For our Fall 2011 issue, we were treated to Executive Chef Glen Ishii‘s tasting menu for a story on his restaurant Noé at the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. We only had room to feature a fraction of all the goodies in the Fall issue, so here we offer a tantalizing look into the rest of the tasting menu.
An oasis above the traffic of early evening downtown L.A., Noé is located on the third floor of the newly renovated Omni Hotel. Come in for comfort food small plates like Tomato Soup and Truffled Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Kuro Buta Pork Chop, or Calamari with Yuzu Creme Fraiche. Or go “omakase” and opt for Executive Chef Glen Ishii’s tasting menu — a barrage of decadence almost too much to bear.
To start, I made a special request for the Chicken Katsu Slider. First off, I’m into anything “slider” these days. And it was an interesting blend of Asian comfort food vs. American comfort food. Needless to say, the poached egg provided a creamy burst that contrasted nicely with the pickled cabbage and crunchy katsu.
From there, Chef Glen (as he likes to be called) served up Amaebi and Uni, a decadent pairing of the richest elements off an omakase menu, served in a glass with wasabi, a pinch of salt and a dash of yuzu juice. The rich buttery-ness of the Uni (sea urchin) played off well against the slick creaminess of the Amaebi (sweet shrimp), with the not-too-sharp wasabi and the crisp citrus of the yuzu providing the perfect counterpoint.
After all that buttery-ness, we refreshed our palate with three kinds of Blue Fin Tuna Sashimi, from the red meat maguro to the meatier chu-toro to the prize — the pale, fatty o-toro belly — complemented by a cool cucumber-wasabi-lime sauce.
Next up were the Sea Scallop with Pear Ratatouille (perfectly cooked — they get the scallop in live every day) on a bed of mashed potatoes, and then the New Zealand King Salmon with Braised Leeks and Orange Gastrique and Alaskan Halibut with Spring Pea Ragout and Lemon Preserve. Talk about a mouthful — at this point I was so full of buttery richness I could feel myself starting to melt.
At this point we took a break to check out the rooftop herb garden where Chef Glen grows everything from sweet basil and lemon thyme to butternut squash and his own hybrid tomato. It was a much-needed respite, as we were about to face the piece de resistance: Maple Leaf Duck Breast with Seared Foie Gras and Pear Carpaccio.
All I can say is rich, rich, rich. The all-encompassing, fatty foie gras; the firm, salty duck breast; and the crisp, cooling pear for balance. It was over-the-top decadent. Thank goodness for the Grapefruit Sorbet that followed — like a salve for my hyper-indulged palate.
Noe at the Omni Hotel
251 South Olive Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012