Thursday, May 21, 2009

Special Foodventure #120: One Sunset... Again! (West Hollywood)

Thanks to Abby and the One Group, I got another opportunity to check out One Sunset for free (save for tips at the end) -- this time with a bunch of other foodbloggers! Since it's been about a month or two since my last visit there (when Jason Ryczek just became the new executive chef) so it's also a good opportunity to see how he steered the menu.
Like last time, the event occurred on a Tuesday to, of course, promote their "One of Almost Everything" Tuesday special ($45 for a four-course meal, each course being a duo or trio of dishes so more like 11-12 belly-busting "tastings", and a bottle of wine for only $1 more!) but this time, One Group mixologist Pablo Moix was on hand to help create cocktail pairings with the various courses. Which totalled up to five cocktails PLUS wine... um yeah, I'm thankful for my tolerance and my semi-legible notes (which, of obvious reasons, got more illegible as the night went on.)
Sucker Punch
Of the drinks, the ones I loved the most are the LUSHious raspberry served at the beginning (a delightful combo of fresh raspberries, Leblon cacha├ža and Gloria Ferrer Champagne) and the pictured-above Sucker Punch (Tommy Bahama rum, clover honey syrup, red wine with mint garnish -- or as I call it, the delicious lovechild of mojito and sangria.)
Braised Short Rib Sliders
Some of my favorites from my previous time there made a reappearance, including the short rib sliders with smoked cheddar and the "adult candy" (medjool dates stuffed with bleu cheese and wrapped in bacon) and those turkey meatballs that are SO moist and fluffy they don't taste "turkey" at all, but here are some new items I really liked:
Strawberry Caprese Salad
- Strawberries and burrata - a simple spin off a traditional caprese salad, with strawberries standing in for tomatoes, but the subsitution was sublime. The strawberries still lent that familiar tartness to offset the creamy cheese, but I love how its ripe, sweet, fruity aroma worked with the almost syruplike balsamic vinegar. A generous sprinkling of pink peppercorn also gave it much-welcomed extra little zip.
Tuna Tartare on Eggplant Tempura
- Tuna tartare on eggplant tempura - ok, not entirely 'new' since I had it at the last tasting, but this one worked considerably better since the eggplant slices were smaller so it didn't taste too heavy; the ratio of the crispy batter, the creamy eggplant and the fatty, meaty raw tuna were 'just right'.

- Chowder in a clam shell - asides from the cute presentation, it's a nicely-sized mini-course of roasted clam, chorizo and creamier-than-usual chowder sauce, satisfying my palate for something heavy without making me feel guilty for slurping down a whole bowl of chowder.
Vegan Ice Cream
- Vegan Godiva chocolate gelato w a side shot of Disaronna amaretto - the gelato was deep and intense with cocoa flavors and not-too-sweet, and if Chef Ryczek didn't mention the vegan aspect of it I wouldn't have been able to tell, since instead of the usual rice or soy milk he used agar to give it that creamy/thick consistency (I'm sure it's more complicated than just throwing agar gel, cocoa powder and sweetener together -- but the rest I chuck up to culinary magic.) Mixing in that amaretto worked enchantments of its own as it slowly turns into an alcoholic chocolate-almond non-milkshake.
Chef Jason Ryczek ... flashed! (sorry)
And as with most hosted dinners attended by foodbloggers galore, a major part of the fun is chatting up with them, as well as with Chef Ryczek, on food trends, places they love to hit up, and noting their food preferences from how they reacted to the dish (my sweet tooth is easily unveiled by my love of the desserts as well as the short rib sliders, which others felt were a touch too sugary.)

Nonetheless, I'm definitely glad to still be able to recommend the "One of Almost Everything" Tuesdays as one of the better and tastier deals going on at the swanky Sunset Strip, and with the seasonal menu direction that Chef Ryczek is adapting, I'm definitely looking forward to something fresh and innovative the next time I'm swinging by, which I'll gladly do on my own dime.

For other reports of this same meal, check out the posts by gas•tron•o•my, Kevineats, Tangmeister and When Tara Met Blog.

One Sunset
8730 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 657-0111

Complete Flickr set with more photos here

One Sunset on Urbanspoon


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