With so many restaurant choices available to me on the Eastside part of town, I rarely need to make a trip out to the Westside to get a good meal, but a friend of mine has been raving about Orris for a long time now and lured me out that way so that she could treat me for my birthday. So off I went.
Joined by other friends, we walked in a little after 5:30 and already, there weren't any tables to accommodate our group of 5, so we sat outside instead. Although a bit windy, the sun was out and overall, it was a pretty spring evening, a great setting for a delicious meal.
With Orris being a small plates restaurant, we shared 9 different dishes. 6 of them were savory items, 3 were desserts and each dish was a delight to both my eyes and my palate. In fact, the food looked almost to pretty to eat, but we got over that really quick.
We started off with the Seafood Salad, which was light, refreshing and I really enjoyed the fresh citrusy-herby flavor of the vinaigrette dressing. This would be the perfect salad to cool you down on a hot summer day.
Then came the roasted beets with the Basque sheep cheese. What did it for me was the deliciously earthy resonance of the tender beets when eaten with the cheese which had a slight pungency to it. It was a wonderful contrast to the first dish.
Following the beets was the smoked salmon on potato pancakes, but it was the grilled hearts of romaine with Parmesan cheese that really enthralled me. I've never had cooked lettuce before so I wasn't sure what to expect. I do have one word to describe this dish. Wow! I liked the slight smokiness of the romaine itself and the fact that it still had a crunch when you bit into it. No wilted leaves on this plate and you can take that to the bank.
I remember the dressing to be quite mild but what was sheer perfection for me was those large Parmesan cheese shavings that topped the romaine. That cheese added just that right amount of saltiness that put this dish over the top for me. In one bite, there was just so many textures and flavors. Who would have thought that something as "simple" as roasted romaine and Parmesan cheese could prove to be such a revelation?
Next up was the fried chicken with sweet and spicy sauce. The fact that the chicken was deep fried and not greasy or oily truly is a feat worth applauding. The last of our savory dishes was the foie gras with Japanese eggplant. Now that was an interesting experience.
I've never had foie gras before, primarily because organ meats don't really appeal to me, but tonight, I decided to have just a taste. I was surprised at how creamy it was. I tend to think of liver as more of a meaty item, like a thin chewy steak. The consistency of the foie gras reminded me of a creme brulee or maybe, a pudding, which was a little strange to me. I'm glad I tried it, although it's not something I would order on my own in the future.
After the foie gras, it was time for dessert. We shared a Berry Won Ton, a flourless chocolate cake and an apple tart Both the cake and apple tart were tasty, but the Berry Won Ton was definitely the star of the show. This was one interesting dessert. It was more like a won ton sandwich than a filled won ton and just like the grilled romane had a lot of wonderful textures and flavors.
In this one dessert, you can experience the sweetness of the pears, the crunch of the won ton "sandwich" slices and then the slight tartness of the strawberries mixed with some kind of sweet cream. Kudos to the Pastry Chef for coming up with this unusual dessert and not just unusual, but absolutely delicious.
Overall, I can see why people rave about Orris. I'm already counting my days when I can go back for my next meal.
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2006 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025