Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Michael Mina's XLV in West Hollywood

This is a Michael Mina restaurant in West Hollywood and I have to say that I was very impressed. The atmosphere was very Hollywood club feel, but felt inviting and comfortable. Everyone from management to the waiters was very friendly and helpful. I had the Lobster ravioli and it was outstanding. The pasta cooked perfectly, the lobster was very fresh and all of the flavors worked well together. I finished up with their Bourbon Glazed doughnuts. When people talk about foods that you just can’t just have one. These doughnuts are on that list. Nice light crunch on the outside and moist on the inside. The glaze took it right over the top.

4 out of 5

Jason C Ricks

The Farm at LA Live Los Angeles

My wife and I went to The Farm to grab some lunch on a Saturday. The vibe of the place made me feel that we were eating in a nice northern California restaurant. I had a great salad and wish I knew the name. Might have been the house salad. It had spring mix, brie, caramelized pears, and caramelized red onions in red wine. Came with a shallot aioli.
The Salad was fresh and all of the ingredients works great together. The creaminess of the brie and sweetness of the caramelized pears and the flavor from the red onions made it a must get salad at The Farm at LA Live. If you want something that’s light and taste great, get this salad.

4 out of 5
Jason C Ricks

Stefan’s LA Farm June 2010

Had to go to one of my favorite chefs on the TV show Top Chef. Love the feel of the restaurant and the staff is great. Stefan is moving all over the place and talking with guest and laughing it up. He really makes you feel like you’re at his house visiting. I had the following small plates.

Truffle Arancini & Lemon Aioli: Very Good and the flavor was one point.

Like a big mac: Is one of my favorites here. Might like it better than the actual Big mac.

Salted organic fingerlings: Was very boring.

Calicrufo: Was just ok. Wouldn’t order it again.

Sonoma Foie Gras: Was absolutely decadent and addicting.

Bud light tempura shrimp: Was very good and the sauce is great. Will always order this dish.

Alaskan crab and melted butter: Is as good as it gets.

Beef satay with peanut sauce: Did not make the cut.

Chicken pate: I’m not a pate guy. If you are, you'll love it. Sweet salty flavored with great toast.

Fried oyster: The oyster didn’t have much flavor, but the cole slaw was good though.

Kumamoto oyster with absinthe jello: I thought it was just ok, but very fresh.

Lentil soup and Duck: Was excellent. The soup was creamy and tasty. The duck was cook perfectly and had the entire flavor you want from your duck.

Pork chop on braised cabbage and mash potatoes: The chops and cabbage were great. Foods that will stick to your bones have you leave very happy. Have to say that was surprised that the mash potatoes were a little bland though.

King crab and prawn risotto: Could have been better if it didn’t have so much dill and pepper. It over powered the food.

Apple beignet with caramel ice cream: This was Outstanding. Will get this every time!

5 out of 5

Jason C Ricks

Spago’s Las Vegas May 2010

I was in Vegas and I wanted to try Spago’s at Caesar Palace to see if I would enjoy it as much as the one in Beverly Hills. I went for lunch and ended up sitting at the bar. I decided to have the Chicken wings lollipops and the pizza with lamb chorizo with goat cheese and cilantro.

The wings were solid. Not the best, but worth ordering. A solid traditional hot wing sauce with fresh made blue cheese. The cool factor is that they take the meat off the bone, then wrap it around the bone so all you have to do is bite a slide the meat off. The chicken was cooked perfectly with a little crunch. Overall it was a solid bar dish. Would I order it again? Maybe.
The pizza was great. The lamb chorizo was nice and spicy with plenty of flavor that played well with the creaminess of the goat cheese. I would order that again for sure. Spago’s did not disappoint. The bartender was really cool and personable.

I’ll give it a 3 ½ out of 5.

Jason C Ricks

Spago's Las Vegas in December 2010

Love Wolfgang Puck, so every time I come to Vegas I have to go to one of his restaurants. I tried the chicken salad sandwich for lunch and it was the best I ever had. The textures worked so perfectly together. You had the creamy from the mayo, the crunch from the nuts and the chew from the bread. The chicken was great and so tender. I will get this sandwich again and again. Also the service there is top notch.

4 out of 5

Jason C Ricks

RM Seafood at The Mandalay Bay Hotel

Was staying at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Vegas and had to check out Rick Moonen’s spot RM Seafood. The restaurant had a very nice décor and feel. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable. I had the following:

Shrimp dogs: Very Very good. Great flavors that actually it melts in your mouth. I would order this again and again.

Cornbread and bread in the beginning wasn't that impressive. Corn bread was bland and the bread was bland and a little doughy.

“Famous fish and chips” weren’t that hot. The batter was great, but the fish was over cooked. The fries were seasoned and cooked well. Loved the seasoning.

BBQ pork mac & cheese was good. The pork was tender and flavorful. Wasn't the biggest fan of the cheese. The cheese was more of a sauce. Would have been nice if the cheese was thicker.

3 out of 5

Jason C Ricks

RAO'S Las Vegas

Always wanted to go to the original spot in New York for years, so why not save a bunch of miles and go to the one in Vegas. They brought the décor, service and great food from NY. I started with the Heirloom Tomatoes Caprese salad and it was very good and fresh. Tried the shrimp cocktail and the shrimp were big, but have to say they were over cooked. The waiter handled it very well and took them back with no problem. They gave us a free desert for the trouble.
Up next was the penne pasta with vodka sauce. The pasta was cooked perfectly and the sauce had Italian ham and over the entire dish was decedent. Not the best, but far from the worst. Last but far from the least was the Veal Parmesan on the bone hand pounded. Hands down was the best I ever had. It was so tender and had so much flavor from the bone. I couldn’t believe that veal can taste so incredible. It’s a must have when you come here.
Over all, Rao’s was great. When you come to Vegas, you have to make this a must go to place to eat amongst all the other great restaurants. My son gave it two thumbs up also.

5 out of 5

Jason C Ricks