The last time I visited XIV was about a year ago on my birthday when I did the eight course tasting with my parents. Even before that, I went in during DineLA. Recently, the restaurant underwent some changes. The atmosphere feels much more friendly and comfortable now, with brighter, less moody, lighting. (Basically, less of that typical SBE sceney vibe) They also revamped the menu and the ordering procedure, trimming their extensive and sometimes overwhelming list of offerings into a more concise, wood grill-focused menu.
Initially, I had chosen to revisit XIV because I had seen online that they were offering a new $40 three course menu, with one of the main entrées being their Kobe beef burger. I LOVE their burger. However, when we arrived, we were informed that that menu no longer existed. Our only options for a tasting menu were a 3 course menu for $49 (which didn't look all that exciting) or a 9 course menu for $95. We went with the 9 course Autumn Tasting Menu and left not only satisfied, but also a little too full for comfort.
XIV by Michael Mina
8117 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
I love their naan-like bread offering with the yogurt dip. I could eat it for days.
The amuse was an impeccably fresh oyster from Morro Bay with a tangy, sweet apricot mignonette that didn't overpower the oyster. It was very good amuse.
NuocCham Vinaigrette, Cucumber, Peanut
I had something very similar to this at TOTNLA. The hamachi was very fresh, and the flavors were all very interesting, but just a little too salty. The compressed cucumbers with sweet and sour sauce and peanut powder added a decidedly Vietnamese influence to the dish.
Crystallized Ginger Vinaigrette, Burrata, Black Walnuts
I don't usually gravitate towards beets, but this had burrata in it so I was a happy girl.
"LOCAL" SPINY LOBSTER RAVIOLI
White Truffle Celeriac, Foie Gras Sauce
The raviolis were stuffed full of the sweet lobster meat. How could lobster and foie gras not be good?
Crispy Proscuitto, Braised Cabbage, Purple Potato, Mustard
White fish is usually kind of boring. This preparation was not boring. The fish itself was well cooked and also very well seasoned. The savoy cabbage was only very lightly braised and added a fresh component to the dish.
Truffle Break Pudding, Pickled Onion Jus, Brussels Sprouts
I wasn't very impressed with this dish after my first bite, but I'll be honest, it grew on me. It reminded me of breakfast almost, with the savory chicken and slightly sweet truffle bread pudding acting like pancakes. The chicken was actually pretty juicy. I enjoyed the lone baby turnip more than the brussels sprouts.
OAK GRILLED WAGYU STRIP
Coffee Potato, Organic Mushrooms, Bone Marrow
I was really very full already at this point, but this beef was really good. The potato purée was a little too rich for me, but I usually find potato purées to be that way. The beef was beautifully cooked--still a bright pink in the center--and the woody flavor of the mushrooms went well with the meat. However, I only found one luscious cube of bone marrow--I could've done with more.
Salty Carmel Ice Cream, Gianduia, Mascarpone Mousse
The brown butter cake was good and all, but the star of this dessert was the salty caramel ice cream. There was also a generous drizzle of thick caramel throughout the dessert. It was absolutely delicious.
This is my third trip to XIV, and I still enjoyed myself a lot. However, I need to visit again and really just order that burger!