Treading where few expect to find her, S. Irene Virbila heads to Riverside for a spin through Omakase, an almost two-year old restaurant from chef Brein Clements and his wife Roryann. It's not like Miss Irene just picked a random resto in the IE---the two chefs met at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort in Newport Beach, and he namedrops biggies like NoCal's Manresa, Domain Chandon and Gary Danko on his resume. They have an organic garden nearby and have a thing for tasting menus:
Another night the amuse is tempura of "backyard avocado" -- creamy and fabulous encased in a crisp, transparent batter and ready to be dipped in a spicy shoyu sauce. For the tasting menu, he might start with a mustard green purée and arrange a quartered, hard-boiled egg (from their own hens), some peppery upland cress, squares of crisp bacon, pickled beets and some creamy goat cheese on top. It does what it's supposed to do: It gets your attention. And Clements definitely has mine."But here he is in Riverside," she continues, and area that "still has a way to go in terms of serious dining." Miss Irene finds a deserted restaurant when she visits, but it still gets two stars. That might drum up some business for a couple more months. Today the "S." stands for "stray." [LAT]
ELSEWHERE: The dumplings are worth the wait at the second Din Tai Fung, too; the pros and cons of DineLA restaurant week at Simon LA, Grace, Red Seven, Beacon, and Ford's Filling Station; and savoring Paulette macarons.