Fellow foodie Andee, the blogger behind LA Easy Meals, invited me to Joe’s Restaurant in Venice Beach. I was excited to try this place out, as I admittedly am not familiar with the Venice area, especially Abbot Kinney, where the restaurant was located.
Our hostess, Andee, greeted us and once we were seated we were presented with a personalized tasting menu that was even signed by Joe himself. I was rather amused with seeing my name on a menu and it was a very nice touch.
The evening started out with a charcuterie plate, which included pork, rabbit, duck, prosciutto, and chorizo. This was a night of firsts including my first time having rabbit and I was pleasantly surprised that I liked them all. My favorites from this dish were the prosciutto, which wasn’t salty and seemed to melt in my mouth. I also loved the duck galantine which was very sweet and of course one of my all time favorites, the chorizo.
Up next was an amuse buche of chestnut soup with Parmesan froth. The soup was made ewith a vegetable stock and the flavors of the chestnut, Parmesan, and a bite sized portion of pork blending together perfectly.
Next was the eastern fluke crudi sashimi, which was made with finger lime, radish salas, salted grape, and saletta. Needless to say, the fish had a very citrus taste and was a good palate cleanser.
After taking a few minutes to chat and pace ourselves, the pan seared foie gras with chocolate and cinnamon persimmons, brioche, and huckleberry vinaigrette was brought out next. I’m not a fan of foie gras but this one was an exception. The foie gras wasn’t fatty but rather firm and meaty. If all foie gras tasted like this, then maybe I’d like it a bit more.
After some more pacing which I am thankful the chefs did as we were starting to fill up came two equally delicious seafood entrees. Scallops with braised artichoke, sun choke puree, and cauliflower mushrooms, which were a colorful mix of deliciousness.
However, my tablemates and myself were very impressed with the grilled fijiian escolar, parsnip puree, calimari, purple sweet potato, and pink peppercorn vinaigrette. The colors of the dish screamed fall, however, the dining table was abuzz with “mmm” “delicious” and as my table mate Melissa said, “OMG OMG OMG OMG” my thoughts exactly. The fish came apart very easily and was in fact very fresh, almost as if they caught the fish as we were seated for the evening. The pork belly was also a very good accent to the dish.
The final entrees of the evening were a jidori chicken with pistachio roulade, chestnut foie gras pasta, Brussels sprouts, and pancetta. For me, this dish was the low light of the evening. It was rather dry but the chestnut foie gras saved the meal for me, as it was en pointe.
Finally we indulged in the lamb sirloin, beet risotto, and lamb ragout. Beets are another food item I don’t like but once again the staff at Joe’s turned the experience around and made it delicious. I had just recently started cooking lamb and this dish echoed why I love this protein so much. Firm yet malleable, and seasoned to perfection. Once again the beets and the lamb were a winning combination.
Last but most definitely not least was three desserts.
Up first was a pumpkin creme caramel flan with pumpkin seed streusel, and chestnut ice cream, which was devoured rather quickly.
Then was the baked apple with cranberry caramel sauce, and allspice creme fraiche that to me was the “safe” dessert. Every restaurant has a standard dessert that pleases the masses and this to me was the one.
Finally was the mascarpone cheesecake with fig, candied pistachio, honey cinnamon sauce, and vanilla ice cream. This to me was the best dessert of the three. The mascarpone was much easier to stomach than cream cheese as it was much lighter and the fig & pistachio ended the night on a sweet note.
As we started to unwind from the massive food feast, I was given coffee and rich fudge chocolate cookies. To me that was extra icing on the cake.
I thank Andee of LA Easy Meals for organizing this event. Next time I’m in the Venice Area, I know where I’m headed, especially for their brunch that I hear is also very good.