Michael Voltaggio is one of LA’s newer celebrity chefs—he used to work with José Andrés at the Bazaar, and he’s currently on Top Chef. He’s just taken over the Dining Room at the Langham Huntington Hotel. His new menu is all small plates that blend the traditional with the ultramodern, and local ingredients with global influences, says kevin h, who recently spent $110 on a nine-course tasting menu, and it was wonderful.
Among the highlights was Pacific yellowtail sashimi with soy-watermelon sauce, sea sponge, and smoked egg yolk. The sauce was sweet, and the sponge and egg balanced it out with a savory, lingering, salty finish. It was a fun, complex, and contemplative dish, says kevin h.
Playful stuff included Voltaggio’s signature pastrami pigeon—pigeon breast brined and marinated, crusted with spices, and served with puffed Gruyère and tangy Brussels sprouts. It’s doused in rye jus, and is basically a deconstructed Reuben sandwich, only made out of pigeon.
Halibut cheeks were sweet, rich, and buttery, and Voltaggio elevates them with tart lemongrass-scallion froth. It’s a standout dish, says kevin h. But his favorite for the night was suckling pig—immensely flavorful, fatty, tender pork balanced against the sweetness of cipollini onions. “The key though was the cilantro, which effectively cut the gravity of the pork while leaving a long, lingering finish of coriander on my palate.” Some pistachios added a nice crunch, too.
The Dining Room at the Langham [San Gabriel Valley]
1401 S. Oak Knoll Avenue, Pasadena