Monday, January 13, 2014

Pinot Grill

Last night, my husband and I went downtown L.A. to see Peter and the Star Catcher at the Ahmanson Theater.  Unlike in New York, there aren't a lot of pre-theater dining options within walking distance, so we usually eat at Pinot Grill, which I believe is only open for pre-theater dining.  It's basically a couple see-thru tents set up outside at the Music Center.  There are heaters outside the tents and around the bar area with plenty of seating.  Thankfully, the weather is always pretty nice in southern California, but even during wind and rain, we have had a pleasant dining experience inside these tents.

This was our third time eating at Pinot Grill.  The menu is different every time we're here, which is kind of nice.  It almost makes it feel like we're eating somewhere different.  I tend to get a "usual" at restaurants, and an ever-changing menu prevents me from getting stuck in my usual rut.  The menu is also pretty small, which makes it easier to make a decision and which also means the food comes out of the kitchen fast! We've never made a reservation, and we've never had trouble being seated right away.  Last night, we arrived around 7pm, an hour before showtime, and we had no problem having plenty of time to eat and relax and still be in our seats 15 minutes early.

The atmosphere is very pleasant.  We were seated near the fountains, which were fun to watch while we ate.  There are also speakers throughout the tents playing soft music, and there are lights strung up along the roof of the tents.  It's really pretty romantic.  The chairs are comfortable, and the tables aren't too close together.

There's a full bar, wine and cocktail list, but we decided just to stick with water.  After placing our order, our waitress brought over a basket of french bread and butter.  I had forgotten about the bread basket.  It was delicious, but then, I love bread and butter.  My mom used to joke that sometimes that's all I'd eat as a kid.

I mentioned the fast service, right?  Well, we had each just finished eating one piece of bread, and our order arrived at our table.  It was so quick that my husband seemed a little confused, wondering if this order was meant for another table.

I had decided to make a meal out of starters.  I ordered the soup of the day, which happened to be Butternut Squash with creme fraiche and a balsamic reduction, and the Wood-Fired Flatbread, which was described on the menu as "wild mushrooms, sottocenere, fontina, mozzarella, red onion, and thyme."  I was expecting a cup of soup and a small, maybe 9" if that flatbread.  Turns out, it was a bowl of soup and flatbread at least the size of a CPK pizza!  Good thing my husband was able to help me with the flatbread!

I love butternut squash, and the soup didn't disappoint.  It was rich and creamy.  I didn't need to add any salt or pepper.  Potato soup is probably my all-time favorite, but I would definitely order this again.

The flatbread was huge, as I mentioned earlier, and it had a great flavor.  The flatbread itself was soft and crispy, not overly cooked and not chewy either.  It had the right amount of cheese, and was slightly greasy, but not too much, just enough to be delicious.  My husband and I ended up splitting it in half.  Half of that combined with the soup was a great meal.

My husband ordered the Porchetta Sandwich which was described on the menu as a "brioche bun, slow-cooked pork belly, spicy coleslaw, crispy shallots, and mustard aioli."  The bun was toasted and buttery yet nice and soft.  The crunch of the cabbage contrasted nicely with the tender pork, and he loved the creamy aioli.  He said he would definitely order it again.  It came with a side of potato wedges.  I tasted one of the wedges and didn't care for it.  Apparently my husband didn't like them either because he didn't finish them, or maybe he was too full from helping me with the flatbread. 

We looked at the dessert menu out of curiosity, but we decided not to order anything.  As I mentioned, we had ordered too much food already.

The meal was the best part of our date night.  The play definitely disappointed me.  I think it must be geared towards a gay audience, so as a straight white lady, it wasn't my thing; however, the gay men in the audience seemed to find it hilarious.

Happy eating!

No comments:

Post a Comment