Tuesday, October 2, 2012

ink. omakase

No need to hash out the fact that I love the Voltaggio brothers again. And I know I've already posted on ink. before. But after eating there again for my dad's birthday earlier this year, I felt compelled to share the omakase option at ink.

Although the omakase seems overpriced, in certain ways, it's worth it. There's something to be said about experiencing what, in the chef's mind, is a true representation of himself or herself in a set number of courses. You get to try a further refined version of an already refined menu. And just as the word, "omakase," suggests, you put your trust in the hands of the chef.

The omakase menu is simple, leaving no room for options outside of choosing your dessert.

The five-course meal started off with its strongest: Scallops. These beautiful, perfectly seared scallops came flanked by pieces of silky tofu that mimicked the scallops in appearance. Eaten with the bitter and rich cocoa ash, the soy-based "black vinaigrette," green onion tapioca, and an amazingly delicate rice cracker with bits of nori, this dish was heaven.

It was a quick reminder of Michael Voltaggio's innovative and balanced flavor profiles, playful techniques, beautiful presentation, and Asian influences. Everyone (maybe it was just me) scraped up every last bit of tapioca, ash, and sauce before waiting excitedly for the next course.

The second course was a beautifully simple presentation of Foie Gras. A dragon's portion of cool foie gras with a pair of waffle wings, a pickled shallots and dandelion greens spine, a smoked maple marshmallow tail, and a handful of sriracha fireballs.

This was a flavor bomb. The first few bites were a little strange, but the more I ate, the more I understood the concept and combination of flavors. The rich fattiness of the foie cut through by the acidic pickled shallots, the gentle spicy sweetness of the sriracha accompanied by a toned-down interpretation of waffles and maple syrup. Although it took a few attempts to get the proportions to my liking, a perfectly portioned bite was exactly that: perfect.

My second-favorite of the night was the third course: Branzini. The mushroom oatmeal was almost identical to the Hot Mushroom Cereal from last time, which was a real win for me because that was one of my absolute favorites from last time. The fish flaunted a golden-crisp layer of skin that cracked open to delicate and rich meat. The fragrant and crispy enoki mushroom hay was addictive, and the clean mushroom broth was perfect with the fish's salty skin.

The fourth course was a play on Steak Frites. The beef seemed sous vide. If it wasn't, it was cooked really darn well. Medium-rare from tip to tip with an even sear. Either way, the beef rib cap melted in my mouth with absolute ease. The frites came in the form of potato cigars that were light, crisp, and preferable to a more traditional mountain of fries. The plate also came with a deconstructed béarnaise sauce: an egg yolk purée raked along the base like the sand of a zen garden and two powdery patches of tarragon butter. And because a plate of steak frites would never be complete without some form of onion, the plate came with a couple dollops of pickled shallot jam.

ink. had four dessert options that night, but I raved so much about the Grapefruit dessert and the cilantro sorbet that my family decided to double up on that one. Just like last time, the balance of grapefruit, creamy cilantro sorbet, avocado cream, and charred lime merengue was irresistible. I regretfully didn't ask for another scoop of the cilantro sorbet this time though. So good.

We also had the Apple dessert from last time, which was just as interesting and delicious as last time. The burnt wood ice cream was especially delicious this time.

But the most interesting dessert was the Chocolate dessert. This came with a creamy, dark chocoloate ice cream, spiced tofu cream, fluffy chunks of black sesame cake, and towers of chocolate ganache. I typically don't like chocolate desserts (I know I say that all the time), but this was pretty amazing stuff. The combination of chocolate and black sesame really reminded me of what would be a modern Japanese dessert, and the spiced tofu lightened up the plate with just the right finesse. Pretty great stuff.

If you only have one opportunity to go to ink., I'd recommend going with small plates because you get to try more things. You also get more bang for your buck. But if you're looking to celebrate a special event and want each person to experience each dish in its intended portion, consider the omakase option. Either way, you'll get some kickass food.

8360 Melrose Ave
Suite 107
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(323) 651-5866

GET: To ink.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...