Went to Ink. on Saturday and had to wait 30 minutes for our table. The place was packed and people were still waiting for tables when we left around 10:15. MV was on the line and checking each plate before it left the kitchen. He took some pics with people and signed a bunch of cook books which can be purchased there (signature is free). Onto the food.
We ordered 7 dishes total and 2 desserts.
1. charred avocado, hen of the woods, whipped fish sauce, mushroom chicharrón 11
2. brussels sprouts, pig ears, house-cured lardo, apple 10
3. beef tartare, horseradish, hearts of palm, sea bean chimichurri 15
4. lamb neck, chickpea poutine, yogurt curds, chive purée 13
5. sea bass, cream of dehydrated potato, black olive oil, lemon, caper 23
6. berkshire pork, charcoal crust, macaroni and cheese, leeks 22
7. veal cheek, red curry, nante carrots baked in salt, fried and sticky rice 21
8. grapefruit curd, avocado, cilantro sorbet, charred maple-lime 9
9. apple, crème caramel, burnt wood sabayon, walnut 9
The berkshire pork and lamb neck were two of the best dishes I've had at any restaurant in any city. The lamb neck was a play on poutine using the chickpea as replacement for fries. This version is the best poutine in the city - hands down better than Animal. There was a great balance between the chickpea, rich lamb neck gravt and yogurt curds. The chickpea poutine was a mix between a french fry and a falafel - amazingly crisp and tubular. Rich lamb neck gravy could have been used as a ragu in any great pasta dish. So tasty without the overwhelming richness. I could have eaten 3 orders of this. The berkshire pork was the most tender clean porky tasting piece of swine one could ever ask for. Sous vide with a nice crust of charcoal on the outside. The mac n cheese was one long tube of homemade pasta filled with a lovely gooey cheese. Not overly rich and overpowering cheesiness. We had a piece of pork, mac n cheese and leek in every bite. A perfect bite of food.
The charred avocado was very good, almost tasted like a taco. The chicharron was great as a device to load on all the other ingredients. The beef tartare and seabass were good but nothing revelatory. Good flavors and nice execution. The brussel sprouts and veal cheek were not good. We did not enjoy these dishes and did not finish them. The brussel sprouts were overly vinergary and dominated all other flavors almost to the point of being inedible. The veal cheeks themselves were so soft and tender but there were some spices that did not agree with us. We love Indian food and spice but something seemed amiss with the dish.
Desserts tended to be more savory than sweet. Not what we were hoping for. The apple dessert was everything but apple. They should have called the dessert oak burnt wood instead because that is really all you could taste. I appreciate the inventiveness and technique but there were 4 small spheres of apple in a dish named apple. The grapefruit curd was ok but I thought the cilantro sorbet overpowered the whole dish. When eating all components with a sliver of the cilantro sorbet it made for a nicely composed dessert but not sweet enough for me.
8360 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069