High Expectations at InkWell……

Making the trip to New Orleans for work and a quick stop over to LA just for Top Chef favorite M. Voltaggio’s new Inkwell restaurant proved to be a bit sad and disappointing.  Considering the miles flown for food it was a let down.  The hype and maybe the expectation was too high.  First we reserved way advance and the restaurant was quite empty.  Service was friendly but sometimes a bit snobby when we said the food was salty.  I don’t like people to tell me how the way the dish is supposed tot taste.  Salty is Salty.  Period.

Masculine Minimalistic look – Black Leather Sofas, White Walls Clean lines very sleek look.

The drinks we ordered were the blended whisky and sloe gin.  Prices were sort of reasonable i mean for the amount you expect to pay at a restaurant and from a Top Chef restaurant no less.

 

The blended scotch tasted ok not memorable however the sloe gin tasted like a chinese medicine brew with a coffee aftertaste.  Like not good. You can smell it and a lingering after taste in your mouth.  The menus seemed kind of reasonable for some dishes and pricey for others.  Again I ate at Craft many years ago and prices was higher although the food was impeccable.  (Skirt steak was still soft 5 hours later)

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The waitress suggested 5 dishes to share for the two of us but we went a bit over board as it was a loong way from Thailand.  The waitress also said the kitchen will determine the order of the courses according to taste.  Sounded smart to me.

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Heirloom Tomatoes, Watermelon, Pickled Rind, Sheeps Feta

All components was yummy.  Tomatoes fresh – Lovely Taste – Feta strong and Delicious.  Yet the dish had no ooomph to it.  It was not something you remember forever.

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Frisee Salad with Crispy Pork Ear & egg yolk pudding…

Of the evening this was one of the dishes that i will remember.  Simply well dressed greens – Crispy delicious Pork Ears.  And underneath.. A supremely eggy pudding/custard that was so fine, delicate without being too eggy even if it was very egg yolk.  Together the combination was marvelous.  I admit. Savoury, Creamy, Sharp Vinaigrette, Crispy Pork, crunchy greens, soft smoothness on tongue from pudding.   10 / 10

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Eggy Pudding – Soft, Silky Yummy
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Streeet Corn – Foritos with Cotija Cheese

Cheese was delicious and the puffy Chip was delicious.  Stops there.  The creamy corn was saltier with every bite and we informed the waiter but he said that was how it is and that it’s not salty.  So we left it at that.

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Beef Tartare with Banh Mi Flavours

The tartare was yummy (but not memorable) we didn’t see any Vietnamese flavours aside from the asian herbs on top.  The mayo was the star of the dish – Airy, fluffy cloud of deliciousness.  I will remember this mayo forever.  9/10

The interesting part of this was that the fish dishes came after the heartier savoury beef tartare. Even in the menu the meat dishes was listed after the seafood ones.

I thought this dish was rather well executed, i think the delicate tuna meshed well with the celery root.  However I didn’t really understand the tofu mustard.  Didn’t taste like tofu or mustard.

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Tuna Tartare with Tofu Mustard

The balance of fattiness and the crispy celery root was well done.  The green powder wasn’t really needed as there was so little of it and can’t taste the flavour but i thought it was quite fun and easy to eat.  9/10

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Creamy, tangy and delicate Flavours.

Unfortunately things are going downhill.  The octopus was burnt and over cooked.  Like a dog’s chew toy.  Quite awful sadly.  The pasta was way undercooked – Not al dente.  You can see the raw pasta in the middle when you bit into it. The flavours seemed alright however i couldn’t get past the rubbery octopus and hard pasta.  It was very sad.

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Octopus, Ink shells and Pimento
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Lamb Belly and Pine nuts cassoulet and yogurt curds…

I was really looking forward to this dish.  I love bellys of every animal.  It’s fatty, rich and tender.  Strangely it was stringy, chewy and not a great texture of lamb belly.  The pine nuts felt like it’s past it’s prime.  When nuts aren’t creamy but has that stale taste it’s a bit of a huge let down.  The yogurt curds was delicious. Creamy, sourish and thick.  That was it.  Kind of heart breaking at 30 bucks for delicious yogurt.  Curds…..

Sadly it was a memorable evening but i remember more of the bad bits rather than the good.  I think it was the expectation and considering i was a huge fan.  I would rate the overall experience at 4/10.  More of an ink blot than ink.well……

Author: laurayinmay

Existing, eating, enjoying and engaging.

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