La Botte – 10/15/10

La Botte
620 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401

I first went to La Botte during the last DineLA “season” and I really enjoyed the meal. La Botte is one of the few Michelin-starred restaurants that participates in this promotion (Spago and Ortolan also come to mind), giving just one more reason to go (though, lately, I’ve been less and less enthused about what Michelin has said about the LA dining scene). While I think the tasting menu is often the best way to go when trying a restaurant of this caliber, I don’t think the DineLA menu takes too much away as long as the menu offers some attractive items. Thus, I found myself back here during this DineLA tenure, and I was glad I came.

UMIDO DI COZZE & VONGOLE CON PASSATO DI MELANZANE Carlsbad Aquafarm’s clams and mussels and Weiser Family Farm’s Calliope eggplant

This was a pretty interesting dish, and wasn’t quite exactly what I thought it would be. I was expecting the seafood in some type of lighter broth, but this was actually in a soupy pureed eggplant. It had an earthy and herbal flavor, but I thought it was too muddled. The seafood was a little overcooked as well.

CONFETTURA DI ANATRA AFFUMICATA Slightly smoked Healthy Family Farm’s duck confit with honey mustard dressing

This was a pretty good dish, and a sizable portion of duck, considering it’s an appetizer. It was lukewarm (not sure this was on purpose or not), though exuded a nice smokey flavor. The meat was pretty tender too.

RAVIOLI DEL PLIN CON TARTUFO DI STAGIONE Traditional Piedmontese ravioli with Fontina cheese, truffle-butter sauce and fresh Burgundy truffle

This was a great dish. The ravioli were perfectly al dente, with a nice creamy filling of fontina cheese. The shaved black truffles on top added the characteristic earthy flavor, which worked well with the pasta.

FILETTO DI BRANZINO ALL’ORIGANO SICILIANO Filet of Mediterranean sea bass with Coastal Organics farm’s heirloom tomatoes and Sicilian oregano

My last trip to La Botte was memorable for having one of the best Branzino’s I’ve had. I can’t quite say the same about this one, but it was very good. The fish was very moist with a little bit of this very bright and vibrant oregano. The heirloom tomatoes were also wonderful.

RAVIOLI DI BRASATO SU SALSA DI PORCINI Homemade ravioli filled with braised beef filet mignon served in a bed of porcini mushrooms and topped with butter and sage sauce and parmesan

This was not part of the DineLA menu, but we ordered this extra entree to try. According to the menu, it was made with braised filet mignon. That makes absolutely no sense to me as I don’t know why you’d ever braise that cut. Whatever meat was inside the ravioli was rather plain, though the pasta itself was quite nice. The browned butter sauce was a nice accompaniment.

GIANDUIOTTO CROCCANTE CON FOGLIA D’ORO Crunchy Gianduia with gold leaf

This was a rich, chocolate dessert with bits of hazelnut inside. It was kind of like a hard mousse in consistency, and had a nice chocolate-hazelnut flavor..a classic combination.

PANNA COTTA ALLA VANIGLIA Tahitian vanilla flavored panna cotta with rosemary cookies

This was wonderful. Not too sweet, and with a strong vanilla bean flavor, this smooth panna cotta hit the spot. The rosemary cookies didn’t really have a noticeable rosemary flavor though, and were a bit soggy. However, that didn’t overshadow the panna cotta, which was really delicious.

I enjoyed this meal. There wasn’t anything terribly exciting, per se, but the food was tasty and well executed…save for the first dish. My experience has piqued my interest in a return trip to try the tasting menu.


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