Off glowing reviews from Jonathan Gold and several blogs, I made a reservation for last night at Le Comptoir at Tiara Cafe in downtown, a new pop-up from Chef Gary Menes (from Palate and Marche). Everyone in my group loved the meal, and it was a lot of fun to sit at the counter, watch the team of 3 chefs handle everything with precision, and chat with them about their food and experiences in a very casual, relaxed atmosphere.
The menu is a 5 course prix fixe that changes frequently, and this was our menu for the night:
amuse - gougere, fromage blanc americain, chives
-- I love gougeres, and this didn't disappoint, with a delicious cream cheese filling.
first course - sierra gold potato and corn velouté, sour cream, farinette
(there was an alternative - french foie gras terrine, pears, brioche, for an $18 supplement)
-- We all got the soup, and it was rich and hot, perfect for a cold night. The farinette, cheesy and crispy toast, added some texture to the smooth, creamy soup, and although it was a rich dish, the flavors worked well together.
second course - sunny side-up egg, young lettuce, herbs, sorrel jus
-- This was a fun dish as the egg was served in its own tiny skillet, still cooking, and we were able to add the other ingredients (including an herb compound butter) and mix things up as we pleased. The flavors didn't stand out as much as the previous dish, though.
third course - blue hubbard squash, mustard frill, baby leeks, fennel, onion petals, chanterelles, roasted grapes, apples
(alternative - house made fettuccini, preserved black truffles, for a $20 supplement)
-- We all got the squash/veggies dish, and this was amazing. I was concerned it would just be a lot of different veggies on a plate, and in a way, that's what it was. But everything was well seasoned with a variety of spices and herbs, and this syrup around the plate helped bring everything together. Favorite dish of the night.
fourth course - heirloom shelling beans “pot roast”, haricots verts, romano beans, smoked scallions, currant-pistachio relish, truffle froth
(alternative - washimi wagyu a8 short ribs, hearts of romaine, carrots, pearl barley, chocolate persimmon, carrot top vinaigrette, for an $8 supplement)
-- I opted for the short ribs, which were well cooked. Although I didn't think the barley worked that well with the dish, everything else tasted really good and stood up to the rich beef.
fifth course - banana cake, berry yogurt ice cream, chocolate, almond
-- The cake looked a bit dry, but it turned out to be a good texture with the tangy yogurt ice cream. I liked that it wasn't too sweet or rich, and it really emphasized the flavor of the banana.
Another note re: the food - they made their own bread (I'm pretty sure that's what I heard), and it was delicious, the crust crispy but not too hard, and the inside dense and chewy. They also served a good amount of bread throughout the meal to go with the soup and the other dishes. Also, 2 of my friends got the $24 wine pairing - 4 generous pours, and they enjoyed all 4 wines and thought it was a great deal.
127 E 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014