Sunday, July 26, 2009


We figured it's time to put up a post on one of our favorite restaurants in LA...Suzanne Goin's AOC, named after the Appellation d'Origine Controlee (French certification of wines, cheeses, etc. dating back to the 15th century) is probably best described as a small plates Medditerranean style food coupled with a top of the line wine bar.

The restaurant offers close to 50 different wines by the glass, carafe or bottle and phenomenal stemware (note, if you do bring you own bottle, the restaurant will waive corkage if you buy a bottle...incentive to consume). Additionally, we like the scene....hip with a minimalist decor.

Now, if you're a big cheese and charcuterie fan...AOC is right up your alley. In fact, the restaurant even has a cheese bar where you can watch them slicing up your fromage. We like to start with the lomo & two chorizo, a mix of two different types of salami & a pork tenderloin cured in a similar manner to prosciutto or bresaola. If this dish doesn't sound like your style, go for the serrano ham or prosciutto (cant go wrong). Alongside the meat, we went for an assortment of 3 cheeses. They have a full cheese menu that changes daily served with some dried figs and a knowledgeable waitstaff to help you through the selections. For us, starting off the meal with meat, cheese, and a nice red is the perfect way to start the evening.

On to the small plates. We started with a new dish on the menu, the duck breast salad (see attached pic), served with blood oranges, mizuna, and green olives (see picture). The duck was cooked perfectly and the citrus of the oranges combined with the olive kick really worked well together. We followed with a beet & burrata salad which was solid, but quite similar to the burrata dishes you see at many other LA eateries. It's not that we didn't enjoy it, in fact, it is a great dish, but we'd rather choose the unique dishes AOC brings to the table.
Some of our favorites include the brioche with prosciutto, gruyere and a poached egg (see attached pic), the cauliflower with curry and red vinegar, halibut with salt cod gratin, sorrel and garlic, and the skirt steak with roquefort butter and crispy onions. With the exception of the halibut, which we had to send back because it was undercooked (clearly a moment of weakness for the restaurant), all of the above dishes are quite tasty. Of the proteins, we keep coming back for the skirt steak. The roquefort butter & onions work with the steak perfectly. Additionally, it's a great piece of meat (Niman Ranch) and comes out quite tender, which is a concern we usually have with skirt steak.
Lastly, we want to point out what we call a "rabbit meatball" (see attached pic), served with peaches in a light peach sauce. We forgot to write-down the details of the dish so vaguely describing it based on memory. My wife won't eat rabbit if I she knows that's what she's eating (something to do with cute bunny association), so I had to disguise this one as chicken. Guess what? The dish really blew her away. It was incredibly tender and really benefited from the sweetness in the sauteed peaches. I am a big fan of rabbit (when it's done well, it's phenomenal) and believe it's a protein that is certainly underused in the US.

Even though you may be full and need something sweet to finish off the meal, we suggest you go elsewhere to satisfy your sweet tooth. Though their desserts may sound good, they definitely fell short. This has proven true on multiple occasions, which is the one drawback of the meal.

Overall, AOC brings inventive dishes to the table in a way that keeps you on your toes. Combine that with a great wine offering and hip atmosphere, we really think you have a winner.
Note: Make sure to ask for a table in the main room (can loose the ambiance if seated upstairs)

Rating: 94

8022 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles 90048

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