L.A. has no shortage of chic, trendy, super hip restaurants. I mean, Justine Timberlake, Simon Cowell, and Ann Coulter have to eat. These places are, as a rule, ridiculously expensive but the cuisine is unique and there's always the possibility you could perform the Heimlich Maneuver on Heidi Klum. Recently my daughter Annie and her writing partner, Jon Emerson went with a group of friends to Ink in West Hollywood. I've always loved restaurant reviews. These food critics take everything soooo seriously. They're personally injured if the string beans have no character.
But how about a review from two normal rational people? Annie and Jon file this report:
Recently, we were invited by friends to eat at Ink., a trendy restaurant owned by former Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio.
The official website for the restaurant describes it thusly: “The concept behind ink. alludes to an idea of permanence and a creation of a memory.” You never hear Ronald McDonald spouting that kind of pretentious crap. Everything about this place screamed fancy. Even the Yelp reviews were hand-written in calligraphy.
The atmosphere can best be described as a hipster’s nursery. There were plain shutters on all the windows and mobiles hanging above the tables. Thank God our formalwear was at the dry-cleaners because everybody there was in jeans.
We did have a celebrity sighting. Diedrich Bader who played Oswald Harvey on The Drew Carey Show. We wanted to tell him how much we enjoyed his work, but he seemed like he had a lot of tables to clear. Every new dish brought brand new plate settings and silverware. Can you imagine washing all that? If this place ever goes under, blame the water bill. And that’s not even counting the three hundred water refills throughout the night. Every time you took a sip there was a waiter on hand to refill your glass. At one point they just sprayed us with a hose.
At the end of the day, though, the only thing that matters is the food. Here are some things to look forward to if you’re ever in the neighborhood:
The oysters were delivered to the table in a flowerpot filled with polished stones. Everyone at the table was wowed by the unique and elegant presentation. Jon wondered how they ran the rocks through the dishwasher. Later, in the restroom, he found the bathroom sink was filled with rocks. Question asked and answered.
One of the biggest hits of the night. Creamy and sweet, the corn porridge was served alongside “homemade Cool Ranch Doritos.” The Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco gone uptown. For those of you who can’t fly out to Los Angeles in the near future, this dish is remarkably easy to recreate in your own kitchens. Just heat up some cream corn, grab a bag of chips, and light a twenty dollar bill on fire.
After they delivered Ursula from The Little Mermaid to our table (and refilled our waters of course), buyer’s remorse instantly set in. Nobody wanted to be the first to take a bite. In the end, everyone was surprised at how much they enjoyed the dish and couldn’t wait to never order it again.
Jon first ate poutine in a Canadian airport. Not the oversell it, but he was quoted as saying, “Yeah, I guess this is a little better…”
Easily the best dish of the night because it was the only one we didn’t need explained to us. Annie was left wishing there had been more. Jon was left wishing Annie hadn’t stolen his.
The absolute best moment of the night. A delicious dessert featuring burnt wood ice cream. Finally, the experience of licking a fireplace brought to the dinner table. Honestly, though, a second trip would be worth it just for this course alone.
After the meal, the check was brought to us in a small manilla envelope similar to the one used in the game Clue. “It was Michael Voltaggio… On Melrose… With our MasterCards.”
We didn’t ask for doggy bags, but they did give each of us a canteen for the road.
A night of great conversation, truly original food, and a restaurant filled with people who all genuinely seemed to be having a wonderful time. Sure, I had to sell my car to the valet so I could afford to tip the valet, but the walk home was delightfully playful with hints of Autumn breeze.
We would both gladly return to Ink. It’s so sweet of you to offer to treat us…
-- Annie and Jon
What? Huh? Wait a minute? When I said I would treat you at Ink I thought that meant you were getting a tattoo. Ink is located at 8360 Melrose Ave. in West Hollywood. Here's their website. Thanks again to Jon and Annie. It's nice to know my daughter eats in better places than me.
Tomorrow: a special treat. Stop on by.