Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bottega Louie

We visited Andrew and Lauren this weekend and they suggested we eat at Bottega Louie, located at 700 S. Grand Ave in Los Angeles (phone: 213-802-1470). 
I'm glad we visited late on a Saturday afternoon. Downtown was not crowded and we had no problem getting around or finding parking. It is located among the high rises 
and has a European feel to it. Inside it has extremely high ceilings, lots of whitish marble (the restrooms were beautiful) and French tables. Because of the high ceilings and spacious room, it felt a little like eating at an elegant train station. The servings for the most part were quite small and it is expensive. When we walked in we passed a refrigerated section with European type sandwiches and soft drinks. On the way out I bought a hard bread type sandwich with prosciutto and burrata cheese which I ate in the car. It may have been the best thing I ate. Nice and chewy, flavorful and European to the core. I had to gnaw on it for a while to get each bite, and then chew and chew, but the texture and taste were wonderful. Further into the restaurant we passed displays of wicked looking desserts 
which we also purchased some of on our way out. I got a praline pecan creme brulee which I ate at home when it was cold, but it was still very good. It reminded me of some of the beautiful French desserts we saw on display in Montreal. Finally, once at a table, Andrew and Lauren ordered a clam pizza which was clammy with surf clams and mozzarella and Pecorino Romano cheese. 
It was nice and mild, surprising because Pecorino is very salty and strong. It was pretty good as far as pizza goes, but I'm just not much of a pizza person. 
Judy got trenne pasta with prime rib eye, kale and shaved Grana Parmesan cheese. 
I only tasted one piece of her pasta and it was kind of hard and crunchy, but I'm not a pasta person either. Judy had read a review on Yelp that raved about the trenne pasta, but she was disappointed with it. She said the ribeye with it was good, but did not like the pasta much. I got what was identified as a lamb porterhouse which was two very small lamb chops with small baked potatoes and garlic cloves. 
I asked for medium rare lamb, but they said it was small and would be cooked through. Of my two pieces, one was thicker than the other, and was thus rare, and I enjoyed it more than the more cooked piece. It was good, but not great. The vegetables were tasty. The portabello mushroom fries were truly unique, with a thin crisp coating and a nice green, quite flavorful, dipping sauce. 
The fries were crisp on the outside, but with the meaty, juicy portabello taste inside. 
They were a truly nice dish and a nice value, comparatively, even at $10.00. The other menu item that was very nicely cooked was grilled octopus. 
It was $12.00 for a very small amount, but it may be the best octopus I've ever eaten. It had a nice, firm, grilled exterior, had a nice taste and was not rubbery.  Finally, we all shared a chocolate souffle dessert there. A hole was punched in the top of the souffle and cream poured in. 
The souffle was very light and fluffy and the cream not very sweet. 
It was fun and different, but I would not pay $15.00 to eat it again. Bottega Louie was fun to visit, but given the cost I would probably not go for a sit-down meal again. However, I do look forward to trying some more of their take out sandwiches and desserts. I love the crusty European bread and need to try some more of their luscious looking desserts.

Update: May 2016

Andrew was visiting from New York and wanted to visit Bottega Louie, his favorite restaurant in Los Angeles. We had brunch on a Saturday morning. He got smoked salmon benedict, I got lobster hash and we shared some lemon ricotta pancakes. Then we shared our dishes. They do poached eggs very well. They were soft and full of runny - I don't think you can do them any better. The lettuce on the benedict was a different touch. Although it was good, it was not outstanding.
On the other hand, my lobster hash was incredible. The potatoes were cubed in smaller pieces than I've ever seen. The effect is that virtually the entire cube has an outside frying surface and has the nice fried, crispy, buttery taste. The small lobster pieces were very savory and as good as any lobster I've ever eaten. They were tender but had some sort of added cooking and/or flavoring that added an extra element to it. The smoked paprika hollandaise sauce was a bright lobster red and really set the dish apart visually. It also had chunks of brussels sprouts that added a different texture and taste.
The lemon ricotta pancakes were good, but I didn't really taste the lemon or notice the ricotta. They were soft and had small blueberries accompanying them. What really made them was the maple syrup that came with them.
I ordered two desserts to take home. The strawberry tart was very bland and not very sweet. It was a big disappointment.
On the other hand, the passion mango dessert had a powerhouse mango flavor on the outside and a milder, but very nice passion fruit flavor inside, along with a crunchy filling of some sort. This was truly outstanding.

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