Posts Tagged ‘comfort food’

Food and drink with a view: Vu Restaurant

Let me preface this post with this statement: This restaurant is in Marina del Rey. Unless you live in Marina del Rey or really close to it, you probably don’t frequent the area much. I know I don’t. But I may start now that Vu Restaurant has opened at the waterfront Jamaica Bay Inn, which just underwent an extensive makeover.

Vu (pronounced “view”), which just opened this month, turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me, despite some hiccups at the bar (make sure head mixologist Jolie Klein makes your drinks, and you’ll be golden). The food’s origins are all over the map, literally — there’s Asian, Italian and good old American, among others — and even some molecular gastronomy thrown in. A bit confusing, but somehow it works. Here are some of the highlights from my dinner there last week.

The pork belly sitting on a crispy cake of grits and topped with root beer gelée was my favorite bite of the night. As Lindsay William-Ross, editor of LAist, noted, the flavors were reminiscent of chicken and waffles. I liked this because the root beer wasn’t overpowering but lent just the right amount of subtle sweetness to complement the dish.

Pork belly on crispy grits topped with root beer gelée

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20

12 2010

Lots of style, little substance: First and Hope

First & Hope, the gorgeous supper club in the not-so-gorgeous strip mall at the corner of 1st and Hope streets (clever, huh?) in downtown Los Angeles, certainly has lots of style. From the mood-changing lighting in the sleek dining room to the servers outfitted by “Mad Men” assistant costume designer Allison Leach, the restaurant screams class. I just wish the food spoke as loudly to me — in a good way.

I had visited First & Hope once before during its preview night when the atmosphere was close to mayhem. It was very crowded, and while the servers did their best, it was hard to get a good idea of what the food and drink should have been like.

So when presented with an invitation to have dinner at the restaurant under normal circumstances, I decided I would give the place another chance. I would have a proper meal and make a better-informed decision about First & Hope’s merits.

And I’ve made my decision: I would only come back here for one, maybe two, dishes.

You see, the menu sounds good; it reads like a food blogger’s wet dream, with foie gras, bacon and pork rinds littered all over its comfort food-centric offerings. But First & Hope leaves much to be desired in execution.

First, the cocktails. Nearly every one contains some kind of bubbly, no doubt an homage to the vintage style. I get it, but I thought the drinks were just OK, which was pretty much my summation after the preview party, too. I had an Elle for Leather, made with Famous Grouse scotch, vanilla syrup, “a touch of effervescence” and garnished with a vanilla pod. It smelled amazing due to the vanilla pod but tasted light on the scotch.

Elle for Leather. There's a blue tint because of the mood lighting.

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03

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