This week, Jonathan Gold reviews Otium, Downtown's shiny new restaurant in the Broad museum complex helmed by former French Laundry chef de cuisine Timothy Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth's menu offers "American cooking as it is experienced by most of us in 2016 — falafel and shawarma, spaghetti and sushi, funnel cake and campfire-roasted s'mores." As such, the Times critic declares Otium LA's "most ambitious new restaurant in years."
The Goldster recounts several of the restaurants most successful dishes, from Middle Eastern-leaning beef tartare to foie gras funnel cake with some rather highfalutin language:
The notorious carnival fried-dough snack was crisp and delicious, scattered with strawberries, shaved fennel and red sorrel leaves hiding delicate, airy puffs of foie gras mousse. I'm not fond of the concept of decadence when it comes to food, but this is real end-of-empire stuff, the brunch of time's demise. [LAT]
Still, not everything is a hit:
The gummy spaghetti with sea urchin, a Japanese-Western standard, falls short of the versions you find at the best yoshoku dives in Gardena and Torrance. Everybody loves roast pork with apples and cabbage, but the over-salted meat spent perhaps too much time under sous-vide. And Hollingsworth's conception of the Japanese clay pot called the donabe — which he uses to smoke food as if it were a miniature Big Green Egg — is just odd. [LAT]
Ultimately though, it is an optimistic review of the "restaurant that aspires to please everyone," with Gold recommending the fluke with black rice cracker, carrots with pepián, duck with chocolate and turnip, and pancake ice cream.
The Elsewhere: Bill Esparza braves First Fridays to eat arepas off the Zema Latin Vibes truck, Besha Rodell runs down the ten best vegan restaurants and dishes in LA, and kevinEats enjoys the carrot menu at Maude.