Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Mini Foodventures #123: Bottega Louie (Downtown)

I am not one to judge a book by its cover, but I've been to enough eateries to notice that a restaurant's design and its food quality tend to have an inverted relationship. There are places that serve excellent food, but the decor leans towards minimalistically-elegant and then there are eateries that's just delicious eye candy all over, but tends to be iffy on service or actual food.

So, when I took a sneak peek inside then-under-construction Bottega Louie before opening (following a cocktail or two at Seven Grand across the street,) I was quick to dismiss it as the latter kind of restaurant. High on glam, probably not-so-high on the food.
Dining Room/Bar/Kitchen Areas
But after seeing initial positive reports from various blogs and media, I decided to cast my inner cynicism aside and check out the place.
Patisserie Counter
The result? I've returned... five times... within a month.

Now I'm not about to say it's the best food I've ever tasted, but for me it does hit that sweet spot of great service, wonderful decor, reasonable pricing and, most importantly, decent dishes. The fare leans towards simple-but-fresh, with a nod towards French and Mediterranean cuisines that's effortlessly sophisticated and letting the individual ingredients truly shine with very little fuss.

Most of everything I've had thus far have been solid, but here are a few highlight items that's worth ordering over and over again (and my friends and I have!)
Hibsicus Mimosa
Hibiscus mimosa ($11) - a little tart, a little sweet and a lot of pretty; it's a beautiful spin off the traditional fizzy classic, bursting with floral and berry notes and slow, steady stream of bubbles that lasts throughout your brunch.
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes w Blueberries
Lemon ricotta pancakes ($11) - I'm a definite sucker for ricotta pancakes, the cheese in the batter makes the end result fluffy-yet-chewy (al dente of pancakes) and I love the extra citrusy zing from the speckles of zest within. The accompanying blueberry-flavored maple syrups (not to mention the handful of fresh blueberries) and vibrant complements as well.
Fettucine w Arugula, Tomatoes & Parm Cheese
Fettucine Belmondo ($8) - a simple, satisfying dish with housemade pasta, arugula, garlic, cherry tomatoes, olive oil and parmigano reggiano. I love the firmer chew and snap of the fresh pasta, and this preparation really lets all the fresh flavors shine and blend beautifully with one another, from the nutty pungency of the sauteed garlic slivers to the bright arugula and tomatoes and sizable slices of the hard, almost-fruity aged cheese.
Black Cod en Papillote w Vegetables
Black cod en papillote ($23) - a bit pricey for what it is, but it's a satisfying entree that's not too heavy. Moist, meaty pieces of cod are accompanied with a nicely steamed assortment of vegetables and served a lemony beurre blanc sauce on the side. Get this with the fettucine and it's a solid light meal for two.
Chocolate Souffle
Chocolate Souffle ($9) w vanilla bean creme anglaise - not too sweet (even with the sauce) and intense with deep, dark chocolate flavors while remaining light and moist in texture, this dessert is worth the 25-minute wait.

Of course, given how expansive their menu is -- there are still quite a number of dishes I've yet to explore. But it's good to know I've already got a few favorites I can fall back on.

Bottega Louie
700 S. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 802-1470

Bottega Louie on Urbanspoon


weezermonkey said...

I love this place, too. It goes beyond just tasty food. I think ambiance really does lend a lot to a favorable experience, and there really isn't any other space that's comparable around here.

Here's what I thought.

Gastronomer said...

Why haven't I eaten here yet?! And so the list grows... I recently had a cruddy soufflé at POP champagne bar in Pasadena. I'd like to erase that memory ASAP with one from B. Louie.

Anjali said...

Okay, this definitely moves Bottega Louie to the top of my Must Go list. The photo of the ricotta pancakes is driving me nuts!

Diana said...

Have you tried the blueberry ricotta pancakes at BLD? AMAZING. I'm dying to try the recipe that the LA Times printed.

burumun said...

I'm ashamed to say I have yet to try the desserts! "Get souffle" is now noted on my list. As well as going there for brunch :)

mattatouille said...

their patisserie is pretty respectable, with decent prices to boot. Caneles, pastries, and macarons are all moderately priced and worth getting if you're an office denizen like me and need a sweet attack every once in a while. But I will report, mr. foodie fitness, that I haven't been for weeks :)

H. C. said...

@weezer, yep it's fast becoming one of my fave spots in downtown.

@gastronomer, POP's souffle are actually hit and miss with me (since the flavors are on the eclectic side and they switch it up frequently). Love to hear whatcha think of this souffle

@Diana, not yet but I'm a sucker for ricotta pancakes!

@burumun, hopefully you won't be disappointed by either

@mattatouille, heh, the portions there are sensible - no need to guilt over the patisserie items ;)

Nanciful said...

I have never tried a ricotta pancake before *hangs head* So shameful I know but now I know a place! Thanks!

H. C. said...

@Nanciful Go. Now. ;)


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