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Restaurants & Bars 5

OPUS - review (long)

Tom P | Jul 30, 2005 10:47 AM

Had a terrific meal with a bud at OPUS last night, the relatively new restaurant on Wilshire next to the Wiltern Theatre. The space itself is cool – it has an excellent bar area (long and sleek) and the restaurant itself is open, with high ceilings and mostly dark upholstery. The booths are gorgeous, huge – they seat six – and look very comfortable, as do the chairs at the tables, which are leather and soft. We sat at one of two tables specifically for two people, with size-and-a-half chairs in which you could easily take a nap. If you go with two people, you might want to try to snag one of these, though one is partly behind a pillar. That is where we sat and I actually liked it. The table itself is large, so you don’t feel like you are being punished for being a deuce, and that chair! I never wanted to get up.

Drinks: I am a martini fan and this is the best martini in LA. Or at least it was last night. It was perfect…and not just because it was a healthy pour. Just an excellent mix, even better, dare I say it, than the king, Musso’s. It could have been just a great bartender on Friday nights. I’ll try again another night to make sure.

I started with a crab cake, my friend with the Ahi-tuna appetizer. The crab cake was very good, though I was not personally fond of the flavors in the vegetable mix upon which it was served. The Ahi-tuna was top grade and wonderful.

The salads came next, a butter lettuce salad for me, and a beet salad for my friend. Like the martini, these are perhaps the best salads in LA. Fresh, beautiful, perfectly seasoned and dressed. My butter lettuce salad came with a mustard vinaigrette, tarragon and avocado. It was so, so good. His had an even better vinaigrette, and the beets were plump, juicy and sweet.

I’d made the reservations before S. Irene’s review on Wednesday, but we ended up following her advice with the entrees and ordered the butter poached lobster and the Rabbit three ways. The rabbit was terrific, particularly the sauces that accompanied it. The lobster? Well, again, it was the best lobster I have ever tasted. I grew up on the gulf coast, so take note that I don’t know lobster that well -- all we ate was shrimp and crab, all the time -- but this was decadent and succulent. Damn.

For dessert we split what was called a hazelnut parfait, basically a buttery version of semifreddo that was really tasty and had a unique texture.

The menu is eclectic, and also has a wide range of mesquite grilled steaks and chops, which I would like to try when I return if someone at the table will still order the lobster. My only complaint was that no one seemed to really know much about the wine list. Otherwise, the service was warm and gracious. The owners and staff clearly want the restaurant to be comfortable and special. They have so far succeeded. My friend and I both will be back.

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