American

Ink, Los Angeles

My girlfriend was visiting from Hawaii, and is a fan of Top Chef, a show which I have never seen, but I have heard of.  She wanted to try ink, as she was a fan of Michael Voltaggio and made reservations.  I didn’t know anything about the restaurant, and so when I saw the prices online, I was shocked.

Later, upon arrival, we were told it was a tasting menu, and dishes were recommended to be shared, family style.  Our server advised us that the lighter foods were at the top of the menu, while heavier dishes at the bottom.  He also suggested 2 items per person would be ideal.

Here’s what we had:

ROUND 1

– Japanese Scallops, soy cured papaya, fermented chili, basil ($17)
– Hamachi (fish), shitake escabeche, hazelnuts, kelp ($16)

Japanese Scallops
Hamachi
 

While i knew the fish would be raw, I wasn’t prepared for the scallops to be. They were actually very tasty, and the combination of the food worked.  They were good starters, and started our evening well.  While waiting for the next course, the staff changed out our plates and flatware for fresh, new ones.

ROUND 2

– Corn, housemade ranch “Foritos”, nori, green onions ($12)
– Egg Yolk gnocchi, mushroom brown butter, hen of the woods ($15)

Ranch “foritos” (flour Doritos?)
Egg Yolk gnocchi

The corn was my favorite, as it was like a corn porridge, very sweet, and masa like.  I thought it was a bit pricy for $12 though. I would have liked a larger portion.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the “foritos”, which I think was a flour Dorito.  The crispness of the florito was great, but I didn’t like the powdery substance that was on it.  It did remind me of a DIY Dorito, and the seasoning was just too salty.

The Gnocchi was supposed to be a fan favorite, but I didn’t really get excited over it.  I thought it would be softer, since the egg yolk was inside the gnocchi.  I didn’t get any popping sensation as we were told, and I felt underwhelmed after the hype.

ROUND 3

– Flat iron steak,  concentrated carrots, with a side of seaweed mashed potatoes ($36)

Seaweed mashed potatoes

Flat iron

The steak was about a 3 or 4 ounce serving, served quite rare, not medium rare as we were advised. The flat iron was very lean, but not as flavorful as I had expected.  The seaweed potatoes helped add the texture and flavor, I guess, but overall a “Meh” for me, and especially not at the price they’re asking for.

ROUND 4

– Lollipop kale, creme fraiche, pig ears, togarashi ($14)

Lollipop kale

The Kale was good, and the creme added a nice tangy flavor.  The pig ear underwhelmed me.  We actually left  a lot of it on the plate.  Not sure if it was because it didn’t have flavor or was just too crunchy? Perhaps my dog would have liked it, but I wasn’t a fan of chewing this like a puppy in order to digest it. I probably would not get this again, although the price was right, and the portion was very generous.

FINAL ROUND 

We ended our tasting with dessert, which we shared the Apple, with caramel, shortbread, burnt wood semifreddo ($11).  Basically a deconstructed apple pie.  It was very good, and when blended together was very tasty and not overly sweet.  If you want just a bite or two to satisfy a sweet craving, this is adequate for 2 or 3 people to share.  In addition to dessert, Stephen and I shared the lamill coffee, a chemex glass which had enough for 2 servings of coffee ($8) while my girlfriend had a serving of hot tea ($4).

The total for everything (including 1 alcoholic drink, 2 non alcohol) came to $171 before tip.  I didn’t leave “stuffed” and probably could have eaten more.  I guess I am not a fan of  these tasting menus and would prefer a bit more food for the price they offer.  I mean, $36 for a tiny steak, which took maybe 4 bites to eat is a bit overrated. It wasn’t really enough for 2 people to taste, let alone 3.  I would much rather go to Ruth Chris, Mastros, or Capitol Grill and pay $20 more for more cow!

While the food was wonderfully presented, and tasty, I can’t really see this as an “orgasmic” experience.  Quite honestly I would not come back here, unless it was for a special occasion,  the menu changed drastically, or someone else was paying. 

Sorry, but I am not the kind of foodie who raves about a celebrity Chef place because he won a TV show, or is the “hottest” chef in town.  I’m not about the hype of the place,  but the food worthiness.  Frankly, there are just too many restaurants in the Los Angeles area which offers just as fascinating of a menu.

5 stars for the service! INCREDIBLE! Complete VIP treatment all the way.
3 stars given for the price and the hype of the food…I’ve experienced better.
4 stars overall —  only because the food was tasty, but not worth the price tag.

ink is located at 8360 Melrose Ave in Los Angeles, CA
Street parking is available, if you can find it, or valet is located to the side of the restaurant.

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