After months of making reservations and having to cancel for one reason or another, I finally made it to Michael Voltaggio’s highly anticipated new L.A. restuarant ink. It was a Monday night (not exactly an any given weeknight type of restaurant), but you never know how long you’ve got. I say use your silver and “good” china when eating a tv dinner alone (do as I say, not as I do) and eat at ink. on a Monday night. But, I digress.
I fell in love with his grey neutral palette and appreciated the blank slate (no pun intended) for his whimsical, edible designs to take center stage. Very much like serving food on a white plate, the decor, while cool and a bit tongue-in-cheek (see “Token Pig Statue” above), set a perfect backdrop that was unpretentious, relaxed and simply put…fun.
Moving on to the main event, we decided the tasting menu was the way to go. For first timers, it’s hard to go wrong as you get to sample a variety of flavors and textures. The tasting menu consists of five courses including dessert. I’m sure the menu changes frequently, but we started with a first course of scallops with tofu, cocoa, black vinaigrette and rice cracker. Second course was the most amazing foie gras I have ever put in my mouth, and I’m not a huge foie gras lover. Usually one tiny bite is enough for me, but this was paired with smoked maple that had the consistancy of a spicy melted cheese and waffle. It was AH-MAZING. This dish to me really highlighted what Voltaggio does best—wowing you with presentation and confusing you in the best possible way as to what in the world you are eating that tastes so ridiculously good. Next up was branzini, which I don’t particularly care for, but his was done to perfection. The final main event was steak frites that I liken to a deconstructed steak béarnaise…delicious! The dessert was what you need after a meal like this—a sweet ending, but nothing I would crave at the most inopportune time (like I do the beignets at Hatfields). Having gotten the recommendation about ten minutes too late from a friend on the “inside,” I’d take her advice and order the squid spaghetti and pork belly mac & cheese next time, just to broaden my ink. horizons.
We did not do the wine pairing, but we did order a glass. I loved that for $9 both wines we ordered were exceptionally good, so good in fact, we had our waiter write it down: Vina Ijalba Rioja Livor Tempranillo
My only disappointment was that Mr. Voltaggio was not there that evening—always a bummer when you hope to see your celebrity chef in action. But, I hear he was in NYC that day doing “Good Morning America.” So, really, who can blame him? It was a Monday night after all…
ink. 8360 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90069. 323.651-5866