Tag Archives: DineLA Week

Drago Centro

My husband Peter and I finally made it downtown for dinner last Thursday. We keep meaning to spend more time in DTLA (DownTown LA), but it took “DineLA Restaurant Week” to get us to check out the sleek and sexy Drago Centro.

The special DineLA menu at the Italian hotspot offers three courses for $44, which is a great bargain (and very filling), but as usual we ordered some extras from the regular menu as well. The three of us (including our friend Laurieann) shared every dish, and now I can’t wait to go back and try the things I missed!

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.comIf you’re not familiar with Drago Centro, here’s what Jonathan Gold wrote about the restaurant in LA Weekly:
“Planted at the base of a formerly sterile office plaza, Centro may be the grandest new restaurant in this neighborhood since the early 1980s, a sprawling former bank space blown out into a double-height modernist dining room, punctuated in the middle by a glassed-in wine vault…”

I have to admit, sitting in the main dining room, near the enormous glass wine room was sort of powerfully intoxicating… but then again, it could have been the red wine and grappa!

All around it was a fun evening, especially spending time with sommelier Michael Shearin and our terrific server, Stefano. Make sure you ask for them if you plan on eating there soon (which you should)!

What we ate:

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Amuse Bouche: Bocconcini with Pesto Mousse (compliments of the chef)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
La Pancetta Brasata: Pork Belly, Farro, Spinach, Blueberries (Regular Menu $14)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
La Burrata, Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Crostino (Regular Menu $13)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Top: Antipasto Plate: Roasted peppers, Radicchio, Speck, Eggplant Puree, Burrata and Gnocco Fritto
Bottom: Garganelli, Veal Bolognese. (Both on DineLA Menu)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Smoked Salmon, Cauliflower Panna Cotta, Fennel (on DineLA Menu)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Braised Veal Cheeks, Endive, Parsnips, Almonds (on DineLA Menu)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Pork Belly Risotto, Rapini, Radicchio (on DineLA Menu) and yes it’s true… we ordered TWO pork belly dishes (so GOOD!)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Crispy Chicken, Assorted Beans & Veg (on DineLA Menu)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Desserts: Top Left: Mascarpone Semifreddo with Strawberries and Basil.
Bottom Left: Chocolate Coffee Cake, Vanilla Cream.
Right: Prosecco Mousse, Fennel Crumble, Citrus (All on DineLA Menu)

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
The custom-built glass wine vault.

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.com
Drago Centro’s private dining room with exhibition kitchen (in the former bank vault).

Drago Centro, MyLastBite.comDrago Centro
525 S. Flower St #120
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 228-8998
Website

Dining Date: 10/08/09

Jonathan Gold, LA Weekly

Follow Drago Centro on Twitter

Follow Michael Shearin, Sommelier on Twitter

Drago Central, Private Dining

DineLA Restaurant Week

Photo above right: Grappa flavored with Chamomile made by Marolo

Drago Centro on Urbanspoon

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XIV (now closed)

My first encounter with chef Michael Mina was during a birthday trip last January, for my niece and nephew, twins Kindal and Chace. Since they were about to officially become teenagers, I wanted to plan an extra special celebration dinner with Aunt Jo (that’s me) and Uncle Peter (my husband). Some sort of “grown up” place where we could get all dressed up and use every piece of fine silver on the table.

I’m extremely close with my sister’s kids, and would go to the ends of the world for them, but for their thirteenth birthday, I decided we would fly to San Francisco, and dine at Michelin-starred Michael Mina (the chef’s flagship restaurant). 

Dinner was, of course, incredible, and the fact that chef Mina was in the house that night made it even more special. He oversees multiple restaurants from California to Florida, so we were happily shocked when he stopped by our table for a birthday photo.

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.comMichael Mina’s XIV (“Fourteen”) in Hollywood is much closer to home of course, and we surely would have had the same dinner experience as we did in San Francisco, but I sort of felt like we (especially me) had to dine at Mina’s original outpost first.

Finally, last week I had my first full dinner at XIV (I previously enjoyed a few bites at the bar).

My nephew Cody (the twin’s older brother) is dating one of the sweetest, caring and downright gorgeous girls in all of L.A. That’s a bold statement I know, but Jade’s warmth and down-home personality (she hails from Tennessee), plus the way she cares for our entire family almost outshines her beauty. I said “almost” because there’s no denying her “WOW” factor.

Jade’s family still lives back in Tennessee, so Peter and I both try to be here for her if she needs anything. Last year after her car was totaled (a hit and run while parked in front of her building), she was in our kitchen on her cell phone dealing with her insurance company. The person on the other end must have asked her where she was at that moment, and she answered (in her sweet southern accent): “I’m with the folks that look after me”. Peter and I cracked up laughing. We just loved that she “got” how much we adore her, and how much our entire family loves her.

On September 10th Jade turned twenty-one, so of course we had to take her somewhere special to celebrate that night! I checked with Cody and we decided on XIV. It was perfect, and we had the best time TRYING to get through FOURTEEN delicious courses together. We almost made it (stopped at thirteen) but we’ll always remember it as yet another fun and fabulous, Michael Mina family experience.

What we ate:

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Sea Scallops Tempura, Cauliflower, Passion Fruit, Edamame, Almonds $17

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Liberty Duck Breast, Seared Fois Gras, Leg Confit, Pineapple, Star Anise $36

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Tataki of American Wagyu Skirt Steak, Moroccan Spiced Vegetables $16

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Top Left: Beef Carpaccio, Heart of Romaine, Cherry Tomatoes, Horseradish $16
Top Right: Tai Snapper Tapioca-Crusted, Broccoli Rabe, White Soy Vinaigrette $33
Bottom Right: Heirloom Beets, Burrata, Wild Arugula, Aged Balsamic, New Olive Oil $15
Bottom Left: Jidori Chicken “Cobb”, Blue Cheese, Avocado, Baby Gem Lettuce $17

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Top Left: XIV Caesar Salad, Classic Dressing, Shaved Parmesan Reggiano $13
Top Right: Kobe Burger, Trio of French Fries, Farmhouse Cheddar, & “Secret Sauce” $27
Bottom Right: Asparagus Risotto, Sqash Blossom, Chervil, Castelmagnno Cheese $25
Bottom Left: Lobster Pot Pie, Baby Summer Veg, Brandied Cream Sauce $59

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Sweet Corn Soup: Pork Belly, Apple Cider, Cilantro and Sea Salt $15
Bottom Left: Nutella Custard: Popcorn Ice Cream, Toast Streusel, Passion Fruit $11

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Birthday Card from XIV Staff. Jade & my nephew Cody.

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Uncle Peter, Jade & Cody.

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com
Happy Birthday Jade!

XIV (restaurant now closed)
8117 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 656-1414

XIV Website

Dining Date: 9/10/09

XIV Michael Mina, MyLastBite.com

Our XIV dinner (with lots of cocktails) was $200 per person, so the DineLA deal is a wonderful way to try out the menu!

Restaurant Week> October 4 – 9 / October 11-16

Mentioned Above:

Meeting Michael Mina, San Francisco with the twins!

Michael Mina’s Website

About Michael Mina

Michelin Guide

XIV on Urbanspoon

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