There was no way I was going to let DineLA pass by this year without experiencing at least one restaurant! Wish I could have hit more, you get amazing food for incredible prices so reservations at the more coveted spots fill up very quickly! Due to the popularity of DineLA, I had to call Monday to secure a Friday night reservation at bld on Beverly (I learned this the hard way when I had tried the previous week to make a reservation a mere 2 days before I wanted to dine...that just wasn't happening.)
bld has a special place in my heart...it being one of the 1st restaurants I wrote about on girllovesfood when I visited for brunch a few months ago (what can I say, they had me at Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes...). I had, however, never dined at bld for dinner and my friends Ryan and Abe couldn't stop raving about their DineLA menu so I had to try for myself.
When I arrived to what I knew was the correct address (though I did double check about three times), my bright and sunny little brunch spot was cast with dark shadows and took on a contrasting air of sophistication...it's a good thing in LA you can never be truly underdressed (Jeans and T-shirts never looked so good)!
From the outside looking in, bld seriously looked as if a secret society was holding a meeting and you were definitely NOT invited...a little creepy, but as you get closer and peer through the glass windows you notice the restaurant is now dimly lit by candles and seems to have gone through a quasi-romantic mood swing. The shuffle to get a table in the AM has now quietly subsided as guests are calmly seated on the two giant leather ottomans at the door, awaiting their tables and behaving like proper ladies and gentleman...oh what a difference a few hours makes!
For the 1st course, our taste buds seemed to be on different wavelengths...which is perfect because different choices equals more food to taste and more pictures for the blog! You know me...I see figs...I order figs.
bld's Prosciutto Wrapped Figs were stuffed with goat cheese and served on top of an arugula walnut pesto. I didn't tell you guys this but I actually attempted a recipe similar to this a few weeks ago...let's just say bld's version was a lot more refined. The sweet, kind of cinnamon-y taste of the fig paired well with the pungent goat cheese and salty prosciutto...I even think I may have closed my eyes while chewing, trying my best to savor the taste for as long as possible! Francette chose the Heirloom Apple and Mache Salad w/ shaved fennel, blue cheese, toasted hazelnuts and chive buttermilk vinaigrette...to be honest, I thought it was nothing special but Francette loved it...to each his own!
Alexis went for the Roasted Squash and Ancho Chili Soup with toasted pumpkin seeds and spiced creme...I really liked this and must say I've never tasted a soup quite like it. I'm sure most everyone has had some form of Butternut Squash or Pumpkin soup...it's practically a Fall staple. Generally these soups tend to be on the sweeter side but the Ancho Chile in bld's version gave it a smoky Southwestern flair that was super interesting.
When we ordered the 2nd course, to our surprise we had all chosen the exact same thing, the House Smoked Niman Ranch Pork Chop...now how boring is that, we needed some variety! I had my heart set on that tender pork chop with creamy chedder cheese grits, shaved brussels sprouts, and the perfect compliment apple pan jus...my mouth was already watering and I made up my mind that I wasn't going to be the one to forgo my top choice for sake of the blog...but I have some very persuasive friends and they coaxed me into trying something different so I went for the Braised Beef Short Ribs with toasted couscous and wild mushroom red wine sauce instead.
Can I just say that I am so glad the girls convinced me to change it up because their pork chop ended up being average and unsatisfying (though I must say the shaved brussels sprouts were quite tasty!)...the Braised Beef on the other hand was dynamite! The meat was ultra tender and soaked up the sapidity of the red wine mushroom sauce...proving that on occasion, it pays to take one for the team!
Dessert was an easy choice as there were only 2 options and I needed something more exciting than a Flourless Chocolate Cake (which Alexis ended up ordering…to my surprise she had never had one before!). I had the Apple Fritters with vanilla ice cream and apple cider caramel…something I wouldn’t normally order but so happy this was the only other option! Warm granny smith apples coated in a thin, crispy doughnut-funnel cake like batter. It’s basically deep fried apple slices and tastes like simplified warm apple pie or something you would get at your local fair. I so badly wanted more of these once my plate was bare!
Overall it was a lovely experience and I have already marked my calendar for the next DineLA in January 2011!
7450 Beverly Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90036