Bar + Kitchen – Slow Service, But I don’t Mind It

by Franklin on October 14, 2011

It is always nice to eat with family.  Being Dine LA Restaurant Week and all, we all wanted to take advantage and have lunch.  Since restaurant week comes in 3 courses and 3 dishes to choose from, the trio, my brother, cousin, and I went to Bar + Kitchen. Perfectly situated in Downtown, it was a nice spot located inside the O Hotel.

For appetizers, we were given picked vegetables.  The carrot sticks and cauliflower were tangy in this salty and vinegary brine. It went well with a lot of the dishes we had, especially the meat.

We all started off with the maple chili glazed pork belly appetizer.  It was kind of small, but it was made up in taste.  The chili glaze was not too spicy or sweet.  Just right.  The pork belly was fried and placed in small cubes.  There was a lot of fat on the meat. Though I shouldn’t complain about pork fat, the pickled vegetables were great to cut the richness of the fat.

My dish, the jidori chicken was better than I expected.  The chicken was not dry at all and the skin was perfectly crispy.  Impressive! The fried crispy brussel sprouts, grapes, and apple slices. were a great addition to the dish. I felt the dish was missing some kind of starch.  Some rice or mashed potatoes could have completed this plate a little more, but in their defense, the chicken was great.

My favorite was the shrimp and grits.  Though it came in small portions, the taste made up for it.  The grits hats a nice grainy texture and the spanish chorizo ragout was perfectly flavored on top of it. The shrimp was cooked with amazing flavor; it had a nice savory flavor and not over cooked.  This dish was simply delicious.

My least favorite was the mushroom toast with leeks.  It had a fried egg on top which was nearly burnt on the bottom.  The whole grain mustard on the bread was a nice touch. It rounded out the meaty mushrooms and eggs with the toast.  The arugula salad needed some extra dressing or vinaigrette, but was still tasty for this meal.

The dessert is where Bar + Kitchen exceeded my expectations.  I was beyond happy with all of the desserts.

I had the apple bread pudding with with ice cream and walnuts.  The bread pudding was nicely baked, and not too mushy. It still had a cake like consistency, but held its own as bread pudding.  The ice cream on top and the walnuts just finished everything off nicely.

The warm chocolate and peanut butter cake with peanut brittle and vanilla ice cream was possibly my favorite.  The cake was moist, and the peanut butter flavor after each bite was so distinct and intense. Chocolate and peanut butter were definitely made for each other.  And again, you can forget about the ice cream on top.  Perfect.

The butterscotch pot de creme was the fanciest looking.  The creme inside of a glass jar with whipped cream on top was visually appetizing  Eating it with the biscuit cookies was a perfect combination.  You had the crunch and “crust” like texture from the cookies, and the filling from the pot de creme. I thought the butter scotch was going to be too sweet, but it was a bit mellowed out somehow.

Not only was it good by themselves, but having each element on one spoonful was heaven.  A little butterscotch creme, whipped creme, peanut butter chocolate cake, bread pudding and a piece of butter cookie; delicious!

Bar + Kitchen really surprised me.  The outside of the hotel looks a little run down, but inside is a different story.  And the food is even better.  Who would have though this spot would be so delicious.  I guess that is the beauty about restaurant week.  It kind of forces you and give you that extra push to try new restaurant. I was a bit skeptical with all the bad reviews and all, but I am glad I went to Bar + Kitchen.

Bar & Kitchen (O Hotel) on Urbanspoon

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