinner at Orsa & Winston. And while you’re at it, tack on a bowl of pasta to your feast. It might hurt, but you’ll be glad you did.
Orsa & Winston
122 West 4th Steet
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Did someone say fine dining? My meals of a lifetime:
- Blue Hill at Stone Barns
- El Celler De Can Roca
- Eleven Madison Park
- L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
- Le Bec Fin
- Le Chateaubriand
- Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire
- The French Laundry