Sunday, March 8, 2009

XIV - 01/02/2009

My first visit to XIV was on its opening night and I was impressed how smoothly the kitchen was running from the get go; easily the best opening night experience I have ever had. Keeping up with the menu over the past few months I have seen the courses evolve with time and I felt it was time to pay XIV another restaurant.

The restaurant styles itself as a custom tasting menu experience. A cynic might remark this just makes it easier to serve each table but I think it makes for a fun dining experience with the right people. The interior is done up to resemble an European castle. This time we were seated on a couch facing the fireplace, probably the best seat in the house depending on the company.

Having tasted all the courses during my first visit I thought I would stick with the most memorable and see how they fared.

Naan - with Greek Yogurt
The best naan I have had outside an Indian restaurant, well the only naan I have had outside an Indian restaurant. XIV's naan compares very favorably to any Indian restaurants. The butter actually gives it a sweet burnt toffee aroma, delicious both with and without the yogurt.

01: Foie Gras Terrine - Cranberry, Cardamom, Greek Yogurt, Flatbread
The foie had the same silky smooth dense texture and rich flavor. Interestingly this course has not changed at all since my last visit, but as they say if it ain't broke don't fix it.

02: Heirloom Beets - Burrata, Wild Arugula, Aged Balsamic, New Olive Oil
Never a big fan of beets I was stunned by the last salad but this wasn't as strong. I think the gruyere was the key difference, its sharper flavor moderated the cloying sweetness of the beets more effectively than the burrata.

03: Meyer Lemon Risotto - Porcini, Chervil, Castelmango Cheese
We just had a lemon risotto a few days ago and I afraid this would be a repeat of that experience. Beautifully balanced, the risotto had very lively aroma of fresh lemon but that didn't overpower the cheese or the mushroom flavors.

04: Jidori Chicken - Truffled Mac & Cheese, Shoestring Onions
I had one of my better experiences with chicken at XIV during my first visit. A very savory yet simple dish, the chicken was just as good the second time around. Tender and juicy the breast meat soaked up the richness of the mac & cheese wonderfully.

05: Roasted Venison - Cabbage, Stewed Cranberries
A wonderful preparation of venison, the meat can easily stand on its own with a unique blend of savoriness and game. The addition of cranberry gives the meat some depth and complexity

06: White Chocolate Cube - Seven Layers of Purple
One of the most beautiful desserts I have ever seen, distinctive and elegant, this would make a perfect signature dessert for the restaurant. This time around the cube was filled with red fruit flavors which provided a tartness to contrast the sweet creamy flavor of the chocolate.

07: Bitter Chocolate Cream - Ube, Mozzarella Milk Ice, Elderflower, Violet
Despite being called bitter chocolate cake I found this quite sweet. The sweetness is nicely tempered by what is in essence mozzarella ice cream. I love the liquid-metal look of the edible silver suspension in this course which makes this another visually appealing course.

Despite being one of the sexiest looking restaurants in LA, XIV doesn't rely solely on its looks. Instead the kitchen matches the decor with skillfully prepared and artfully presented food.


Food, she thought. said...

That chicken w/mac n cheese looks amazing. However, I read recently that they have done away with the "whole table" ordering concept. Having done that might make me go back again a little more quickly.

Tangbro1 said...

I think they still have the whole table concept, but they did add an a la carte menu.

Kevin got invited by Michael Mina to sample the new menu when they introduced it.

Aaron said...

Great pictures of the cube. I was wondering what was in that thing

Tangbro1 said...

I can't recall exactly what was inside the cube. There was a sponge cake layer, some preserved fruits (blueberries and raspberries) and cream.

I thought this would have been a great signature dessert. Sadly I don't see it on the revamped menu.

SinoSoul said...

wait.. so is it BETTER than the first time? or not? *confused*

Tangbro1 said...

Yhe food quality is about the same, a couple courses were better this time and a couple were worse. Overall, I think this meal was a bit better since we stuck with the good courses rather than trying everything.

kevinEats said...

Liz: Indeed. They've not done away with the "whole table" concept. Rather, they've augmented it with a la carte selections. People wanted to be able to "just have a steak" without going through the rigamarole of the whole process.

As for the Cube, the chef mentioned that a lot of people didn't care for it surprisingly. It definitely should be a signature dessert; I mean it even mimicks the shape of the building!