Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Foodventure #1: Dolce Enoteca (West Hollywood)

Hi everyone!

Welcome to my first foodventure post (in the past I've posted my food reviews in my other blogs, but it looked too out of place in midst of my other non-food posts--plus I've always wanted start a food-only blog.) Do expect posts here once every 1-2 weeks (more or less, depending how busy I am and, more appropriately, if I can manage to try out new stuff.)

As much as I'd like to start off with a bang - my first posted foodventure on blogger was a bit of a downer -- it was at
Dolce Enoteca (yes, one of the Ashton Kutcher restaurants) today. I definitely had higher expectations for this place after seeing their online menu of items, despite warnings from foodie friends and acquaintances from chowhound ~ but, seeing a dearth of recent reviews and that the online menu looked pretty interesting, I decided to give it a shot--so here's my experience:

I went for dinner, and the decor of the place is actually really pretty (like every other new restaurant that opens in the WeHo area--) black leather furniture (and tablecloths), candle lighting plus wallpaper of Hollywood movie collages. Could be a really romantic place if not for the loud conversations taking place from neighboring tables as well as the lounge music from the stereo system.

What did catch my interest is the fiery bar though I shutter to think what would happen if the fire broke out and "interacted" with the bottles of premium spirits.

The waiter was very friendly and gave me the day's special, which included a crabcake appetizer, a wild mushroom risotto & a steak dish. Being a shellfish lover-- I jumped at the chance for the crabcake, and also ordered the chicken medallion entree. While both are being prepared, I got served bread and amuse bouché.

The bread was a mix of olive (which I had only a bite of-since I'm not a big olive bread fan), plain baguette slices (not crusty enough), and foccacia (delicious) with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The generously-sized amuse were slices of spiced salami (nice balance of spiciness to saltiness) and ricotta salata (dried, salted ricotta, tasted like a richer, milder form of parmesan)--which was good, and, unfortunately one of the highlights of my meal. I also ordered coffee, which was not bad, but not remarkable either (i.e. definitely overpriced for what I got--considering that I could've gotten me a much better cup 'o joe at a coffeehouse for same price.)

The special-of-the-day crabcake arrived, accompanied by a green & white asparagus salad (the latter part definitely tasted like it came from a can, but I do like the contrast of textures between the crisp, crunchy fresh green aspagarus and the soft, mushy canned white asparagus)-- the crabcake is iffy, it tasted pretty much like a grilled crab meat patty. On the upside, there's pure delicate, sweet crab flavor (and the crab meat is in lumps and not minced bits) - on the other hand, with crabcakes I was definitely expecting some seasoning and other ingredients -- so was underimpressed by this dish.

The Entree, "Medaglioni di Pollo", is a asparagus and fontina cheese stuffed chicken breast medallion, served with vegetables in a mustard sauce & accompanied by mashed potatoes.

The short version: The sides tasted better than the main course, BIG red flag

The long version: The potatoes were NOT mashed with garlic, which I appreciate a lot -- since how garlic mashed potatoes have been done and overdone by restaurants lately. It was light, fluffy, and full of potato-y / buttery flavor.

The vegetables were good, and was nicely complemented by the slightly creamy and tart mustard sauce--but nothing to write home about.

The chicken itself--the plus side was it was moist & juicy, but the big downside was that, even being stuffed with cheese & vegetables and covered in sauce, was it that it was incredibly bland. There was absolutely no flavor asides from the saltiness. As I result, I wound up finishing all the potatoes, most of my veggies, and left a good chunk of the fowl behind.

At least there was a good finish:

At the waiter's suggestion, I got the "Tortino caldo al cloccolato servito con gelato" (chocolate souffle with vanilla gelato). It was delicious! The chocolate souffle had a deep, rich chocolate flavor but wasn't too heavy nor sweet (usually one of the pitfalls of chocolatey desserts) which was nice for me. The vanilla gelato was a nice, creamy contrast (again not-too-sweet) though I wish there was more of a vanilla flavor in there.

The damage for the whole affair:

Crabcake - $18
Chicken Medallion - $23
Dessert - $8
Coffee - $3
Pre-tax/tip total - $52

However, I was toting a cozmocard for this place - so the $15 off did significantly chop down on the damage (though I did tip according to my pre-discount total.)

My rating:
Ambience/Decor: 4/5 (pretty good asides from acoustics)
Service: 8.5/10 (maybe a wee bit overattentive, but superb otherwise)
Value: 1.5/5 (nothing seems to be worth its weight in dough; the dessert was close, though.)
Food: 10/20 (a hit and miss, unfortunately, I seem to have missed with most of the main parts of this meal.)
Bonus/Demerits: n/a
TOTAL: 24/40 (unlikely to go again unless strongly urged by friends)

Other notes:
- noticed on my bill that there's a 50% off food on Mondays, not sure if applicable to everything on their menu or select items (also not sure if that's for the entire day.) Best call to check if you do plan on going then.
- street parking is free from 6pm onwards on Melrose (technically near-free from 4pm, since there's 2-hour meter parking during the day), but there's also valet available too.

And so concludes my first foodventure post... here's to seeing more (and better ones) coming soon!


Anonymous said...

good review. i guess the food looks better than it tastes. i would go there for the fire bar and the Tortino caldo al cloccolato servito con gelato.


H. C. said...

and the funny thing is that Dolce Enoteca individually means "Sweet" and "Wine Bar (+ snacks)"---perhaps drinks, snacks & desserts are all that they're really good for. :\

PoetKitty said...

Sweet! Welcome to the food blogosphere, darlin', this rocks! Love the different take on the rating system - you are now on my radar. Happy eatz!



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