Thursday, November 1, 2007
There is nothing not cool about Blue Velvet Restaurant in Los Angeles. Everyone on staff is not only friendly and accomodating, they also offer, in my opinion, above par service. The atmosphere is fun and young yet sophisticated. The location is great, close to Silver Lake, Echo Park, downtown and just a short drive on the 101 from Hollywood. They even have a co-ed bathroom.
The chef, Kris Morningstar, studied at the Cal School of Culinary Arts and has cooked at Los Angeles restaurants A.O.C., Grace, Patina and Meson G. I have enjoyed eating at all of these restaurants (Patina the least, surprisingly) multiple times so it is not surprising that I enjoy the food at Blue Velvet.
We went in on Halloween evening for their special Harvest prix-fixe supper, entertainment and DJ'ing to start on the patio at 9. We didn't love the look of the prix-fixe menu, so we stuck with the regular menu happily, and we drank a bottle of David Bruce 2005 Pinot Noir from the Russian River. I would definitely order this up again. After a 15 minutes breathing session it opened into a surpringly full bodied pinot with a nice depth of flavor. It was pretty great.
The kitchen always sends out an amuse-bouche, which I always find an unnecessary bit of fun and joy. Tonight's amuse-bouche was a chilled cream of parsnip soup. I think it would have been better off not chilled. Because it was 101 degrees in Los Angeles county last week, a chilled soup still seems appropriate, but I think the flavor of the parsnip would have been richer if the soup had been warm. Whatever. This was the least lovely thing I put in my mouth last night, so I think we did pretty good.
To start, I was served the fig salad with burrata & raddiccio in a lovely sweet and savory vinaigrette. Surprisingly, the portion size of the salad was quite large. Blue Velvet is notorious for small portions. This was pretty delicious. I loved the texture of the burrata with the figs, and the dressing ensured that the dish was not lacking in intense flavor due to the subtle nature of the figs and cheese.
My personal song writer ordered linguine with clams to start, and I cannot remember having has a better bite of pasta...it was al dente, house made (I think) and the clams were fresh, in the shell. It was a lovely little dish, and perfect for a starter. I think it would have been too rich for a main course.
As an entree, (Why do they call it an entree? It is not the start of the meal. Whatever.) I had the wild boar. I love wild boar because it is both gamier and more lean than regular pig. I love it. Love love love it. This time it came served rare over a small bed of what I think was creamed spinach, with a couple of nice swooches of pureed sweet potato on the sides of the plate. Nom nom nom!!!
The composer ordered the dayboat scallops, as usual. These were, well I have no idea what these were served with. I looked at them and they were purdy. But really, I have no clue.
We skipped out on dessert, being full as ticks. We had come as much for the food as for the promised entertainment, but said entertainment never materialized. We had been promised a fire eater, a glass walker, and other circus acts on the gorgeous patio between the fire and the pool. The outdoor space of the restaurant is a HUGE selling point, it is nothing short of remarkable. There is a large pool, an outdoor firepit with banquette, and a beautiful view of downtown Los Angeles and requisite palm trees.
We didn't leave until close to ten, and there was nothing more amusing outside than merry makers in various forms of Halloween costume. Sigh. It's just as well. I fell asleep in the car, as usual.