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Ortolan is *horrible* -- why do any of you say you like it?


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Ortolan is *horrible* -- why do any of you say you like it?

cbrundage | Feb 1, 2010 02:43 PM

Four of us went to Ortolan for dineLA week. The previous time we went we tried the chef's tasting menu. This was the second time we've been to Ortolan and the second time we've been terribly disappointed.

I know a lot of folks seem to love this place on here which confuses me greatly. I have eaten at several of the top restaurants worldwide... and Ortolan is charging a moderately premium price for a lower quality experience.

Unfortunately we decided to give Ortolan another shot however due to their generally positive reviews and we brought my younger sister and her boyfriend who were in from out of town. Here is the story:

- The service at Ortolan was terribly slow. We were spoken to up front but then they took 20 minutes to come back and take our order. We saw the sommelier more often than our server. She is very nice, by the way.

- The next big surprise, given the service-oriented attitude of the sommelier, was that wine pairings had been selected *per course* in the prix fixe, as opposed to *per dish*. Really? The dishes had varied flavor profiles and could have been given a more serious treatment.

- Next, our server made a mistake and brought the wrong dish for someone in our party. Not wanting to be rude, we refused to eat until all the dishes were on the table. They let the remaining dishes sit on the table for a full 7 minutes before they came back, took the plates, and put them under a heat lamp in the back. By the time the other dish was re-fired, we were served food that had sat 7 minutes on a table and another 15 under a heat lamp! Scallops, under these conditions... can you imagine?

- The food itself: the amuse bouche was delicious but one of our parties had a food allergy and no alternative was available. With the first course, the scallops did not hold up well due to the reasons above, and the open green vegetable ravioli was over peppered and a little too soupy. The entrees were the most embarrassing however. The braised short ribs were reasonable but did not fall off the bone and were over salted. Lastly, the poached salmon was not as described online or on the menu. It was wrapped in phylo dough (really?) and stuffed with terribly overpowering vegetables. Would you order Toro tempura at a high-end Sushi restaurant? We could not taste the fish. It was truly appalling that Ortolan would serve this dish under any circumstances; it was practically inedible. We left most on our plates - and were not asked by the server why, either.

We also had reservations for their Valentine's Day brunch... which we will now cancel. What a terrible shame. How can anyone that's serious about food recommend Ortolan? Someone from Ortolan should use the $800 I've donated to them altogether to try one nice dinner at Citronelle in Washington, DC. Maybe then they will learn a thing or two about fine dining.

Conclusion: 2 stars for the ambiance, lovely sommelier, and unremarkable but passable dessert. If you disagree, please tell me why, and what we are supposed to do to have a better experience at Ortolan (short of burning it down, lol)?

Attached: I've attached a photo of Ortolan's reviews from Yelp. Mouse over it below. I know, I know, Yelp is a terrible source of reviews for true foodies ("Ortolan sucks! The parking was so bad I left!" <or> "I spent $400 and, yes, it was delicious, but who spends $400 on food?") but still... even the Yelpers think Ortolan is going downhill fast!

8338 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048

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