Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pizzeria Ortica

Recently I was tasked with selecting the restaurant for my wife's birthday dinner outing with her family, with the intent on keeping the place in or near Anaheim since that's where her mom resides. The limited dining options in Anaheim are, well, very underwhelming; let's just say that Anaheim is not a foodie destination. Knowing this, I decided to venture out from our usual comfort zone and have us take a small road trip to South Coast Plaza--a place beaming with upscale eateries such as Marche Moderne, Pizzeria Ortica, and Mastro's. One of those places, Pizzeria Ortica, happened to be on my very short list of must-try Orange County restaurants and so of course that is the place I selected for our dinner.

We arrive for our 6:30pm reservation and found the restaurant to be very busy with well-dressed diners grabbing an early dinner before attending a show at the adjacent Orange County Performing Arts Center. Owner and chef David Myers opened Pizzeria Ortica in January of 2009 and since then it has been attracting a lion's share of attention from food bloggers and reviewers. Chef Myers also owns the highly acclaimed Sona restaurant as well as the upscale brasserie Comme Ca, both of which are in West Hollywood. With that kind of build up, you can bet I was looking forward to experiencing first-hand what chef Myers has to offer.

We take our seats and begin reviewing the menu, which was categorized into antipasti, salads, pastas, pizzas, and side dishes.

My wife looks over the short but well thought-out wine list, samples two different wines, and ultimately zeroed on this Cavaliere Sangiovese for the group. It was a fine choice as I enjoyed the aroma and the subdued tannins, which all made for a very drinkable wine to with our gamut of dishes to come.

Carciofi alla Romana - Roman style braised artichokes, shaved ricotta salata. We start with this antipasti of braised artichokes and slivers of fresh ricotta. The artichokes were cooked to a point just slightly past firm, allowing the artichoke's layered texture to come through nicely. I enjoyed the pairing with the chilled ricotta and the earthiness of the light olive oil.

Tricolore - Radicchio, arugula, endive, apples, Gorgonzola, candied walnuts. I almost never order a salad when dining out, nor do I even take a few bites when I'm ordering family style, but I did enjoy this simple combination of fresh greens, Gorgonzola, and walnuts (which the birthday girl ordered). I wished the Gorgonzola had been crumbled over the salad, but instead it was served in large chunks off to the side. They weren't exactly easy to slice cleanly so that made for difficult combining of the cheese, the salad, and the walnuts.

Polipo e patate - Charred Mediterranean octopus, Yukon Gold potatoes, celery hearts, Sicilian capers. The octopus might look burnt, but it was actually cooked just right with a nice char on the outside; there was not hint of any burnt taste. Cooked octopus loses its ocean-like flavor that one would experience with, say octopus sashimi, but this was tasty nonetheless. In fact this was better than the version I had at Cube last month. To me the potatoes and the other items were simply afterthoughts for the plate as their flavors weren't spectacular by any means. I'd rather pay more for this to get more of the octopus.

alla Norma - Cherry tomatoes, basil, eggplant, smoked mozzarella, ricotta salata. My regular readers know that I make home-made pizza quite often and that I've already declared my creations to be better than anything you can get in LA. Coming to this David Myers' restaurant--with the name "Pizzeria" in the restaurant's name--you can bet was expecting some damn good pizza, but unfortunately Mr. Myers' version fell far short of what I was hoping for. It's intent on being Neopolitan style with a thin, fold-able crust and sparse placement of toppings, but unfortunately the crust was incredibly soggy. So soggy was the crust that it made for very difficult and messy eating with the hands. Also, the eggplant brought almost no flavor to the pizza because they were simply overcooked and under-seasoned. I enjoyed the cherry tomatoes and the outer, chewy portions of the crust, but other than that, this was a disappointment.

Moving on, we continue to order dishes from the Primi and Contorni menus.

Patatine montanare - French-fried Kennebec potatoes, sage, aged balsamic. You wouldn't think to see fries at a Italian restaurant, let alone order them! But I must say that these were quite good. You'd never mistake them for the triple-cooked fat fries at Umami, but they had a unique, slightly acidic taste with the balsamic vinegar. A little more vinegar would have been welcomed, though that might have lead to soggy fries.

Ravioli di burrata e ricotta al pomodoro - Burrata ravioli, fresh tomato, basil. Small in size, and small in flavor is how I'd describe these ravioli. Pastas here are house-made and you can tell the difference in the texture--it's got a certain bite to it that boxed pasta simply lacks. The dish however suffered from not having any distinct flavors; the ricotta was mild, as was the sauce and so the overall taste was simply underwhelming.

Cavolini di Bruxelles - Roasted Brussels sprouts, bread crumbs, hazelnuts, lemon zest. Again here's a dish that has the appearance of being burnt, but it's simply a wonderful char on the outermost layer of these Brussels sprouts. I couldn't taste much from the hazelnuts and lemon, but the crunchy bread crumbs brought a nice texture to the dish.

Pappardelle al sugo d’agnello - Pappardelle pasta, braised lamb ragù, sheep’s milk ricotta. The last savory dish of the night was also my favorite from Pizzeria Ortica. Biting into the house-made pappardelle and tender braised lamb was so pleasurable that it easily made up for the soggy pizza letdown. A thick, heavy cream sauce stuck to the pasta like motor oil on the side of its container. This is definitely a stick-to-your-ribs kind of dish. A must order if you're ever dining at Pizzeria Ortica.

After our dinner, the server brought out a piece of tira misu cake for my wife, complete with a single birthday candle logged to the plate with a little candle wax. The cake was actually quite good with strong notes of coffee and a wonderful butterscotch sauce.

Overall the food at Pizzeria Ortica was solid and I'd definitely come back if I'm in the area and have a craving for Italian fare. The service was good, especially with how they allowed us to sample a few wines before committing to a bottle. About the only service gripe I have is that it took quite a while for the bread basket to appear and we had to ask several times.

But the night of eating wasn't complete just yet as we had this raspberry chocolate cake--which I painstakingly made at home--waiting patiently for us at my mom-in-law's house.

I'm probably patting myself on the back by saying this, but it was easily one of the best desserts I've had in a long while. Luckily for my readers (all 4 of you, worldwide), I am going to post the recipe very soon =).

Pizzeria Ortica
650 Anton Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Manna BBQ

Korean BBQ is easily one of my favorite types of cuisine. After all who doesn't crave huge plates of intensely-marinated meats cooked over table-top grills, a bountiful display of colorful side dishes, and an ice cold bottle or two (or three) of soju? And so I was quite excited when I learned that an authentic Korean BBQ restaurant was opening within walking distance of my job. Located in the recently remodeled Fox Hills Mall--now labeled Westfield Century City--Manna BBQ is not exactly on par with the best BBQ joints in Koreatown, but considering we had absolutely no Korean restaurant within walking distance prior to Manna, it suits us just fine.

A quick 10-minute walk is all that separates us from the entrance of Manna, and once or twice a month we make the short trek to get our Korean BBQ fix. About a month ago we actually attended a conference call while in the restaurant, while we were literally grilling short ribs over the flames! Yes we love to eat!

A sleek, modern interior greets you as you walk in the restaurant. Every table has a grill, and one of these call buttons to summon your waiter:

Manna's menu has a decent gauntlet of Korean fare such as bibimbap, soon tofu, chapchae, kimbap, and of course BBQ. I typically go for bibimbap as it's a quick and somewhat light meal, but I've certainly had my share of BBQ gorging during past lunch outings. This review covers three different outings where I tried BBQ, soon tofu, and bibimbap.

Like any other Korean BBQ establishment, all meals start with small side dishes known as banchan. Although the variety and quality may not be up to K-Town standards, the provided dishes are all solid and nicely prepared. Manna will restock any banchan upon request, or at least I've never had someone say "no" when I've asked for a fourth plate of kimchi.

Steamed egg banchan. Easily one of my favorite foods from any restaurant, period. It's light, fluffy and served bubbling hot in a thick, heavy bowl. The seasonings are kept to a minimum with just a sprinkling of scallions and a dash of salt. None of my coworkers particularly care for this, so all the more for this blogger. During our last visit I downed nearly two bowls of steamed egg--and the staff will bring out another if you so happen to be on a ravenous steamed egg diet.

Potato salad banchan. Delicious! How I can resist eating plate after plate of this is beyond me. Manna does an excellent version of this dish with sizable chunks of potatoes that are cooked a little on the crunchy side and lightly dressed with mayonnaise.

Kimchi. It's nowhere near as pungent or spicy as what you might get in K-Town, but it's still good, and of course the nice Manna staff will refill this to your heart's content, or until your coworkers start to think you're not being fed at home.

Coworker proudly displaying a chunk of fat used to grease the grill. Side-venting gas grills are employed here and they do a fantastic job of keeping the smoke from penetrating your business-casual outfits.

Another pic of that gloriously wonderful steamed-egg banchan, just because.

You'll need to ask for eggs when you order bibimbap or soon tofu otherwise you'll get no such yolk goodness in your bowl. I suppose a west sider or two was shocked at the sight of a raw egg in their bowls. Fear not, though, because the staff will bring out a bowl of raw eggs upon request. Crack away!

Soon tofu with seafood. I've cracked an egg into the bowl to complete the meal. Soon tofu is a very spicy soup with tofu and usually meat or seafood mixed in the broth. Manna's version is lacking in heat and the tofu's texture was quite runny. I enjoyed what little seafood was in there and I could probably count on one hand the number of clams or squid I scooped. Needless to say it needed more seafood and more heat. I've had far better bowls of soon tofu elsewhere, so you might want to skip on this.

Dolsot bibimbap with seafood. This is perhaps one of my favorite meals of all time and I could probably eat this everyday and not become tired or bored with it. What's great about Manna's version is that it's gargantuan in size, it's relatively cheap at $10, and it's not too oily. When you crack an egg over the ingredients (which are sizzling upon arrival), it scrambles slightly and what you end up with is a dreamy combination of silky and firm egg textures to compliment your rice, veggies, and protein. But wait it gets better. When you get to the bottom of this, you're left with what I almost consider a dessert course: the golden, sticky rice that has been charred from the intensely hot stone. A metal spoon is all you need to scrape the crispy rice.

BBQ lunch special. A plate of meat for the grill--I believe this is short rib, pork, and brisket. Don't come here expecting prime cuts of beef like at Park's or Chosun Galbee. Instead, just be happy that authentic Korean BBQ exists nearly west of the 405 freeway. The beef here is a little gristly, a little fatty, and marinated for far less time than it ought to be. For $13 you can select three cuts of meat, or for $17 you can feast on unlimited servings of meat--followed by absolutely zero productivity when you return to your work desk.

The service is, well, probably slightly worse than most restaurants in Koreatown as the servers rarely check on you and you'll need to ask for just about everything--including the bill which seems to appear ever so slowly when you're in a rush to make your 1pm meeting. However, the cooked dishes do come out quickly and the servers are always happy to bring new plates of banchan to your table.

Although Manna is not what I'd consider a destination Korean BBQ place, it is on the west side and the surrounding options are very limited, so consider this more of a convenience for when you're in the area and are craving Korean BBQ.

Manna BBQ
6600 Sepulveda Blvd., #2200
Culver City, CA 90230

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Upper West

Recently a neighborhood friend alerted me to a newly opened restaurant--Upper West--located just a mile or so from our residences in West LA. You'd think I would have been all over a nearby restaurant opening but somehow this place eluded me. Am I losing my credibility as a crazed foodie? I don't think so! Anyway, the restaurant was in its prior life Santa Monica Bar and Grill, and after months of renovation an all-new eatery has emerged with an all-new interior, new owners and staff, and a vibrant menu of American fusion dishes. Championing the kitchen is Nick Shipp, who once worked under Wolfgang Puck and was formerly the head chef at Pete's Cafe and Bar near downtown LA. Last Thursday night I decided to round up some coworkers for dinner at drinks to see what Upper West has to offer.

I arrived a few minutes past 5pm--the restaurant's opening time--and met up with a few coworkers who had just walked in. The interior is modern, plush, and tastefully outfitted with mattress-sized prints on the walls, hanging globe lights, and a monstrous projection TV in an enclosed patio. Upper West boasts a full bar with specialty martinis and a handful of wine and beer offerings, some of which are offered at $4 until 7pm. After a few minutes of studying the drink menu, I decided on the Pepperoncini Martini with Casadores Reposado tequila, pepperoncini tomato juice, Belgium white beer:

It's served in a chilled glass with salt pressed against the rim. Strong flavors of tomato and pepper give the drink a tangy and savory profile; think bloody Mary but with no pulp and a thinner consistency. I couldn't taste much from the beer, but the smokiness of the Casadores tequila (of which I have a giant Costco bottle at home) came through beautifully and wasn't overpowering. I loved this; in fact it reminded me of the Blood Sugar Sex Magic at Rivera, but just slightly less refined and much cheaper at only $10.

My coworker Sarah orders a Lychee Martini with Pisco Barsol, lychee juice, and fresh lychee:

The menu at Upper West is simple but intelligently put together with a variety of new American dishes such as a steak frites, dry-aged burger, seared sea bass, and burrata caprese. Anyone will find something to suit his or her palate. Our group starts with some appetizers and then moves onto the larger entree items.

Seared beef carpaccio - Quick seared beef tenderloin, wild arugula salad, basil balsamic dressing, horseradish aioli and extra virgin olive oil. Excellent quality beef is a must for this type of dish to really excel, and these paper thin beef slices were indeed of high quality and seasoned perfectly with the creamy aioli. The arugula cuts into the meatiness while the sheets of Parmesan provide another layer of flavor and texture. Combining the beef with the arugula, Parmesan, and the dressing made for a fantastic mixture of flavors with each bite. I shared this amongst two others but I could have easily finished this on my own.

Braised lamb crepes - Port braised Colorado leg of lamb, crunchy russet potato, madras curry crepes, garlic spinach, Israeli feta and lavender demi. This was recommended to me by several others and so an order of this seemed necessary. The lamb meat was very tender and plentiful in quantity, and it paired well with the spinach, potato, and salty demi. I felt that the heavy and deep flavors from the lamb and sauce completely masked crepe; in fact the crepe's flavor was mostly lost in this dish, with just some of the crepe's texture being noticeable. A larger crepe would have helped balance the taste, but otherwise this was a great appetizer.

BLT - pastrami spiced thick cut Nueske bacon, green tomato, butter lettuce and sweet corn sun-dried tomato aioli on focaccia. If you've never had Nueske bacon then you're truly missing out on what might be the best bacon generally available. It's very lean with an incredibly deep smokey flavor. Upper West made sure to fill every bite of the BLT with bacon, and as you can see there's plenty of it in the sandwich. Bright flavors from the butter lettuce and green tomatoes completed the BLT experience while the hearty focaccia held everything in place. The accompanying side of chipotle sweet potato fries was different in that the fries weren't crispy but were soft and even a bit mushy. I enjoyed the flavor but was distracted by the too soft texture. A few others got the regular fries which looked crispier, so next time I'll stick with those.

My coworkers ordered various other dishes, some of which I was fortunate to sample.

Braised short rib - 6 hour braised short rib “osso bucco” style, cannelini puree and root vegetable pan gravy. Coworkers Sarah and Neil enjoyed this and it does indeed look very good from the picture above. The presentation is fantastic if not whimsical in that the exposed bone is shooting straight up, tempting one to just grab it like a caveman and go old school on it. (You should see me take on oxtail soup.)

The Burger - dry aged beef blend, balsamic caramelized onions, arugula; pasilla goat cheese spread on toasted challa. Quite a few people in group ordered this and no one left any trace on their plates. I got to try a little and what I had was tasty, but I'll save further judgement until I devour one myself. I recently had one of the best burgers ever at Josie in Santa Monica (perhaps even besting Father's Office), so it'll be interesting to see how this one compares. Look for a future review soon.

Pancetta wrapped prawns - jumbo prawns “brochette style”, jalapeno-goat cheese soft polenta, blackberry raisin compote and espresso oil. My friend and I were't too sure about the "jumbo" designation as we were expecting a more substantial prawn. He enjoyed it, however I will say that my wife tried this same dish during the previous night and found it to be merely average in taste. That said, I tried some of the polenta and found it to be very enjoyable with slight kick and a wonderfully deep, silky taste.

For dessert my coworker and I shared the Key lime tart with Graham cracker crust, blueberry syrup, basil-coconut sorbet (below). It was good but not memorable. The key lime filling was soft with a nice sweetness to tartness ratio, but the crust was too thick and was actually overcooked in some parts. A slightly softer crust would have for easier scooping of filling and crust with each bite. The basic-coconut sorbet was nice and refreshing, almost acting like a palate cleanser between each bite.

Overall this was a resounding success for all of us; everyone in our group kept raving about the food, the drinks, and the scene throughout the night. By 7pm the place was absolutely bustling with activity and I can only imagine how packed it would be on a Friday or Saturday night. Our waiter was very prompt and polite, and our empty plates and glasses were cleared quickly. A quick check of the Yelp reviews shows that about dozen others are also singing the praises about Upper West. Prices were very reasonable as well, with the beef carpaccio and lamb crepes coming in at $10 each, the BLT at $13 ($1.50 extra for the chipotle fries), and the key lime tart at only $7.

Lastly, the owners mentioned they'll be adding lunch and brunch very soon. I have a strong feeling I'll be making many return visits here. Highly recommended.

Upper West
3321 Pico Blvd
Santa Monca CA

Sunday, March 7, 2010

SeoulTown Tapas at BREADBAR

Chef Debbie Lee is no stranger to the Los Angeles dining scene. A former Hollywood caterer, she is now mostly consulting with LA restaurants and recently she paired with Gyenari in Culver City to bring her soulful style of cooking to that restaurant's lounge menu (which I reviewed here). And what food-obsessed Angelino can forget her as a finalist on Food Network's The Next Food Network Star? She didn't win but that certainly hasn't deterred her from assaulting the LA dining scene with her soul-meets-traditional-Korean style of cooking.

A few weeks ago she started her SeoulTown Tapas event at BREADBAR restaurant in West Hollywood to showcase her "Seoulful" cuisine. It's a limited-time pop-up event similar to LudoBites where the chef makes use of a restaurant to showcase his or her dishes. And as it turns out, SeoulTown Tapas is chef Lee's fine tuning of her recipes before she rolls out a restaurant of her very own in the West Hollywood area.

I was quite excited when I heard of this event and so I made a reservation for last Friday night to experience first-hand what chef Lee has in mind for her upcoming restaurant. Joining me were my wife and her two friends. BreadBar has no liquor license but allows BYOB; I wasn't exactly prepared for this and one of the servers actually offered to run to a nearby liquor store to purchase some beer or wine for me. That was a very nice offer, but knowing I'd be the only one drinking this night, I was perfectly fine with sparkling water. Another server hands us the menu, which is categorized into small, medium, and large plates of different prices. Chef Lee walks out from the kitchen to personally greet us and gives us a full run down on all of the menu offerings.

Our group starts off with a few small plates, then moved to the medium and large plates and finally onto desserts. Here is what we enjoyed:

Curry bean hummus, wonton crostini. This was an interesting way to start our night of Seoulful tapas. The creamy hummus started off being cool to the palate, then gradually built up a nice heat profile as you downed each spoonful. It paired well with the crostini, though unfortunately some pieces were burnt along the edges.

Korean rice cylinders, maple smoked bacon, jalapeno ponzu. Bacon seems to be omnipresent these days and here it finds itself wrapped around Korean rice cylinders, which are similar to what you'd find in a Korean duk boki dish. The bacon nearly overpowers the mild rice in taste, but the two pair nicely, especially when dipped into the spicy ponzu. An even spicier ponzu would have been great.

Grilled tofu, Japanese eggplant, pimento scallion glaze. As you likely know, tofu and eggplant have such subtle flavors, but here the pimento glaze adds a little smokiness and heat to heighten those flavors. Fonda and I felt the eggplant was a little firm for our liking, but I'd much rather eat a firmer eggplant than one that's been overcooked to a pile of mush.

Kimchee citrus pork, roasted Fuji apples (sorry for the blurry pic!). The last of our skewered items was a pork and Fuji apple combo. Though the apple was nice and sweet, the pork was slightly overcooked and needed much more flavor. I ended up dipping the pork in the ponzu from the rice cylinder dish to help offset the pork's dryness and bland taste.

Stir fried kimchee, pork, gochujang splash. I love kimchee and simply cannot get enough of this pungent veggie when I'm out eating Korean dishes. Here it's stir fried with pork and this time the pork doesn't disappoint. Gochujang--a Korean red pepper paste--adds a pungent blast of heat to the dish; it's that type of heat that hits you in the back of the throat. This was one of my favorite dishes of the night.

Mama Lee's meatloaf, ground rib eye, soy onion demi, shitake. This was the table favorite and for good reasons; it was tender, moist, and comforting just like a good meatloaf should be. I found the demi to be a little salty but it wasn't a problem once you started mashing your teeth on that beefy, finely-ground rib eye. More shitake mushrooms would have been nice; perhaps we'll see shitakes as a separate side dish sometime soon as they pair very well with the meatloaf.

Chicken meatballs, magnolia berry sauce. Another excellent dish. The chicken meatballs were cooked perfectly and the berry sauce added a hint of sweetness to the savory chicken meat. Think of this dish as a upscale take on the chicken meatballs you'd find at any izakaya. A sprinkling of sesame seeds and scallions adds texture and visual interest, but not much flavor as was probably intended.

Sushi ssam style seafood, ginger rice, Ssamjang, tobiko caviar. Pretty, colorful, and mildly flavored are how I'd describe this dish. It's a little messy to eat, and each bite is mostly dominated in taste by the sharp tobiko. I liked the ginger rice but again the tobiko was so overpowering. The sushi was good, but I would prefer larger cuts (not chopped like above) to add more texture and taste; here the fish is somewhat lost between the romaine and the tobiko.

Sesame flatbread, soy braised pork, pesto, chile tomatoes. Both the pork and the chile tomatoes were excellent, and I especially loved the tenderness of the pork. The stacking of the flatbread, the pesto and the pork made for a nice flavor combination with each bite. I didn't get much in terms of sesame taste, and parts of the flatbread were far too crispy, but otherwise this was a solid choice.

Korean fried chicken with pickled winter vegetables. Our final savory of the night and it was my favorite, though just slightly edging out the insanely good meatloaf. Chef Lee just added this to the menu and I was eagerly anticipating getting my paws on this chicken. It wasn't heavily battered or crispy, but exhibited more of a baked taste and texture which was fine by me. The meat was very juicy, and the glaze and spices on the outside had a nice sweet and savory profile, with just a little heat. Pickled vegetables were provided on the side and played the part of cleansing the palette between bites. This is a must order if you visit SeoulTown Tapas.

Now onto desserts. There were four desserts available for choosing and we did what was most appropriate and ordered all of them.

Sesame donuts, chestnut glaze. These resemble empanadas more so than donuts. The taste was sweet but nothing remarkable; I did enjoy the chestnut glaze and made sure to scoop it all up with the donuts.

Butterscotch profiteroles, chile chocolate cream. Chef Lee's version of a cream puff has a filling of tangy chile-chocolate ice cream and is drizzled with butterscotch sauce. It's a nice pairing of tastes that worked well for me, but eating these puffs with their runny filling proved to be quite messy and I found myself alternating between using a fork and my hands to finish one, and yet part of me wanted to eat one whole (just not in front of guests!). Had the filling been firmer and more contained within the puff pastry then I would have had a better chance of consuming all of the flavors with each bite. I enjoyed this but would probably pass for next time.

Fuji apple eggrolls, ginger mascarpone. My favorite of the four desserts was this sweet "egg roll" of crispy dough wrapped around a Fuji apple filling and served with a side of ginger mascarpone for topping. This reminded me of those delicious baked apple pies you can get at McDonald's, but only much more refined. The ginger mascarpone was heavenly and I couldn't resist eating a big dab of it with each bite of the eggroll --a little more ginger taste would have been nice but then I suppose some people would be put off by too strong of a ginger flavor. After finishing the rolls I made sure to spoon every last trace of mascarpone from the little jar.

Grilled Nutella sammie. A grilled sandwich with Nutella filling was our last dessert, and it was just average for us in terms of taste. The bread was a little dry and over-cooked, and I felt the Nutella needed something else to complement its taste. I was hoping for something along the lines of the fluffernutter I had at The Must last year; the bread was softer, chewier and the filling more generous in quantity.

Overall the desserts didn't wow us too much, save for the Fuji apple eggrolls (and my wife wasn't too crazy about those). For future dessert offerings, I'd love to see chef Lee's take on the hotteok (Korean sweet pancake) or perhaps even a house-made Choco Pie (a popular Korean snack item). I can only imaging a house-made Choco Pie with that ginger mascarpone and served with the chile ice cream...drools!

Our total bill for the 10 dishes, 4 desserts and my large Pellegrini came out to just under $120 before tax and tip, which was a great deal when you consider the variety and amount of food we ate, plus the fact that we fully enjoyed our 3 1/2 hour dinner. I loved the small-medium-large plate concept and it made for easy sharing and it certainly sparked conversations amongst us. Service was decent and polite but far from the Michelin-star service you'd get at Providence. Don't come here expecting that level of service, though, because just as with the LudoBites pop-up, you're paying mostly for the food and less for the service and scene. I'm definitely looking forward to chef Lee's restaurant and to seeing what new dishes she brings to her very own restaurant.

SeoulTown Tapas at BREADBAR West Hollywood
8717 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles CA, 90048
(310) 205-0124

Ends April 10th so make your ressies!