Two great --very different -- dinners I had recently that I wanted to share:
First, last Friday I truly appreciated this Board when I tried Saito's for the first time. It's in a seedy-looking strip mall in Silver Lake on Sunset (near Fountain). I trust what I read here, so I perservered. My SO and I were the only ones there when we arrived a bit after 7 PM. We were exhausted from house-hunting in the area, so we went with omakase -- less mental energy required!
First, we had a huge plate of albacore sashimi. It was ultra-fresh and the preparation was spot on - it did not detract from the perfection of the fish but enhanced it with some added flavor. Next, we had red snapper prepared with lemon and sea salt (delicious), followed by yellowtail (possibly young yellowtail) sashimi - another good-sized portion, and then the most tender sea eel I have had in 3-4 years. I believe there was one other order - maybe Spanish mackaral? We ended with a toro and yellow pepper handroll that I am still thinking about. The bill with one large Asahi and tax (but not tip) was $90. I cannot wait to go back.
Last night, after we didn't get yet another offer (on a house) accepted, we consoled ourselves at A.O.C. Because we can walk there, we have been there at least 8 times, and we've yet to have a bad - or even less than stellar - meal. We tried to experiment with dishes we have not had yet - here's the rundown:
1) Chicken Liver Crostini - my staple
new dishes -
2) summer fruit salad (peaches, figs, plums) with arugula and marcona almonds [seasonal perfection on a plate]
3) tomato salad with burrata - this used to be a special and now it's on the menu [we regularly have burrata but this knocked the others I've had out of the park - yummm.]
4) grilled mustard chicken - pretty flat boneless breast that was sprinkled with tasty bread crumbs and mustard sauce and sitting on crispy potatoes [I never order chicken but I was glad I did - it was outstanding!]
and another long-time menu item I had for the first time -
5) 1/2 jamon serrano, 1/2 prosciutto di parma [we sat at the charcuterie/cheese bar so we got to watch all the meats being sliced all night. We really enjoyed the comparison of these two.]
Our service was great (this time we had Igor), as it has always been, and our wines were better than in the past. I started with the Entre deux Mers (may be misspelled) - only $5 but a great food wine, my SO had the Preston Viognier (killer w/ the fruit salad), then I had the Carignane - not my all time favorite but good, and my SO had the excellent Meritage. We left quite full and the bill came to $80 before tip.