There is a reason that studying to be a chef is known as the culinary arts. Just like anything in the creative world, being a chef is mastering the art of producing something pleasing to the eye. Only chefs have the added challenge of making their creations pleasing to the palate, too.
|The amouse bouche was a chilled carrot soup.|
At Patina, it is safe to say that the chefs have mastered that art. The downtown Los Angeles restaurant, located in the Walt Disney Concert Hall, creates stunning dishes of frame-worthy beauty that taste equally as delectable. It regularly makes local, California and national “best of” lists, and was awarded the prestigious Michelin star a few years ago. (However, the Michelin guide no longer ranks L.A. restaurants.) And there’s no wonder why.
The setting of Patina is classy and modern, yet comfortable. The staff is numerous and generous, dressed up but still friendly. The whole restaurant runs like a well-rehearsed play. Several servers stand along the wall ready to refill water glasses or clear plates like actors waiting off-stage for their cue to join the performance.
|Carmelized scallops with lilly vegetables and maple.|
I started Act 1 (“Appetizers”) with one of my favorite menu items :: scallops ($26). Slightly caramelized, the plump scallops were cooked with their centers slightly rare–tickling my love for sashimi-style scallops. They danced with a little bit of bacon, some onions and other vegetables (what the menu described as “lilly vegetables”), that were a bit over-cooked. A few had reached that stringy, awkward stage of done-ness, but the flavor–along with the dash of maple–maintained a lovely balance.
|The fork for my Colorado Lamb reminded me of a pitch fork in a play.|
For the main act, I opted for another usual pick for me :: lamb ($48). The Colorado Lamb arrived with carrots, broccoli and Greek yogurt. The lamb jus was poured table-side by the waiter. It was a classic dish with the suspected culprits, but, like many good classics, was very satisfying. A delicious course that had me smiling the whole time.
|I thought about the citrus tard with lemon custard for days!|
For the finale, I chose the citrus tart with lemon custard ($12). The “tart” was desconstructed; the creamy lemon custard was sprinkled with chunks of graham crust and topped with a tart lime sorbet, bits of frozen blood orange mousse and a light, airy foam. The contrasting textures and flavors created an incredible scene of drama and love on my taste buds. The wonderful flavor lingered in my memory for days like a song I couldn’t get out of my head.
Patina hits all the high notes in my book :: service, ambiance and food. The dishes are classic but creative and the execution is exquisite. And the best part is you can enjoy an amazing, relaxing meal and still get to the opera (or symphony or theater–all of which are next door) right on time.