Monday, January 28, 2008

Dinner Date at A.O.C. Wine Bar

Alex and I seldom have time to go out for dinner but we did on Saturday, Jan. 26 and I am so glad we did! We went to this great little tapas restaurant called, A.O.C.

This tight, bustling wine bar and tapas restaurant offers a vast array of fresh, flavorful, simple plates. Well-sourced Italian and Spanish ingredients, a wood-burning oven, and a carefully selected cured meat and cheese selection provide the perfect accompaniments to their 50-plus wines by the glass. An L.A. legend, expect a wait or make reservations, but “worth it” is a definite understatement when it comes to A.O.C.

We started off the night with a plate of charcuterie. We had speck with apples and arugula. Then we had the duck confit, friseé salad with grilled sour dough bread (from La Brea bread company). From the wood burning oven, we ordered the clams which were simmered in garlic and amontillado sherry. This was also served with bread, some very crusty french garlic bread...yummy! I think the clams were my favorite dish-they are highly recommended! After that, we had salt cod fritters on a citrus salad. I didn't enjoy this too much as the texture was a little mushy. The last course was the skirt steak with roquefort butter. But obviously my darling husband asked them for the butter to be on the side coz you know me and dairy! :P The waiter then came with a rabbit ragoût with dijon, chestnuts and tarragon (we didn't order it, it was compliments from the chef). I didn't eat that one coz to me, rabbits are pets and they are too cute to be eaten. Sorry to all the hardcore foodies out there! But Alex had it and he said it was OK.

We ended the night on a sweet note, Alex ordered roasted pineapples, almond cake with crème chantilly and I had the
chocolate and hazelnut dacquoise with gianduja mousse and salted caramel ice can you say no to that?!?! I always end the night with some chocolate dessert when I am out having dinner. In summary, the presentation of the desserts were not a focal point for the pastry kitchen but the flavor, texture and taste were bang on.

I would totally recommend this restaurant to anyone who loves food. It has a romantic atmosphere even though it can be quite cramped/crowded. We sat upstairs in the corner so it was perfect for us. I really love the "small plates/share plates" concept. It's a very intimate dining experience. I will definitely come back!

And oh, dinner for 2 without wine was about $50 per person. I think that is very reasonable for consistently FABULOUS food!

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