Last night my SO and I ventured out to our first fancy meal in L.A. We just moved from Boston and have been feasting on Tacos and Thai up till now. But it was our anniversary, so we decided to splurge at Opus. It was amazing.
We sat at one of the tables with the big cushy chairs. When our waiter came by he was very relaxed and friendly, a welcome relief from the saccharine hostess. We ordered the four course tasting (my SO eats only vegetables and fish – and I eat more than that – and the waiter was very cool about making sure that my tasting had meat in it.) He also pointed us to a great bottle of Albariño. I said we ordered 4 courses (and we only paid for four) but we got 7…and they were all amazing and well conceived.
Amuse Bouche: Creamy Corn Soup with Strawberries in a shot glass
The tasted like the sweetness of corn. Even though it was creamy, the fruitiness of the corn was well matched with the brightness of the strawberries – and the strawberry seeds crunched in your teeth in a really satisfying way. I wanted to lick the shotglass, but I wasn’t drunk enough yet.
First Course: Hamachi Yellowtail with Tonburi and Celery Ice.
This was garnished with some explosively fresh chives (I think garlic chives), parsely and julienned radishes. The fish was really amazing, cut into cubes like little pats of butter. Like most of the dishes, there was a subtle sweetness. The mountain caviar (tonburi) really popped like caviar. This was some of the best raw yellowtail I’ve ever eaten. Again, I refrained from licking the plate.
Second Course: “The Egg” or Breakfast.
I got the Bacon, she got it without bacon, but both of us were speechless. I’ll admit that it sounded gimmicky reading about it here and elsewhere, but the elements worked together with so much subtlety. It really was like a great breakfast all in one little egg. Plus, I really like eating with a tiny spoon.
Third Course: Spotted Prawn Soup with Chard
I wish I knew the exact provenance of the broth that this prawn was swimming in. It was dark, sweet, somewhat smoky. I’ve never had fish stock that I liked so much. The prawn tasted like good lobster tail, it was bizarrely good. And the chard was good…but mostly because it was in the broth.
Fourth Course: Carrot Ravioli with morels, brown butter sauce and aged cheese
So pillowy. The pasta was light, the carrot filling was light, the brown butter was perfect and the morel was fresh. Here, though I didn’t lick the plate, I did sop up the sauce with some bread. Often I find ravioli to be heavy – even when it’s great. There was nothing heavy about this. I could have been happy with just the morel in the butter though.
Main Course: Squab (me) Some kind of white fish (her) over fresh green garbanzos and cherry tomatoes
We haven’t been able to stop talking about those garbanzos. I looked at the farmer’s market today for them, in vain. Green garbanzos and cherry tomatoes is fresh, almost Provencal, but it’s also strange and exciting. My squab was delicate, rare and covered in enough of it’s own jus to make it happy. Her fish (we didn’t catch the name) was also perfectly cooked, and the grape on it provided the link to that sweet through line through the entire meal.
Dessert: Fig and Almond Tart with Chocolate Drizzle
I don’t like figs, and she does. I liked this as much as I can like figs though. The texture was almost like creamy eggplant, and the whole thing was not a cloyingly sweet as some fig preparations can be. Plus the crust was appropriately salty which offset the cloy for me a bit as well. We shared a glass of white port with this as well.
Overall it was an amazing dinner (and certainly an absurd value for the amount of courses that we ate). We’ll be back when we can afford it. We’ve eaten some good food in NY and Boston (Chestnut, Grocery, Craigie St. Bistrot, etc.) and this matched or surpassed them all. Plus, we took the train home. What could be better?
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