Sunday, March 30, 2008

Baseless Tranquility? I Hope Not

I love a lounge. A place for casual drinks, laid back friendly service & music that can generate an ecstasy flashback. (Truly, I can live without the elevatorized house music.) Downtown Los Angeles newcomer Tranquility Base offers all of the above and hopefully they will work out the kinks before summer and in time to make use of their gobstoppingly amazing outdoor space.

We stopped in Saturday night with friends and were impressed with the service and the decor. The menu read well but didn't deliver in all cases. Several sushi rolls, while white washed, were still quite good. The charcuterie plate with duck pate had good quality and nice variety. Sea bass on mashed potatoes was simple and delicious, and the scallops were gobbled down tout suite. They list a decent pinot noir by the glass and the infusion cocktails are lots of fun....LOTS.

However....there is so often a however. The crispy calamari was way overcooked and so were the Parmesan fries. They were out of miso salmon and the tuna tartare appeared to have a mayonnaisey aoili sauce squelching the lightness of the dish.

I love what they are trying to do and since it's close to home and they serve food til midnight, I intend to give them many opportunities to perfect it.

Sushi Days & Shorter Nights

Was it the discovery of a new most favorite lunch spot or the emergence from another winter's short albeit sunny days that has caused me to return to my blog? Who can say. And who really cares?

Fat Fish. South-western corner of 6th & Berendo, in the heart of K-town, my old stomping grounds. I sometimes work in the UTLA building around the corner, and when I do I ritualistically walk through the doors of Fat Fish the second they are unlocked at 11:30 am. I am not a fan of sushi belt restaurants & would never darken the doorstep of an all-you-can-eat sushi joint. I have eaten sushi at the Tsukiji fish market so fresh it wiggled. While the plates at Fat Fish may not meet this standard, the fish there is certainly fresh and surprisingly succulent enough for a mid-week lunch. The price is certainly right. All plates are half off at lunchtime, and by noon every seat at the sushi bar is full. The chefs set food out in a predictable pattern. First come seaweed salads, small bowls of spicy albacore sushi salad, dome lidded salmon sushi with rings of red onion and 5 minutes later or so more exotic offerings start popping out the window. Kaiyaki, ebi, sweet shrimp with roe, and the beautiful whole wheat soba bowl in brown broth with a quail egg cracked on top.

The eda mame is liberally seasoned with sea salt and small hot bowls of tempura (zuccini, yam, onion & shrimp) never make the complete loop past the customers and back through the kitchen.

This is not your typical dark wooded, economical of space sushi restaurant. This has modern day Tokyo writ all over it. Plate glass walls let in the socal sunshine and the mod furnishings remind me ever so slightly of the Milk Bar in A Clockwork Orange. As of yet there is no liquor license but they allow BYOB. When they get one, I expect this to become a destination sushi bar for the hip & hot in the happening K- town neighborhood.