5722 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Dining date: 7/6/16
Chef Kevin Meehan has been in the Los Angeles dining scene for quite a while, most recently at Patina, Cafe Pinot, and his roving underground dining concept Kali Dining. After developing his version of Californian cuisine for a few years, Kali Restaurant opened last year. Here, Meehan partners up with friend Drew Langley, who came over from Providence where he was wine director.
A couple of tasting menus are available but we went a la carte this evening to make sure we got a chance to try a few specific dishes that were recommended.
UNI crispy polenta / kelp dust
The meal began on a great bite – a crispy block of warm polenta was tempered by a cool piece of sea urchin, sprinkled with this kelp dust.
BEET TARTAR mustard greens / almond / preserved lemon
The beet tartare was refreshing, sweet, and flavorful with a bright dressing.
CHARRED AVOCADO shaved vegetables / pistachio / ash / kale
Rich, charred avocado sat on a pile of shaved vegetables. The richness of the avocado was balanced by the bright greens; there wasn’t any smoke flavor in the avocado, though I’m not sure there was supposed to be.
Bread was fantastic, served warm with rosemary butter.
CAVATELLI PASTA arugula / creme fraiche / local peppercorn
Cavatelli had a nice bite; this dish was rich but not overly so with the help of some crispy spinach.
BASS tomatoes / cucumber / olives / purslane
Steamed bass was served with cucumbers, purslane and tomatoes for some complementary fresh flavors. A few olives provided a salty, earthy counterpoint.
BEEF TENDERLOIN burnt onions / fingerling potato / bitter herb oil
Beef tenderloin was tender as expected, with the bulk of the flavor coming from the burnt onions and an herb oil.
BUTTERMILK DOUGHNUTS strawberry / chantilly
MERINGUE GELATO candied yolk shavings
We shared a couple of desserts. The doughnuts were served warm with a light chantilly and fresh strawberry. The toasted meringue gelato was outstanding with bits of crunchy candied yolk. Really an amazing dessert.
Pâte de Fruit
I really enjoyed the meal at Kali. Meehan’s food incorporated a lot of fresh flavors and ingredients without feeling forced. As a result, the food felt relatively light without sacrificing in flavor or substance. I’ll be back; the meringue gelato alone is worth a visit.
Note: This was a hosted meal.