Len scored points for the second year in a row by taking me out to a special restaurant for my birthday. Last year it was the too noisy Osteria Mozza, disappointing because we could not carry on a conversation over the din of the music and hard surfaces. This year it was the pretty close to perfect Gordon Ramsay at the London, West Hollywood.
I wanted to take Len there for his birthday in June. He wasn't feeling well, so it didn't happen. We learned when we went on my birthday in July that Gordon Ramsay had spent the entire month of June at the restaurant, celebrating its first anniversary. As big fans of Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, and The F Word, we were most disappointed we had missed meeting him.
We decided to be adventurous and go with the seasonal chef's menu, a seven-course meal of modest sized portions. (I intended to post the actual names of the selections, but it was not available on-line and I didn't take notes at the time--I barely remembered to take pictures.) It was beautifully prepared and beautifully presented, starting with the amuse bouche of endive with a filling of duck confit and fruit and home made potato chips with creme fresch shown above. This was followed by focaccia and a savory sweet corn custard of Japanese influence, shown below.
The next course was a cured salmon with mushrooms...
followed by an amazing fois gras.
The only thing that Len wouldn't try was the seared scallops of the pasta course, served on fettuccini with a lobster bisque sauce and a decorative dollop of caviar. I finished off his scallops as well as mine and he ate the rest of the dish.
For the main course, Len chose the beef. It looked wonderful, but I no longer eat red meat. He said it was wonderful.
I ate every bit of the sea bass, and couldn't have been happier.
We paid for an upgrade which included a cheese course. I love blue cheeses and the one served was divine. I'd love to get the recipe for the fruit and nut bread which was toasted as an accompaniment to the cheese.
The dessert was a chocolate bavarian cream, followed by...
some meranguey cookies and chocolate. Unfortunately, they were made with peanuts, so I couldn't try them. When we asked for a box to take the cookies home so my son could have them, the restaurant included a box with four hand-made truffles.
When we finished eating, Len informed me that it was the most expensive meal he had ever paid for (and we didn't have any alcohol.) I told him it was by no means the most expensive meal I have ever eaten (which was probably one of those dinners a publisher-paid-for dinners in San Diego) but it was definitely one of the best meals I've ever had. I can understand why Gordon Ramsay has won so many Michelin stars for his restaurants. I'm hoping we go back for our anniversary in December to try the seasonal chef's tasting then.