Monday, October 12, 2009

XIV - Scene vs. Cuisine

We went to Michael Mina's XIV for dinnerlast Friday. We heard it was a bit pricey so we figured we'd take advantage of the Dine LA menu. The decor was interesting in that it is supposed to reflect the era of Louis XIV but with a contemporary upgrade. With that said, it felt a little Vegas-esque. The scene was very happening and made for great people-watching.

Now on to the food. I need to start out by saying that they have THE most amazing grilled naan with an addicting white cheese sauce (very light in texture) that they bring out immediately to the table. The fun part was that they brought each of us our own little basket to enjoy. These are very easy to fill up on, however, they may be the best part of the entire meal.

After looking at the Dine LA menu they clearly put the worst looking entrees on there but I opted to go with it to save a few bucks. Everyone else ordered off the regular menu, which was the way to go.

I started with the heirloom beets with burrata (the best looking of the 3 apps offered) with arugula, and drizzled with balsamic. It was good but I've had better. I chose the Halibut for the entree which seemed to be the best of the worst options. Well, I was wrong, as it was the worst of the worst. It came out way overcooked and had no flavor. Luckily we had a fabulous waitress who brought me out the Tai Snapper instead. This dish was incredible and packed with flavor. It was tapioca-crusted with broccoli rabe, crispy rice (what you find in a sushi restaurant) and soy vinaigrette. Seriously, loved this dish. I finished the meal with a Rootbeer float served with warm chocolate chip cookies. The cookies beat out the float. My husband ordered the tempura scallops for an app with cauliflower, passion fruit, edamame and almonds, which I liked more than he did. He felt the scallops could have had a bit more of a crisp. For his entree he ordered the Kobe burger with farmhouse cheddar, glazed grilled onions and a "special sauce." What was most unique about this burger is that instead of one big patty it came with two thin patty's placed on top of each other. It wasn't the best burger we've ever had but it was pretty good. We did love the trio of french fries that came with it along with the 3 dipping sauces. Two of the fries seemed to be seasoned the same with a peppery flavoring and the other fries were cheese flavored. The sauces included bbq, a tartar-like sauce and ketchup. It was fun mixing it up - dipping the different fries in the different sauces.

Though it's a very expensive restaurant with apps ranging from $15-$18 and entrees ranging from $25-$60 (burger is $27), it's a fun scene and good enough food to make you feel okay with spending the dough. Would definitely go back as long as we're not picking up the tab.

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