Naomi Pomeroy (Beast)
13488 Maxella Ave
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Dining date: 3/26/13
While it seems like downtown’s Mo-Chica is still a relatively new restaurant, chef Ricardo Zarate and Stephane Bombet (Picca, Mo-Chica) are about to unleash their newest concept Paiche in Marina Del Rey. Dubbed a Peruvian izakaya, the team is bringing Zarate’s Peruvian style closer to the water. I haven’t seen a menu of the new place, though a preview (and what appears to be a few old favorites and a bunch of new creations) is here.
In order to celebrate the grand opening (April 2), Paiche teamed up with Food GPS on a couple of one-night collaborative dinner events featuring a number of past Food & Wine Best New Chefs. The first dinner hosted Naomi Pomeroy of Beast in Portland (2009 Best New Chef) on a 5-course, $52 affair. The second night brought in Jamie Bissonnette of Coppa and Toro in Boston (2011 Best New Chef) and Viet Pham of Forage in Salt Lake City (2011 Best New Chef) on a 6-courser for $62.
332 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Dining date: 2/2/13 and 3/16/13
Maccheroni Republic opened at the end of last year, from the old owners of Locanda Veneta in mid-city. The location couldn’t be more different, from the Beverly Hills-adjacent Locanda Veneta to this spot across the street from Grand Central Market in downtown. It’s not exactly the kind of area where you feel comfortable walking around alone at night.
The restaurant has a real neighborhood feel to it, charming with a large patio outside of the main dining room.
The menu seems to be sort of Italian comfort food, with a number of familiar appetizers (minestrone, arancini, bruschetta) and larger plates centered around housemade pastas. Most everything is pretty simple, relying on ingredients and execution of the classic Italian fare. The food tends to be pretty hearty (and carb-heavy) and portions are on the generous side, so even one pasta dish would fill most people up. With everything on the menu hovering around $10 (the most expensive is $14) it’s definitely reasonably priced for downtown LA standards.
1320 Echo Park Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Dining date: 2/28/13
Allumette opened earlier this year, in what was a quick re-conceptualization of Echo Park’s Allston Yacht Club. Young chef Miles Thompson, formerly of Son of a Gun, brought his pop-up The Vagrancy Project to AYC last summer. It sounded like a successful run and I’d heard much about it, but never got the chance to attend one of those dinners. However Thompson wasn’t going very far – he became the executive chef of Allumette.
The menu is small plates-based, split into a few dishes each of vegetables, pasta, fish, shellfish, meats and for sharing. The portions are small enough to create a customized tasting menu, but most were substantial enough to share (like we did). I was invited to come have a taste of the new restaurant and was excited to experience some of the young chef’s cooking.
Truffle Dinner Series
SAAM at The Bazaar
465 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Dining date: 2/23/13
It’s been a while since I’ve been to The Bazaar, Jose Andres’ ever popular molecular gastronomy/tapas restaurant. After more than two years, a truffle tasting menu is what brought me back to the restaurant’s private dining area, the SAAM Room; the restaurant held one series in the fall and another in the month of February. $250 paid for 16 courses with black truffles and The Bazaar’s unique flair for creativity in their dishes. Considering the price tag of the special ingredient, I thought this was a relatively reasonable splurge.
My past two experiences at SAAM Room left me thinking the entertainment factor took front seat to flavor development, especially compared to Las Vegas’ é by Jose Andres (which I think has the much better overall experience). However, this meal would exceed expectations set from the past meals.
A lone white saucer awaited us at the table as we sat down. We were too curious to not take a peek inside, which yielded a glimpse (and instant aroma) of the not-to-secret ingredient of the night (we ate through almost the entire thing be the end of the night). I’d have to admit I was pretty excited at this point.