DeathbedFood Experiences Galore at Michael Voltaggio’s INK
Recently, I had the opportunity to have my first real dinner at INK in LA while Farina Kingsley was in town for her App media tour. when I popped in for a sample at the bar and happened to see Andrew Zimmern taping his Bizarre Foods America show (way cool). But, this time, we set out to have a real meal there.
While it’s hard for places to live up to expectations when they’ve had incredible buzz like INK has had (including having been rated to be the #1 Best New Restaurant in America by Alan Richman in GQ), INK did. and I completely agree.
Not only was the food spectacular (more on that below), but the overall restaurant experience was phenomenal – truly DeathbedFood level. The seating, unlike many places in LA, actually allowed us to have some breathing room away from other tables. Meantime, the music volume was perfectly set to provide a cool vibe yet allow for conversation. Maybe most impressive was the service. It’s clear that they run the place with military (yet warm) precision. My back was to a service station but I hardly even noticed. Behind me all evening, silverware was placed almost silently into storage with the kind of care you’d imagine is used when handling fine jewels for the Oscars. Overall, unbelievable attention is given to both the diner and the INK dining experience.
Perhaps most important though are the DeathbedFood discoveries. While several, if not most, of the things I tried at INK qualify, I have to say their Poutine dish is #1 on my DeathbedFood discovery list. First, I love the whole concept of Poutine, comfort food originating in Montreal. Fries covered with cheese and gravy … I’m 100% Team Poutine. INK’s version, of course, is super inventive and based on using chickpea fries instead of traditional. A must-have for me going forward there.
I love the INK menu. Not overwhelming in size, every item is so well thought out, innovative, modern and yet is so obviously made with classic cooking finesse.
Another favorite that night was the pork belly with “mac & cheese”. Just look at the beauty of the plating! Every dish we had was like a piece of modern art.
Octopus may just be the new Salmon. I see it popping up all over menus in LA now and am thrilled about the trend. INK’s version was among the most delicious I’ve had – and certainly among the most beautiful.
What’s not to love about this dish … brussels sprouts? pig ears? lardo? apple? Check. Check. Check. And Check. I’m seriously thinking about making lardo a DeathbedFood Ingredient. Again, lots of restaurants are serving braised brussels sprouts but INK’s version really stands out.
I had this spaghetti when I popped into INK earlier and had to order it again. The second time may have been even better than the first as I was more familiar with the squid spaghetti concept and knew what to expect. Anytime you mix squid, squash and pesto, I’m in.
The asymmetry of INK’s dishes is really striking as with the fluke dish above. I love the boldness of keeping half the plate empty.
Ocean trout is one of my favorites, so similar to salmon which I could eat everyday. This version was so delicately prepared it really made an impression.
And then there was dessert. Last time, I had the “Apple thing” (as I endearingly call it) and had to order it again. The caramel mixed with burnt wood ice cream rocks. We also shared the chocolate with coffee cream and sesame cake – really worth checking out if you love chocolate.
So thrilled to have Michael Voltaggio here in LA. As long as he’s here, I’ll have to be too!