Chowhound Presents: Table Talk with Nadine Levy Redzepi of Downtime: Deliciousness at Home | Ask Your Questions Now ›


Restaurants & Bars

Vela review

Mark | May 19, 2004 09:58 AM

Went to Vela last night and had a very nice experience, with some very interesting food. First the room is a nice but now very typical loungey restraunt with dark low banquets small laquer tables, the typical drag for one of these asian fusion places. Reminds me very much of AZ, the layout is very similar (minus an upstairs).
So we decided to just order a bunch of items, tapa's style and a bottle of the Chilean Chardonay, which was good but not great, buttery and full bodided, but a little sour. Edamamme was a quick little starter while we browsed the menus, but the amount they give you is barely enough for one, so order two! First course was an assortment of "canapes" tuna, salmon, makeral and another fish i am forgetting. All were wonderful smooth and very fresh each with a distinct extra flair of southern flavor. I wish I could describe each taste better, but it was a long night and lots of drinks.... Then was the sea urchin salad which was very good, served with 4 sea urchins, four shrimp and a mixture of ginger dressed grenns. Never had sea uchin before and it was very soft flavorful and interesting..... the best way I could describe it would be if a oyster had a liver it would be oyster foie gras. Anyways, delicious. Next were the Kobe Beef skewers which were very good, tender but a little over cooked, and underseasoned. When dipped in the soy sausce however, the flavors exploded and the beef was able to command your palate. Forbidden black rice and beans were just ok. Now I am not a huge beans and rice fan, but others at the table were loving them and I was loving watching them struggle trying to eat beans and rice with chopsticks, that in itself was worth getting them. I do have to say though, the beans were very tasty, not mushy and soggy.
Two of the signiture Vela rolls were next. One was the eel roll that was so amazingly delicious. I have been on an eel kick lately and this was by far the most delicious eel I have ever tasted (better than what I had at bar Masa) the sushi rice however, could have used a little help. With some novice chopstickers, the rice ended up all over their plates and soy sauce dippers rather than in their mouth. The other roll was a veggie tempura, shrimp, and crab roll and tasted very similar to a softshell crab roll. Delicious as anything fried always is, worth getting, but lacked the wow factor some other dishes gave. No single ingrediant gave a memorable flavor the tempura flavor and texture dominated.
The only big dish we had was the brazilan lobster and scallops. Delicious..... the lobster was done fairly well... a little limp, but still very tender and flavorful, and the scallops were wonderful, texture and taste held up in the spicy curry sausce, served over the black curried rice and in a pinapple.
It was a perfect amount of food for three of us to share and still have room for some dessert.
I guess they also specialize in loose teas, but we are all coffee drinkers and opted for the later.
For desert we had the lychee sorbet served with these little macaroon type "cheese curls" the reference to cheese curls is only in texture and shape, but they were absolutely delicious and the sweetness of the lychee was mixed with the tartness of a grapefruitish citrus fruit. But that was all outdone by the chocolate cake..... emmmm flowing lava chocolate and ice cream, you just cant go wrong with that. Perfectly prepared beautiful presentation and so good I almost picked up the plate and licked it... (is that bad manners or a compliment to the chef?)
Anyways, all in all a very good meal I think we got out of there for 230 for three fo us with a bottle of wine tax and tip. I would give the food high ratings and its a fun place to go with a bunch of people to drink share some plates and you can talk even though the music is a little loud and the crowd tends to get younger and more loungy as the night progresses.

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound