26 Feb Pacifique Blends California Cuisine with Japanese Flavors
I regularly drive up and down La Cienega, recognizing all of the familiar sites. But, there is a new restaurant that just moved into the spot that was home to Le Petit Bistro for 25 years. Pacifique is the new restaurant, owned by chef Joe Miller and his friend, and former partner at Joe’s in Venice, Joe Herzer. Instead of driving past, I went in recently with some friends and we were in for a lovely experience.
Pacifique is elegant and sophisticated. The dining room is warm and inviting with a palate of grays and black. Plush booths, seating parties of four and six, line both sides of the room and two-tops run down the center of the room. At the end of the room is the bar, back-lit by a bright florescent color that warms the room. And, large globe lights hang from the ceiling. There is additional seating in the front of the restaurant, as well as some hidden booths separated by a wall.
At the helm of Pacifique is chef Joe Miller, the Michelin starred chef from Joe’s in Venice as well as Bar Pintxo in Santa Monica. It is wonderful to see the quiet, unassuming and super talented Chef in his new space.
Pacifique has an interesting and concise wine list and I started with a sparkling Gruner Veltline with the 2016 Schlumberger Brut, Burgenland, Austria. The cocktails, created by the Barlingual team, are plays on classic cocktails, such as the Internal Exercises Margarita, the Goonies Never Say Die Tiki and the Don’t Hassle Me I’m Local Daiquiri.
Pacifique offers a menu that blends California’s seasonal ingredients with Japanese influences resulting in interesting and unique dishes with elegant presentations.
The Chawanmushi with shimeji mushrooms, dungeness crab is so delicious. I wish I could have had additional servings. It is delicate and subtle yet creamy with umami flavors. The meaty piece of dungeness crab is a lovely surprise.
The Scallop and Sea Urchin with smoked daikon and soy is another stand-out dish. The thinly sliced scallop has a creamy texture and the Santa Barbara sea urchin is sweet and melts in the mouth.
Large chicken Wings are coated with tare, a thick, sweet soy sauce, and served with pickled root vegetables.
I really enjoyed the Smoked Trout Mousse with trout roe but the nori crackers are a bit tough.
For my main dish, I ordered the Shrimp Cloud with mussels and nira broth. The shrimp cloud is like a shimp dumpling but without the outer skin. It is sitting in the nira broth, a delicate broth made from nira, also known as garlic chives and Chinese leek. This is a really unique and very tasty dish.
My friend ordered the Pork Loin with Inaniwa udon and broccoli rabe. The meat is perfectly cooked and tender and the broth is rich and savory.
The desserts are works of art and my favorite was the Yuzu Tart with lavender, tarragon, lemon verbena. It is refreshing and light and I liked the balance between the citrus and the herbs. I especially loved the crisps, made of blueberry.
The Panna Cotta with lychee, raspberry macaron, and blood orange is also a very light dessert. I have never had a panna cotta in a soup, let alone a lavender soup, but the sweetened cream is thick and holds up.
Chocolate lovers will love the Molton Chocolate Cake with shiso and dulce leche. The dark chocolate oozes out of the cake and there is a hint of the pungent and grassy notes of the shiso.
With warm, comforting decor and fresh, seasonal flavors, here’s hoping Pacifique has a long history on La Cienega, like its predecessor.
631 N. La Cienega Blvd.
West Hollywood CA.