I liked my first dinner at Otium well enough, but I loved my second dinner even more. Chef Tim Hollingsworth has hit his stride in the three years since I last visited, and the food and drinks coming out of the kitchen are some of the most thoughtful and delicious in the city.
My friend Liz and I came in for a weeknight dinner. The dining room was a lively hub of noise and conversation filled with neighborhood worker bees unwinding and a few families fueling after a visit to The Broad.
Crafted by Chris Amirault, all of the specialty cocktails this evening employed a different culinary technique. My Rhumble in the Jungle ($15) with Rhum J.M. Gold, fermented pineapple, chartreuse, and salted almond highlighted the joys of fermentation.
The freshly baked naan with all the fixings made for a terrific starter ($75). The bread was fantastic eaten straight and lavished with glorious fixings like truffle butter, lardo, and chicken liver mousse. To mellow all the rich spreads were salmon roe and Royal Ossetra caviar.
I adored most everything on the plank, but the A-5 Wagyu ($28) “nigiri” with Tamaki rice and black truffle was a standout.
Next we shared the albacore ($26), which arrived swimming in the loveliest tom kha broth and topped with crispy shallots.
The hamachi ($21) hit a different, but equally fetching note with nori, avocado, and sweet and sour tomatoes.
The barely cooked Santa Barbara spot prawns ($38) tasted of smoke and the sea, a glorious combination of flavors.
The dry-aged beef tartare ($24) has been on the menu since day one and for good reason–it’s totally solid. Served on lavash and fortified with bulgur wheat, the tartare is a must for first-timers and regulars alike.
Another menu mainstay is the spinach bucatini ($26), an awesomely decadent bowlful of bacon, eggs, clams, and parmesan.
The kitchen knows its way around a can of coconut milk, and the octopus with green garlic was all the better for it ($26). Mmm….
My favorite dish of the night was the hamachi collar ($42), which was cooked to flaky tenderness with an incredible crab gastrique. Coupled with the Tamaki rice and bevy of herbs, the dish reminded me of Vietnamese caramelized catfish, one of the most comforting dishes ever.
The final savory powerhouse of the evening was the dry-aged duck breast ($42) with a morel farci (stuffing), rhubarb, and snap peas.
Pastry chef Allison Osorio’s trio of desserts provided the perfect finish. The most spectacular was the riz au lait, a wonderfully decadent French-style rice pudding with rhubarb, pistachio, Meyer lemon, and plenty of chantilly cream folded in.
The banana rum hazelnut petit gateau tasted like the fanciest banana bread.
And finally, a nibble of the chocolate brown butter bar with coffee, passion fruit, and cardamom.
Otium just keeps getting better and better.
222 South Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
One year ago: California Love, Eater Style
Two years ago: Best Noodle House – Rosemead
Three years ago: Carbone – Las Vegas (Aria Resort and Casino)
Four years ago: China Tasty – Alhambra
Five years ago: L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – Las Vegas (MGM Grand)
Six years ago: Chengdu Taste – Alhambra
Seven year ago: Le Beurre Noisette – Paris
Eight years ago: Wafels & Dinges – New York City
Nine years ago: Fortune Cookies – Los Angeles (Hollywood)
Ten years ago: Mr. Baguette – Rosemead
Eleven years ago: A Day in Tagaytay, Philippines
Twelve years ago: Đậu Hủ Xả Ớt – Fried Tofu with Chilies and Lemongrass