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FOH – “FRONT OF THE HOUSE” A FEAST FOR THE SENSES

 

 

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I was invited to try a new menu at a super-cool restaurant in Downtown LA. I hesitated at first, knowing that it was going to be a long journey from Santa Monica to Flower Street.

But I braved the traffic anyway, always game for a new menu tasting. The restaurant was FOH, which means “front of the house.” Cute name. We walked in. Cute waiters. Cute place.

My husband and I were shown to a comfortable booth. Guess where? At the front of the house! We settled in, ready for a good time. What we didn’t know was how large the “tastes” were going to be! Yowza.

We ordered our drinks first. FOH has an eclectic wine list, with a decent price range. Scanning the list, my eyes traveled to Italy, France, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Australia, even Serbia before heading back to California. I chose a Cuvaison Chardonnay from the Carneros region of the Napa Valley. It’s $15.00 a glass, or $58.00 a bottle.

While sipping my wine, I begin to survey the cocktail list. Whoever designed the menu was a computer programmer prior to becoming a mixologist. The drink menu was designed like a navigation page. “In the Sticks” was one area, “Nice and Refreshing” in another area, as well as “Good and Strong” (how I like my drinks and my men) and Well Worn Path (the way I felt after the drive from Santa Monica).

For example, a drink listed in the “In the Sticks” section included the “Tourist Trap,” made from FOH Rum blend, lime, Orgeat, Tiki mix and bitters. The limit on ordering this was only two. A good first date drink.

Another example was the “Nooner,” located in the “Nice and Refreshing” section, consisting of Gin, Aperol, Lime and Sparkling Wine. I ordered one.   Quite good — refreshing. And there was no limit on how many you could order. Something I order for my mother-in-law.

The tasting menu was sublime. Forget about ordering. We got to taste everything on the menu!

First up: watermelon, burrata, fennel salad. A light and refreshing start.  Love the flavor combo.

Next: Romanesco, olive oil, and lemon: Not much of a veggie gal, but loved this; it’s kind of like cauliflower, but better. I would order this again.

One of my faves: Guacamole, panko, and mango pico: This dish arrived in a deep fried panko crust. Not much on the outside, but YUM in the inside. Nothing but creamy, earthy guacamole! And the mango topped it off perfectly. I scarfed it down in record time. A truly cravable dish.

Next dish: (ok I’m full already!) Plantains with queso fresco – these were deep-fried, with cheese and green salsa. A great snack alternative to chips and red salsa. Probably more nutritious as well.

The (oy vey) next dish: Carne Asada Taco, with guacamole and a quail egg – wasn’t so sure about the egg, but when I bit into the soft texture, it was so delicious! I will be definitely be trying this at home.

Next came an amazing Jalapeno Cornbread with polenta, pickled jalapeno, and honey butter. I’m not a bread eater. Now I am, with this version. It’s one of the best items on the menu. The perfect combination of hot, sweet and buttery to create a divine blend of goodness. And huge! I hoped I could take the rest (more than half of it) home with me.

Then came the FOH Salad. It was a combination of ahi tuna, butter lettuce, corn, and peanut cilantro vinaigrette. Loved it. The perfect “Ladies who Lunch with Tattoos” salad.

But wait, there’s more!

Uni, spaghetti, crab and jalapeno – The combination was sublime. The crab and jalapeno really worked well together. I’m liking this jalepeno theme!

Squid ink risotto with shrimp and calamari: Attention seafood eaters: Order this dish! The shrimp and calamari rock.

Steak Frites with coffee, frites, and chorizo-ranch: I’m a steak lover, and never had one with coffee before. Nice hearty flavor. Loved the fries as well. There’s always room in my tummy for good, crispy fries!

My personal fave: The Three-Finger Pork Chop with cilantro polenta and papaya salsa – I rarely enjoy pork at restaurants. It turns out too dry in most cases. This time, the meat was moist, light and really tasty. The polenta and salsa was such a fab combo with the pork.

The final tastes: Dessert!

The first was Arroz Con Leche with cajeta and cinnamon. It was kind of like a rice pudding. But better. Loved the cinnamon. Simple and creamy.

The last but not least was a luscious Panna Cotta with coconut espuma and mango. So decadent! Creamy, fruity heaven.

One of the best parts of the night was all the dishes we did not finish we got to take home! We had leftovers for literally days. Incredibly memorable. artistic cuisine. I’ll be back. Even in rush hour!