30 Mar Smoke + Meat at Odys + Penelope
With a passion for smoking meats, Quinn and Karen Hatfield have left fine dining and opened Odys+Penelope, a churrascaria on La Brea Blvd (between 3rd and Beverly). And, I am so happy that they did!
The 3,800 square foot restaurant is a modern, open space with a rustic charm. And, despite the open space and high ceilings, noise is not an issue. As the restaurant filled up while we were dining, my dining companion and I were still able to hear each other and talk.
The open fire kitchen is home to Argentinian-style and Uruguyuan-style grills, offering different levels of char, along with a Braszilian churrasco and a smoker. Despite all of the smoking and grilling going on in the kitchen, the ventilation kept any sign of smoke from coming into the dining room.
We started with a few cocktails at the bar. The craft cocktail menu is succinct with 7 offerings. Each drink features a different spirit (cacacha, pisco, vodka, gin, rye whiskey, tequila, rum) so there is something for everyone.
The Smoke Stack is made with Chipotle infused tequila, lime, agave and smoked salt and was well-balanced between smoky and tart.
The Fino Sour is made with Pisco, fino sherry, egg white and lemon bitters. It is a light, refreshing, tart drink but I would have liked to have tasted a bit more of the oxidized sherry notes. The drink is equal parts Pisco and Sherry but somehow the sherry was overpowered by the tartness.
As we moved to our table, we also shifted to wine. The wine list is interesting with many indigenous varietals from Italy, Spain, France and Portugal. I really like how the White Wines are categorized by “Bright,” “Rich” and “10+ Yrs of Age” and the Red Wines are categorized by “Earthy,” “Ripe” and “10+ Yrs of Age.” We opted for By The Glass options and had an Italian Verdicchio, a Spanish Albarino, a Spanish Garnacha and a Portuguese Touriga Nacional.
And then there is the food. We started with the grilled bread crostini with creamy crab, avocado, fennel and fresno chili. The grilled bread is thinly sliced and has a nice crunch but it doesn’t overwhelm the fresh flavors of the crab.
The raw hamachi is complimented by avocado, chickpeas, cucumber, preserved lemon and blood oranges. I liked the various textures that the accompanying ingredients added and the dish was very flavorful. But, the dollop of salad dressing was unnecessary and just sat there untouched on the plate.
Thanks to a friend’s recommendation, we were told to order the Spare Rib appetizer that is not on the menu. We felt like insiders knowing this and it was a great tip! The meat just fell off the bone and was both sweet and smoky.
For our main dish, we ordered the slow grilled Wagyu tri-tip served with charred broccolini, O+P Bearnaise. The meat was cut from a roast and was perfectly cooked – tender, juicy meat on the inside and crispy on the outside. But, it’s the bearnaise sauce that had me swooning.
Instead of fries, we opted for the well-seasoned fried wild mushrooms with Persian garlic sauce.
Then it was time for dessert and we couldn’t decide between two so we ordered both. The cornmeal ricotta fritters are light, hot, fluffy pillows of paradise. It was all the better when we dipped them in the salted local honey butter and creme fraiche cream.
The chocolate pie with a rye crust, Spanish peanut crumble and vanilla-malted ice cream is a richer, sweeter option. But, how can you not like dark chocolate and peanuts together with a savory crust?