Sunday, November 04, 2012

For all you foodies -- here's a restaurant review!!

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.

Still, since our idea of fine dining is the macaroni not in Spider-Man shapes, we decided to expand our horizons. After all, you only live once but you can always get a second mortgage.

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:

Kusshi Oysters

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.

Corn Porridge

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.

Brussels Sprouts

Not even a Top Chef winner can make Brussels sprouts look appealing. Sadly, since Annie keeps Kosher, she had to pass on this dish as it came paired with pig ears. Not being Jewish, Jon just had to pass on this because it looked revolting. Everyone at the table swore they were delicious. Apparently, if you can’t get your kids to eat their vegetables, burying them under layers of fatback and fancy pork rinds is an effective fix.


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.

Apple Dessert

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. 


Unknown said...

I see a lot of this type of food on tv....but who knew it existed in real life? I work for a major chain restaurant, and we have trouble keeping anything but Budweiser and fish and chips on the menu....would only work in LA or NYC!

Breadbaker said...

I don't believe octopus is kosher either.

ddatch54 said...

"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."


Love your site.

David said...

Don't go dissing poutine. It's a perfect meal - it's got cheese curds, french fires, and gravy. What else could mortal man possibly need for sustenance?

Johnny Walker said...

"You only live once but you can always get a second mortgage."

Great job, guys! If we ever do lunch, let's not go there.

Jocelyne said...

I thought this was a parody. You know like Steve Martin's L'Idiot... Then I checked out the restaurant's web site... Still thought you were pulling my leg and had set up a fake site. I simply could not bring myself to believe this place was real. Wow. Just wow. *shakes head*

cdonald said...

Hey, Mr. Bader's now doing some very respectable work in voice animation, and I see him in guest appearances all the time. Are you sure that wasn't Loretta Swit you saw clearing tables?

bramka sms said...

INK - pretty innovative name as for a restaurant...To be honest, I wouldn't be interested in entering a restaurant named like that. It simply doesn't sounds delicious enough

cadavra said...

I would never patronize any place whose name ends in a period.

RCP said...

“The concept behind ink. alludes to an idea of permanence and a creation of a memory.”

Oh darling - remember what you said to me over the octopus at ink.?

As if I could forget, my love.

Please. Well, I'm sure the bill won't soon be forgotten.

Thanks for the laughs, Annie and Jon.

RCP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lorimartian said...

Very funny account, kids. LA Story is one of my favorite movies. I need to revisit it. I don't remember the restaurant being called L'Idiot, but I do recall that the name of the hotel was Pollo Del Mar (translated means "chicken of the sea") and that Sarah Jessica Parker never stopped moving throughout the entire film. I really enjoy the multi-talented Steve Martin.

Mac said...

Pig's ears? I get a bag of these for my dog to chew on; the vet said it's good for his old fangs. I always knew that dog had sophisticated taste.

"Tomorrow, A special treat. Stop on by... ?"

I was planning to anyway but "a special treat?"

Jan said...

An excellent, hilarious review. The Annie doesn't fall far from the tree, eh? What else do you write, Annie?

So speaking of water glasses...You really need to it pick up, put it to your lips, and put it back down. It's a riot to watch the water dude rush over to fill it and then pull up, sloshing the pitcher in the process.

Carol said...

I love that I'm not the only one remember l'idiot in LA Story while reading this excellent review.

Emily Blake said...

This post made me laugh a lot. That is all.

LouOCNY said...

It ever scare you, Ken, that your daughter is just as funny as you, and seems to write almost exactly LIKE you? Had to re-read twice to make sure it was Annie...

Cap'n Bob said...

Why not divulge the prices?

Tom Quigley said...

Just curious -- did anyone order the octopus with its "ink." on the side?...

Hotcha said...

Hahaha so there's definitely a Ken Levine style, your daughter just distilled it nicely with this posting.

But it's really the restaurant's website who got most of the laughs from me, no offense ment. At first look I was shure I got the link wrong, because it looks just like your plain old interior design shop. When mousing over the icons on top, I then saw they talk about food. Had to laugh out loud again when I came to the icon where you should be pointed to their product group 'cloth hanger racks' - actually, this means 'people'. Didn't find Diedrich Bader there, though. Are you really sure it was him?

Ted said...

Funny! It runs in the family.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I, too, thought of L'Idiot in LA Story.

But also: reading this together with the reinventing yourself posting reminds me that Nigella Lawson, before she became a "domestic goddess" was a print journalist of pretty good quality. She wrote restaurant reviews for The Spectator...and before that she wrote a really excellent column on current affairs for the Evening Standard.


Harold X said...

So he said the rocks were in the men's room sink?

I think he was being easy on you. That or he was washing his hands in the urinal.

qrops said...

nice post