Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dinner #1 at Playa, Playah

7360 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

vodka martini (gasp)

We had an impromptu meal at Playa Saturday (dinner #1) and they really delivered. Playa is clearly the more casual but no less elegant sibling to Rivera. The decor has a similar sleekness but is less dark & moody. The interactiveness of the bar seating is enjoyable, great view of the kitchen and entertaining to watch the mixologists go to town. I have a couple negative things to say about the service at the bar, but instead I'll state what was positive: by the end of the meal we were loving our server and the 180° in attitude he showed us...recommending a dish to round out our meal and the perfect nightcap. 

bespoke cocktail: in the 'tenders hands

maize cake breakfast: 63˚ egg, truffle cheese espuma, exotic mushrooms, spinach

This was my favorite, I love a runny egg and I love truffle anything. But a light whipped truffle cheese with runny egg yolk? Mmm'hmm.

octo-palm: grilled octopus, palm hearts, scallions

This light protein salad was great, it has a slightly tart flavor to the dressing. Tiny grilled tomatoes round out the acidity. The octopus is cooked perfectly, no overly chewy bits or otherwise. You know how octopus can be sometimes.

maize cake gambas; grilled shrimps, spinach, nitro mustard ice cream

This one is really fun. I love the flavors of shrimp and spinach with the crumbly nitro ice cream. The ice cream actually tastes like the sharp honey mustard you might find in a deli.

tamale chipotle: wild mushroom duxelle dumpling, filet mignon, chipotle Bearnaise

This dish is stunning. It was rec'd to us by our bartender/server, so I hadn't read the menu descriptor before we ate it. I couldn't figure out what was making the tamale dark, and was betting on black beans. It didn't taste of black beans, though, and the texture wasn't quite right, it was lighter than black been and masa would be mixed together. Mystery unraveled. Wild mushroom duxelle, one of the most heavenly concoctions created by humans. Mushrooms chopped finely and cooked til all the moisture has been cooked down and evaporated. Duxelle is usually used as the layer outside the pate but inside the pastry in a Beef Wellington. The beef was beautiful and cooked perfectly medium-rare, even D liked it, he who typically likes his beef cooked within a minute of jerky. But the star here for me is the chipotle Bearnaise sauce. Amaze.

The entire meal thrilled me, I might prefer the casual setting and service of Playa to Rivera, which to me is sometimes pretty fancy, yo, for a weeknight-no-occasion meal. Choices, it's nice to have Sedlar choices.

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