Discover LA's J Spot…
Here’s a hint: Look for softly-lit exposed brick walls, a few cozy booths in the back of a split-level restaurant with a bar on the top floor and live jazz on Thursdays.
Sound like I’m describing a character-laden den in downtown Brooklyn? This little detail might give it away… J Restaurant & Lounge’s whiskey-vermouth-bitters-cherry-orange drink is called the Los Angeles, instead of the Manhattan. (Yet another New Yorker-turned-Angeleno.)
In an effort to stay up on downtown, I recently wined and dined at the newly remodeled J where Chef Oz Ramuco prepared a multi-course meal to show off the new digs.
Course One featured a rich butternut soup topped with crispy leeks and luscious tarragon oil paired with a floral Gainey Vineyard 2006 Riesling from the Santa Ynez Valley (which comes from just up the road, near Santa Barbara).
The second course was my favorite - a mouth-watering, creamy textured giant raw scallop with trout caviar and drizzled with a citrus sauce on a bed of micro arugula. That was paired with Nobilo from the Northern part of the South Island of New Zealand. J’s Sommelier, Frederic Hemon, suggested that one may notice a grassy nose and notes of green pepper. My nose didn’t pick up the grassy thing but I was delighted that I totally got the green pepper! Yum!
For the main course, I chose the flat iron steak, which came out medium instead of medium rare accompanied by lukewarm (eh) fingerling potatoes. However, the meat was paired with a delicious Spanish 2005 Finca Antigua La Mancha Syrah whose dark, rich color and deep layers of flavor is practically a meal unto itself.
Dessert was a yummy warm almond torte alongside a glass of 1998 Sainte Croix du Mont. (Decadent!)
The evening closed with a port-style Grenache Noir from Banyol (also referred to as Banyuls) in the Western part of France. The Sommelier explained that this wine is unusually aged in glass exposed to the heat of summer and cold of winter – which I’d never heard of before. (I just love learning new wine facts! Don’t you?)
So, grab your GPS and head downtown. One pleasure filled night at J will leave your senses more than satisfied.