I think I found my new “go to” restaurant in LA. I really have to thank Tasting Table for pointing me in the direction (www.tastingtable.com) – Tasting Table is a daily email for people who like to eat. Check them out if you get a chance.
Anyway back to the delicious matter at hand – Wood & Vine.
Basically the concept is small plates to share with your group. Although a totally wonderful place to take a date, as a person who loves to over order I suggest a party of 3 or 4 to really be able to enjoy more then a few things.
I really try to introduce you all to local non-chain (unless its a small local chain) restaurants that emphasize utilizing local, sustainable and or organic practices – Wood & Vine is no exception. Their chef (Gavin Mills) sources fresh
produce directly from local farms and farmers’ markets. Their cattle are grass fed and graze with a maximum of two-head per acre – totally awesome because “free range” can mean anything from out of cages or pens for an hour a day all the way to free roaming as they please. All charcuterie (cured meats) is cured and smoked in house. Their seafood comes to us from local fishermen and is selected
for sustainability as well as low mercury levels.
You really know what you are eating here. Our waitress told us that the pork we were eating had been butchered the day before – how many places do you go to that the wait staff can tell you where the food came from and how fresh it is?
Not only does it follow practices that I really value, the food is pretty excellent too. Mari and Matt indulged me in out trip to LA to try Wood & Vine and we were all super stoked we went.
The restaurant is pretty nondescript from the outside, simple windows with “Wood & Vine” etched in the glass of one of the windows. Good thing they have Valet or we might have driven right past. I loved that – no flashy “HERE WE ARE”. The dining room is two-story with the second level open to the first. We were shown to a small table overlooking the bar. The walls are dark wood and exposed brick, it reminded me of a super cool study, side tables with magnifier glasses that have horn handles, books – really cool looking almost “east coast”.
Matt, Mari and I decided to try and sample a little bit of everything. We started with 5 items from the charcuterie and cheese selection, munched on some fries with homemade ketchup (watch out Haven Gastropub, this stuff gives you a run for your money), then moved onto the shared plates.
The meat selections were tasty. We ordered the artichoke & lemon terrine, the spring garlic and bacon terrine, and the sopressata. The artichoke and lemon terrine was light and had a freshness abut it that I very much enjoyed. I paired that with a bit of the roncal cheese and a touch of their mustard on the toasted toasts they brought us (yum, I could have almost eaten just that).
A “terrine” by the way is sort of like a pate, not spreadable though and no heavy liver taste. I guess its like the love child of a meatloaf and pate…I make things sound so appetizing
Moving on to shared plates – baby beet salad, leek risotto, grilled scallops, fried chicken & waffle, duroc pork duo and oxtail lasagna. Yes we ordered all that. Keep in mind these are shared plates so the portion size is pretty small (I’m just covering up the fact that we still ordered a ton)
The three of us agreed everything was delicious. For Mari it was a tossup between the chicken & waffle and the scallops, for Matt it was the lasagna and the chicken & waffle, for me it was the scallops and the risotto (not including the meat and cheese plate from earlier).
The risotto was a little on the runny side and I was afraid the poached egg would make it more so, but actually the poached egg gave the risotto an interesting sort of creaminess that gave the dish a lot more depth. The pecorino cheese added a nice mild saltiness and the leeks although faint rounded out the rich flavor of the dish. If you think the egg made the risotto taste like breakfast, never you mind dear reader a poached egg is super mild and not “eggy” tasting.
Then the scallops, oh scallops how do I love thee! Perfectly grilled they just melted in my mouth and the truffled grits were smooth and were just heavenly. If Wood & Vine has this on the menu, please do yourselves a favor and order it.
All of the other dishes we ordered were enjoyable as well, I’d have to say that the pork duo was my least favorite of the plates we chose, well cooked but a little salty for me, mostly from the pea and bacon ragu I’m guessing. I ate the rest of it this morning over some quinoa I had made and that subdued the salty flavor for me.
If you think we finished there, you’re WRONG! Onwards to dessert!
In true “us” fashion 3 desserts were tried. Butterscotch pot de creme with salted caramel ice cream, profiteroles with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream, and an ice cream trio (salted caramel, vanilla, and Bailey’s & whiskey). The butterscotch pot de cream with the salted caramel ice cream was the table favorite, and I don’t even LIKE butterscotch. Pot de cream is basically custard, in this case, butterscotch custard. Creamy and rich with a mild natural butterscotch flavor, it paired perfectly with the salted caramel ice cream. I will think of this pot de creme in days to come. When asked how I liked it, I think I actually told our waitress “nom nom nom”. Something I wish I hadn’t said. Oh well, I’m classy what can I say.
In a nut shell (a long review sort of nut shell) Eat at Wood & Vine. It’s located directly across from the Pantages Theater – so that means no more overpriced sushi, or struggling to find a decent restaurant before the theater. They participate in local, organic, and sustainable practices, the decor is cool but comfortable, and the food is excellent.
Lastly, if great food and awesome decor wasn’t enough -
Wood & Vine has an ongoing partnership with the Los Angeles Youth Network, a local non-for-profit organization that provides outreach, shelter, and educational support for abused and homeless adolescents. Their involvement includes hosting a group of kids from LAYN on a regular basis to teach them about cooking,
nutrition, and restaurant management. They also participate in the LAYN internship program.
Wood & Vine is located at The Taft Building ~ 6280 Hollywood Boulevard at Vine Street
Online reservations (highly recommend) can be found on their website http://www.woodandvine.com/
Follow them on Facebook or Twitter (@woodandvine)