Friday, May 13, 2016


222 South Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: 213.935.8500
$$$ ($35-$45)
Sat, 04/30/2016, 8:45pm reservation
     (4 Piglets)

In the middle of gorgeous Downtown Los Angeles sits a fairly new restaurant constructed next to the very popular Broad museum. Otium is chic, contemporary and manifests itself like an exhibit. Clean lines, an open kitchen and modern décor makes the restaurant worth checking out.

Chef Timothy Hollingsworth (who had stints at the French Laundry) brings ingredients grown in the restaurant's garden and creates a menu that is rustic and innovative. I celebrated my birthday here and you can be damn sure I ordered multiple dishes, including a birthday drink (cocktail menu is created by Julian Cox).

The interior
The ceiling

UNFILTERED SAKE ($13.00): Yuzu, Green Chile, Ginger, Japanese Cucumber, Vodka. My absolute favorite drink. Why? I'm not a fan of ginger and the ginger in this drink wasn't overpowering. It was slightly sweet and refreshing.

BIG EYE TUNA ($18.00): Rice, Ginger, Smoked Soy. The tuna was fresh and melt-in-your mouth goodness. You could definitely taste the smokiness from the soy. I thought this dish was good, but nothing really spectacular.
LARDO ($15.00): Brioche, Egg, Truffle. This dish was definitely one of my favorites. The creamy and fatty lardo was soft like spreadable butter. The egg was created into a powder form. Unfortunately, the truffle was light which I was thoroughly disappointed. On a high note, the brioche was buttery and crispy. If you like subtle flavors, this is a good dish.
MY FAVORITE DISH. FOIE GRAS ($26.00): Funnel Cake, Strawberry, Fennel, Balsamic. Who would've thought foie gras on a funnel cake could taste so good. The idea was pretty innovative. The funnel cake with the balsamic was sweet and the fennel gave the dish some freshness and acidity. I appreciated the creamy foie gras, which was enough for each bite with the funnel cake. I guess the sweet and savory combination really does work.
BACON TART ($18.00): Peas, Carrots, Crème Fraiche, Lola Rosa. Surprisingly for a bacon dish, this was lighter than what I expected. The bacon wasn't greasy, but still super crispy. The peas and carrots along with the greens added lightness to the dish. It was acidic, savory, and good. This was one of my favorites.
LAMB ($36.00): Pine Nut, Pole Beans, Tomato, Yogurt. I felt like this lamb was just ok. The meat itself needed a bit more seasoning, as did the vegetables. The yogurt was smeared on the side, which was nice, but would have rather had a dollop of it on top. I would have much preferred a big rack of lamb versus slices of lamb.
AGNOLOTTI ($22.00): Green Garlic, Peas, Radish, Pistachio Gremolata. This definitely was one of my favorites and a must order. The agnolotti was pillowy soft and the vegetables were delish. I felt like I was eating a true "farm to table" dish. It wasn't overly heavy, which I appreciated for a pasta dish.
CHOCOLATE TORT ($14.00): Cherry, Peanut Butter, Olive Oil. This was a chocolate made in heaven type of dessert. It was crispy and smooth and a perfect way to end my birthday meal. It definitely is rich, so if you're not a fan of rich desserts or chocolate, you may want to skip on this one.
ICE CREAM ($9.00): This definitely was one of my favorites. I probably am a bit biased since my favorite food is ice cream. The ice cream itself was creamy and not overly heavy. It had floral hints and coated my palate nicely.

Overall, Otium is a beautifully constructed restaurant. The food was definitely innovative, the flavors were good, but it didn't amaze me in my humble opinion. They screwed up my reservation when I first arrived, but they quickly resolved the situation. I also appreciated that they were laid back when we called that we were running late due to road construction (you may need to leave earlier than expected because the construction is kinda out of control). Would I go again? Sure! The food isn't bad, the people are nice and the drinks were delicious.

Notable dishes: Foie Gras, Bacon Tart, and Agnolotti

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