28 Jan Orsa & Winston
The highly anticipated Orsa & Winston, Josef Centeno’s return to fine dining, lives up to all expectations. Open only a couple weeks, the simple room, located next door to his bustling restaurant Bar Ama, is quiet and minimally decorated. The ambiance is sophisticated and casual. And the highlight of the room, and where most of the action takes place, is the open kitchen with Chef Centeno standing calmly in the center.
Orsa & Winston offers a tasting-menu format, which Centeno describes as Japanese/Italian omakase. You can chose a 5-course tasting menu, a 9-course tasting menu, 4-course family style or the 20-course tasting menu. Ranging from $50 to $195 per person, depending on the menu you choose, your palates will be in the hands of the chef (the staff will inquire about food allergies).
Instead of ordering the wine pairing, we ordered one bottle of white wine (Emrich-Schonleber Riesling Trocken Nahe 2008) and one bottle of red wine (Roblet Monnot Bourgogne Rouge 2011) from the wine list curated by GM/Wine Director Sally Kim. The minerality of the Riesling paired well with the first 5 courses and the fruity but acidic Pinot Noir paired well with the rest of the meal.
We selected the 5 course tasting menu and ordered one additional item a la carte. But, we received much more! From the amuse bouche to a palate cleanser, to a few extra items thrown in, we left satiated yet wanting more.
Fennel Panna Cotta with tonburi, wheat cracker
Served as an amuse bouche, the fennel panna cotta with potato-leek mousse, mountain caviar and wheat cracker crumbles was creamy and delicate with herbal notes with hints of anise.
Kanpachi with Pomelo
The first course offered a synergy of flavors, including citrus, creamy and umame.
Coddled Egg with Semolina and Pancetta
This dish also included sherry vinegar, maple syrup and chive that added a slight sweetness to the lush, creamy egg which were balanced by the salty pancetta at the bottom.
Octopus, ham cap, puntarelle, cranberry bean, ravigote
The perfectly cooked octopus with the smokiness of the ham cap, the slight bitterness of the puntarelle and the earthiness of the cranberry bean came together with the vinegar dressing.
Heritage pork testa, shiso, pickled zucca, sicilian oregano
After spending 12 hours in the oven, the pork testa was tender and melted in the mouth.
Milk bread foccacia, tomato-ume, parmesan reggiano, culatello served with black cod puree
The bread, which combines Japanese milk bread with focaccia from Baco Mercat, had a soft, tender center and a crisp crust. It was served with oregano butter, as well as a side of black cod puree.
Mackerel with Sofrito
A perfectly portioned piece of fish that was so perfectly cooked that I hardly needed to cut it with my fork.
Buttermilk porridge, uni, geoduck, lobster, dungeness crab, caviar
A rich, creamy decadent dish, the uni added a note of sweetness.
Venison with huckelberry
Perfectly cooked meat that was tender and delicate, with earthy notes from the mushrooms and a kick of tart sweetness from the huckleberries. This dish was perfect with our Pinot Noir.
Pomegranate granita with grapefruit and mint
An intermezzo who’s citrus, tart and minty flavors made a great palate cleanser.
Bambalones filled with yuzo and persimmon
The contrast between the warm, fluffy doughnuts and the tartness of the yuzo made this a perfect dessert to end the meal. The dessert was refreshing and just sweet enough and not heavy.
Mini chocolate chip cookies were served for a final touch.
I am saving up my appetite (and my money) to go back for the 20 course tasting menu.
Orsa & Winston
122 W. 4th St., Los Angeles