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Restaurants & Bars 7


Carolyn Tillie | Nov 1, 200110:11 PM

So... in the line of duty at my new job, I dined at Impresario last night. Does anyone else know about this place? I have been going to concerts at the Music Center for years and never knew it existed. It is only open just before shows at the Dorothy Chandler although they are considering expanding to be open before Ahmanson & Taper shows. It is on the Fifth Floor of the Center with a beautiful view of the lit fountain below. Here's the deal...

Prix fixe, of a sort. Three courses, the first and third of which are presented at your table, the second being a buffet. And, unlike other prix fixe, there is no limit on which courses you choose. So, before last night's opera, a friend and I went to Impressario and were served the following:

Act I: Poached Shrimp Martini - 6 large shrimp served cocktail-style in a martini glass. Also on the menu was a Corn Chowder which is only served upon request (our waiter recommended against it only because so much food was going to be served). The last part of Act I was an astounding Antipasto Plate which included: Marinated Mushrooms, Citrus Olives, Salami, Prosciutto-wrapped Cantaloupe, Red Pepper-flaked Mozzarella, Wasabi Aoili-topped rare Ahi, fresh Heirloom Tomatoes, Asparagus spears, Smoked Salmon, and a Gorgonzola/Walnut-topped grilled Pear half.

Act II (Buffet): Insalata del Giorno, Field Greens with Balsmic Vinaigrette, Grilled Vegetable Assortment, Bakes Tomato with Herbs, Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes with Rosemary, Wild Mushroom-filled Ravioli with Walnut Mascarpone, Penne all'Arrabiata con Pancetta, Paella with large Green-tipped Mussels and Prawns, Veal Scallopini, and on the carving board, a Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine and Shallot Jus.

Act III: This was a dessert course. For the two of us, we were given one plate with large Opera Cake in the center, surrounded by a small lemon slice, small cherry clafouti, two "chocolate burgers" (small, filled cookies), two chocolate-dipped strawberries, and two sake-cup filled Creme Brulee.

The price for all this food? $34.00 a person. THAT is was blew me away. The atmosphere is elegant and understated. What really astonished me was that this restaurant, which could seat around 200 people, was less than half full. The wine list was extensive and varied. We shared a bottle of Ballentine Meritage for $55 that tasted like a $90 bottle. There are over-stuffed couches that lied empty, where we could have taken our coffee and dessert.


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