Confession: we had an amazing dinner on Saturday night at Orsa & Winston here in L.A. and when we left the restaurant, I forgot to ask for a copy of the menu (which changes every day). This is particularly tricky because their website doesn’t feature the menu that we ate and now I have all of these pictures of food and what I remember about them is pretty embarrassing. But you know what? This isn’t an official food blog, this is just my own personal blog, so if you’re mad that I don’t can’t remember things like “nasturtium blossom gastrique” you’ll just have to deal with it! After all, you’ll probably just scroll through the pictures anyway. (P.S. I wrote the restaurant an e-mail asking for the dish names, so when I hear back I’ll repost this post with the menu at the bottom.)
So Orsa & Winston is located next to Bar Ama in downtown; Bar Ama being one of our favorite restaurants, though Craig and I did once get into a fight there because he wanted to just order three raw seafood items for himself because he “wasn’t that hungry” and I ordered the queso and something with beef and he wouldn’t share that stuff with me and I was annoyed. His sister later said that it’s because I’m from a culture where families operate as multi-headed creatures and he’s from a family where everyone’s their own individual. It got very deep. What was I saying?
Oh, so the restaurant has a very reasonably priced $80 tasting menu which may not sound “reasonably priced” when you see that number, but when you see all the food that we got for $80–and also see the quality of everything–it’s a great bargain when compared to fancier places like Providence, etc.
Now for the moment of truth: what do I remember about these pictures? The first bite was a broiled fig and a house-made watermelon sake that was very refreshing.
Then came sliced raw fish–hamachi? I don’t remember–with a habanero jelly that was sweet and spicy. Don’t ask me about the black stuff, just trust that it was good.
Next up was a gorgeous heirloom tomato salad with pluots—a great, unexpected combination.
After that, a gift from the chef (and also the lead picture of this post): milk bread that looked like popovers with incredibly flavorful butter, chicken liver mousse, and radishes. This may have been my favorite bite of the night: slathering the warm bread with all of that fat = heaven.
Although this next course was also a favorite bite of the night—a fresh corn soup with a fish soup combined. Summer explosion and a seafood explosion all at once. I loved it.
Here, a lovely seared scallop with uni on a rice that came all the way from Japan. It’s a certain kind of rice you can’t get here. Please, don’t ask me the name, but I gobbled this up right quick.
Another treat from the kitchen: nectarines with ground hazelnuts and some kind of cheese.
Then, the last savory course: a huge raviolo with a Japanese tomato on top.
After that, a refreshing mix of beets and tomatoes…
Some kind of tapioca pudding with sorbet and cucumbers….
And, finally, an incredibly dense and decadent chocolate hazelnut dessert that tasted like the inside of a candy bar in the best possible way.
Phew! That was tough work—-not eating it, writing about it without a menu for reference. But you got the idea, right? And if you live in L.A., you should do yourself a favor and get thyself to Orsa & Winston stat. It’s the bee’s knees.
Here’s the full menu, as e-mailed to me by the restaurant.
AMUSE – Amazake soda, caramelized back mission fig, green apple sorrel
1 – Kanpachi crudo, sugarkiss melon jelly, nori
2 – Heirloom tomato salad, pluot, beet pastrami, mouse melon, sake lees dressing
BREAD – Milkbread focaccia, bergamot butter, bone marrow
3 – Mussel & clam chowder, sungold tomato, peewee potato, saffron
4 – Satsuki rice porridge, shellfish béarnaise, snap pea, hokkaido scallop
5 – Egg yolk & ricotta ravioli, momotaro tomato, polenta, braised wagyu beef cheek, pecorino romano
EXTRA – Warabi mochi, strawberry, cherry tomato, beet, saba
EXTRA – Coconut tapioca, lemon sorbet, grapes & melon, vanilla salt meringue
6 – Gianduja bar, malt kinako, chocolate sorbet