Monday, July 26, 2010

The Tasting Kitchen

This weekend my husband and i decided to spend our saturday night dinner at Gjelina. We discovered this restaurant a few months ago and loved their food. The only annoying part is the long wait time (generally 45 mins to an hr) if you don't have reservations. So as luck would have it, we were asked to wait for an hour + for a table.

While walking around in Abbot kinney and waiting for a table at Gjelina, we decided why not try some other place. And we walked into a cute, fairly chic restaurant The Tasting Kitchen. OMG!! as luck would have it, someone did not show up for their reservation and we happened to get their table. Yaaay!! No wait and we decided to bunk Gjelina!!

Our table was at the upper level of the restaurant. The decor was very minimal but very smart. The room was buzzing with loud chatters. The wall behind us was adorned with torn pages of random books (What a smart and inexpensive way to cover the wall!!). A huge black board showed us the map of Italy, had various pictures of types of glasses and today's special. Right across from it, a black and white Italian movie reeled in the back ground.

Since this was our first visit we promptly asked our server for recommendations. Let me just warn you, this is one of those places where you can never go wrong. Everything we tried was fabulous. We started with wine, i had a glass of Riesling. We quickly ordered our appetizers. The butter lettuce (with blue cheese and tarragon) is the best. A burst of fresh flavors in your mouth. Toast (figs and fromage cheese) just melts in your mouth. The cheese was super fresh and light. Skip the castelvetrano olives (they are good, but just olives, so unless you want to eat a handful of olives i would not order it) . The french fries were nothing unique!!

We then moved on to the main dishes. I ordered a halibut (with beans and vermouth) and Sid ordered a simple pasta. (Warning!!! - There is not a whole lot of choice for vegetarians. Most of their dishes have pork!!) The halibut was small in portion but one of the best i have ever had. The soft silky fish just melted in my mouth. Full of flavor, the beans were an unusual but good accomplice. Sid's pasta was simple but another feather in their cap. It was homemade and bursting with flavors.

For desert we ordered the sticky toffee desert (apparently it was their best selling desert) and i could see why. It was a small warm toffee pudding topped with a yummy cold ice cream. Warm and comforting...made me wanna eat some more and more.

We had a wonderful but "dear" dinner. We did eat a lot (i mean between the two of us 4 appetizers, 2 entrees, a desert and 3 glasses of wine). I would definitely look forward to another evening there. It's a young vibrant place full of energy. The staff is warm and friendly and the food scrumptious. Do visit it soon and share your experience with me.

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