Let's start the morning off with some mathematical logic, shall we?
- Colleen's Corollary 2.0: the fancier the restaurant, the more likely you are to want to blog about it.
- Colleen's Corollary 2.1: the fancier the restaurant, the dimmer the lights
Take a look at exhibit A: Jar Restaurant on Beverly Blvd. Despite being one of the better lit upscale LA dining establishments, the mere act of shooting without a flash produces photos of the yellowish-squint-and-you-can-barely-make-it-out variety.
Excuse me waiter, do you mind if I take this dish outside for just a moment? I just want to
Oh well, I trust that you all can use your imaginations and forgive me for the lack of photographic detail.
I'd been to Jar once before, several years ago, and had a great meal sitting in the clubby dining room. This time we sat at the bar and I enjoyed it even more. There's something about kicking back at a fancy place and treating it like bar food - it allows you to be even more surprised and delighted than you would be sitting at a table, where expectations are high.
We started out with a couple martinis, Brian's a watermelon, mine lychee. Unlike trendier bars that interpret fruity drinks as "Jolly Rancher in a glass," the martini specials at Jar are subtle, with the essence of fruit, not a full-on fruit cocktail. The lychee was especially good...
Sadly, they had run out of the homemade potato chips, but we did get a big heaping bowl of mixed nuts, which are roasted on location at the restaurant and tossed in a salty and barely sweet dust.
Since we had eaten a late lunch, we decided dinner would be one appetizer and one entree shared between us. We chose the lobster cocktail for an appetizer, and it came out piled high with lobster - equivalent to the amount of claw meat you'd get from a full 2 pound crawler. Resting atop a bed of julienned green mango with a spicy lime vinaigrette, this dish was refreshing and surprisingly filling.
Jar had a couple specials that night and we decided on the fish - grilled mong chong from Hawaii. Mong chong is a white fish with a surprisingly rich flavour... it almost has a steak-like quality in that the meat is luscious, full and satisfying without tasting fishy at all. Crunchy and a teeny bit charred on the outside, smooth and rich inside, it came with a creamy citrusy sauce that really hit the spot.
This was hands-down the best cooked fish I've ever eaten at a restaurant... we asked our waiter to add us to the mailing list so we could be notified whenever they were serving it again. It's that good.
Fun fact: mong chong also means "a bloody idiot" according to Urban Dictionary.
In a smooth and seductive environment like Jar, it would be a shame to pass up dessert. Everyone seems to rave about the butterscotch pudding, so we drank the Kool-Aid and dove in.
Wow. Now I know why people go nuts for this stuff. Every ingredient in the dish comes to life, from the rich toasty butterscotch to the fluffy cream floating on top. It's clearly made with an expert hand - I hate (I mean HATE) pudding, and yet I loved every bite of this.
So much for bar food...
8225 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA