Restaurant Soft Openings

Traveling is often filled with the unexpected and the hope for the extraordinary experience.  Visiting in Los Angeles lends itself to both, the lovely moments and the overrated.  Tonight we went to a “soft opening” of a restaurant.  For those who may not know, this is when a restaurant is still putting the finishing touches on the menu, the wine list, and the service.  I was surprised that the “general do it all manager” from one of our favorite restaurants there had decided to open his own, very Italian cuisine option.

We had a lovely Italian sweet wine for a toast as we came in to the setting which was pleasant but ordinary.  We had a tour of the restaurant including the upstairs seating and private dining area for groups.  As the only diners there we had the exclusive attention of the owner.  We did not have a menu option and the dinner arrived in courses.  The first was a mozzarella the size of a baseball with heirloom tomatoes, tasty but way too much.  Next was a truffle pasta with the addition of hand shaved truffles.  The pasta was done just right but for me the truffle was overwhelming and there was no sauce.  The main course was a branzino and was undercooked.  It was from Italy and was delicate and flaky on the outer areas but very pink inside.  Dessert was a nectarine custard tart which was very nice and a special ending to dinner.  As we were the only diners with the exception of one couple in the corner, we had attentive service.

The restaurant has two weeks to spiff up the food and brighten up the atmosphere to create the new “go to” place for diners in a competitive market for sophisticated diners with many options.

But, it was a fun experience, new and interesting.  Not extraordinary but definitely an unexpected treat.

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