XIV by Michael Mina
8117 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046 323-656-1414

1. Michael Mina, Chef extraordinaire (with “Best Chef” accolades from Bon Appetit, San Francisco Magazine and the James Beard Foundation, from San Francisco) has opened his fourteenth restaurant with Chef Steven Fretz, and his very first in L.A (after cutting his chops at the Bel Air Hotel as a pastry chef 20 years ago), located at the former Coconut Teaser, a place we all know, but never visited. MM has changed that forever with a twelve million dollar renovation.

2. French designer Philippe Starck has created yet another amazing environment with the juxtaposition of an interior that honors Louis IV on one half of the restaurant, as contrasted by a steel bar and stainless walls honoring aliens on the other side. As if air lifted from a French Chateau, the ying of this space is homage to a time gone by, filled with opulent warm wood paneling, random stacked books, a mélange of comfy sofas, tables and fireplaces adorned with candles and pictures. The yang space makes you remember that you’re in L.A. in 2009 and that the only thing that stays the same is change.
3. With myriad seating choices from red leather sofas to comfy French-inspired chairs, we were seated at a wood table that provided a bird’s eye view of the action in the main dining room; and we do mean action as there is apparently no recession at this venue, and with good cause.
4. XIV is a unique dining experience. It melds impeccable modern American cuisine with the concept of “social dining” to foster a dynamic and engaging atmosphere. The diverse and fabulous menu is based on individual tasting portions, and although it is recommended that the table order the same items, they are more than willing to accommodate food tastes and orientations (we ordered the Beef Carpaccio, seasoned perfectly with horseradish, but since Scott doesn’t eat meat, they served (from an entire vegan menu) Beet Carpaccio. Although the concept is at first a bit perplexing, the truth is that it allows you to share the same dining experience without the hassle of splitting and stealing food off your partner’s plate.
5. You can create the ultimate tasting menu, at $8 per course, or order one from the Chef, which is exactly what we did, which consisted of—bet you can’t guess—fourteen scrumptious courses ($95). No matter when you go, no dining experience will be the same, making it fun and interesting as well as beyond delicious.
6. The menu is arranged in categories of shellfish, garden veggies, fish, poultry and light meats, cheese and chocolates, fruits and nuts.
7. It’s difficult to choose highlights of the menu as—honestly—almost everything was a stand-alone stand out. That said, do not miss Foie Gras Terrine, with cranberry and Greek yogurt, one of Scott’s favorite dishes that chef Steven brings to an entirely new level.
8. The Jidori chicken which comes out of their own Jidori oven with truffled mac & cheese was divine; the Dining Duo loves the new Mac n’ cheeses out there, but this is the definite winner. It is accompanied with traditional house made Nan bread and a medium spiced Feta cheese (as all their dishes are).
9. Michael’s caviar parfait offers some competition to our perennial favorite at Per Se, in New York. It is prepared with a selection with Osetra and American farm raised caviars, which are superb, and a must if you have not tried them.
10. The hamachi sashimi is so fresh that you swear it was just fished.
11. The chilled Maine lobster with potatoes, celery and truffles created a new level for a standard; and we can never get enough truffles.
12. We suggest the wine pairings so that you can experience the large and varied selections of wines that enhance each dish served. The list is from an eclectic list of small producers that come primarily from Europe and California.
13. There is an outdoor patio that looks so sexy and inviting, we can’t wait for a warm night to experience the elegance of a marble bar, teak benches and romantic chandeliers;
14. After an eating orgy that will leave your stomach satiated and your brain wine-soaked,
XIV will happily call their sister hotel, the brand new SLS on La Cienega (review coming soon), who will pick you up in a limo and give you a deep discount on a room for the night. This seemed like a great plan to us…but the doggie was at home patiently awaiting our arrival, review and doggie bag.

Posted by The Dining Duo | 7:25 PM | , , , | 0 comments »

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