Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The food's Orris good

There was a wait for a table on a Tuesday at 6.55pm at Orris Restaurant on Sawtelle. I've never had to wait for a table at Orris before. Everyone must be trying to cash in on their BBE 30% discount before it expires on the 6th. Even though I was hungry and typically dislike waiting for a table (they do not take reservations), I had to suck it up. After all, this was attempt #2 (we went to Orris two weeks ago only to realize they were closed on Mondays) and goshdarnit, I was going to get my ravioli, by hook or by crook.

Orris is one of my favorite restaurants on Sawtelle. Chef Hideo Yamashiro also owns popular Restaurant Shiro in Pasadena. The cuisine is Japanese fusion and served small-plates style. You won't find sashimi here. Instead, dishes are Asian influenced and prepared with French flair, using the best and freshest ingredients. Unlike many of the Japanese restaurants in the area, Orris offers a good and reasonably priced wine list.

After a short wait, we were seated inside (they also have an outdoor patio area by the sidewalk). The aroma from the open kitchen filled the tiny room.

Dishes are served in starter portions and priced around $10, specials run higher. It might sound cheap but trust me, your bill will add up quickly.

They also offer a list of specials, which I recommend you sample.

We started with a bottle of pinot grigio.

Curry infused shrimp tempura with okinawan sea salt
This is one of my usual favorites. I think the curry aioli really takes this dish to another level. Much better than regular soy based tempura dipping sauce.

Free range fried chicken with sweet and spicy yuzu sauce
The chicken was tender and juicy. I just love Japanese fried chicken because they typically aren't too greasy.

Stuffed squash blossoms filled with shrimp mousse and pistachio, topped with calamata olive salsa

As an anti-cheese eater, I was glad that the squash blossom wasn't stuffed with the normal cheese filling. I thought the shrimp mousse filling was unique and the pistachios added a nice crunch.

Soft shell crab
I've had a lot of soft shell crab this season and it never gets old. The crab was well seasoned and the plate was dotted with drops of crab roe. There's something so delicate about the crab shell, yet you can't help but feel barbaric for eating the shell.

Charbroiled Alaskan king crab, marinated in olive oil and grilled
The crab leg was fresh and of good quality. I did appreciate the simplicity of the preparation but I didn't think this dish was particularly unique.

Sauteed scallops with mushroom mustard sauce
The scallops were perfectly cooked. I liked the mushroom topping which added some earthiness to the scallops, but I didn't care for the mustard sauce on the plate. Personal preference though.

Shrimp mousse ravioli and shiitake mushroom sauce
Thick, generous filling of shrimp was wrapped in a tender wrapper that seemed to be as light as won ton skin. The mushroom sauce was rich and decadent. I'm not sure what kind of crack they use in that sauce but I want in on that. The dish was served with fresh baguette that was the perfect vehicle to sop up every last drop of the mushroom sauce. This is an extremely heavy dish but I always wish I have my own plate. It's that good.

Braised duck breast with yuzu chili paste
The perfect medium rare duck was tender and simply dressed. A little goes a long way with the yuzu paste. It left a sharp burning sensation on my tongue.

Pan seared French foie gras with Japanese eggplant in a sweet soy reduction
What a perfect end to the night, albeit a heavy conclusion. The foie gras was a rather generous piece and I believe it was further topped with a smaller piece of foie that had a nice caramelization.

Awesome dinner, as usual. The fried dishes really stood out- they all felt seemingly light despite being deep fried. The ravioli is always a winner. Chef Shiro does an amazing job of creating delicate and refined dishes that pack flavor. The bill before discount and tax/tip came up to $170. With the awesome BBE discount, we each ended up paying $55 including tax/tip. I think that's a steal, for two bottles of wine and an excellent dinner. I've never left Orris dissatisfied, the food is always good.

Hits: ravioli, all the fried dishes, foie eggplant
Misses: no reservations
Rating: ***1/2

2006 Sawtelle Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 268-2212


weezermonkey said...

Oh, man. I'm sad I missed this BBE!

Diana said...

I can't believe you got all of that for $55! Craziness!

BTW... I think we need to bring back the expression, "by hook or by crook." That was awesome. :)

glutster said...

if it wasn't for this place. Teenage Glutster would had never been born :)

haven't gone back ever since but think I should pretty soon...

SinoSoul said...

DAMNIT I missed this BBE too! Can we just do a default BBE dining group already? WTF MANG!?

stuffycheaks said...

weezermonkey & sinosoul - next good BBE that comes along, I'm emailing you two so we can dine together!

Diana - hahah i sound like I'm from my mom's generation.. Yeah BE was great cuz it can get pricey at Orris (esp if you pig out like i do..)

gluster - great post! I can't believe the squash blossom has been on the menu since then!

Kung Food Panda said...

I missed out on the BBE, though I'm going to try it out sometime next week. How un-Asian of me...