Mushroom Vacherin and Michel's Chocolate Bar from Appetite Stimulus Dinner at Citrus @ Social
Mark those calendars, folks. DineLA's restaurant weeks are coming back! From Jan. 25 - 30 and Feb. 1 - 6, a good number of LA and OC restaurants will be offering special prix-fixe menus at a discount (compared to ordering the items a la carte). Quite a few of them are doing a repeat of the recent Opentable Appetite Stimulus Plan menu (Citrus @ Social for example, has one nearly identical to appetite stimulus.)
As my foodblogging friend Binary Tastebuds pointed out, with the DineLA menu one's probably not going to get the authentic experience of the restaurant since they'll mass-producing these pre-set meals, but it's good for at least getting a taste and an idea of how that restaurant's food is going to be without a big a hole in the wallet.
The pricing plan for this year's resto week is a bit different too--instead of a $15/25 lunch and $22/34 dinner; it's a three-tiered system of $16/22/28 for lunch and $26/34/44 for dinner with most of the better-known places on the $28/$44 end.
As for me, there are literally a dozen of restaurants that look interesting -- if I had to pick a few to check out this year, it'd be these four:
Water Grill - well-known for its fresh seafood, I've yet to dine at this downtown institution of a restaurant. The fish-dominated menu here includes some creative items such as cucumber rolled spicy big eye tuna with hearts of palm puree, ruby grapefruit and tobiko and grilled Columbia River white sturgeon with coriander spiced yam, rapini, baby roasted beets, pearled barley and oregano, so definitely looking forward to it.
The Bazaar by Jose Andres at SLS - I've only been here for drinks so far (nicely made, for most part) so it'll be nice to check out some of the creative small plates this place has to offer. No menu posted up yet but it looks promising based on previous reviews.
Akasha - Like nearby Beacon, I love the east-west influences of their menu, including Big Tree Farms wild pepper scallops with forbidden black rice risotto, edamame puree and baby bok choy and Masala spiced wild shrimp with local greens, pistachios pickled onions and yogurt-tomato chutney. And of course, it's great knowing that Akasha tries to buy locally and organic whenever possible.
Angeli Caffe - the only restaurant of the "cheap" tier that popped out at me, it has a pretty basic but interesting-sounding menu including their famous lemon-garlic-rosemary roasted chicken, butternut squash-fontina cheese lasagna, and beet ricotta gnocchi tossed with melted butter and sage.
Others that pique my interest, but not necesarily a "must go" include: Cube, Valentino, Dining Room at the Langham, Bashan, Royal/T and Comme Ca. But hey, check out the list and menus yourself -- maybe there are others that you've been waiting to try. Here's to a tasty and less expensive epicurean experimentation! Or, click here to check out my last year's DineLA foodventures at Grace, Circa 55, Ford's Filling Station, etc.