Chef Brian Redzikowski has an impressive resume, one that took him to the high slopes of Aspen to the hot deserts of Nevada. From working at Nobu to Joel Robuchon (rated 3 Michelin star), Chef Redzikowski's cuisine has finally find a place he can call home at the Thompson Hotel. His experience in French cuisine and passion in Asian flavors, brought life to a once poorly rated Bond St. at the Thompson Hotel. It took me awhile to finally get to experience Chef Redzikowski's amazing food, but it was damn well worth the wait!
I was greeted by the chef upon my arrival and he had informed me that Bond St. has left the Thompson Hotel and thus, the restaurant itself was in transition. Now heading the Thompson Hotel restaurant, Chef Redzikowski was given much more freedom to execute his vision for his own menu.
Before I dive into the food, I must warn you that some pictures have flash while others do not because I was playing around with my camera trying to find the best way to take pictures in such a dim setting. I really want an SLR - who wants do donate to my cause?? =)
vodka-infused blueberries, yuzu lemon
I originally wanted to sip on a glass of Prosecco while waiting for my dining companion, but the host sold me on this cocktail. After taking my first sip, I was elated that I made the right choice. The blueberries were infused with vodka and basically marinated in the alcohol for quite a long period of time. I cannot remember the exact time, but I want to say for about six to eight months. The cocktail came with liquid nitrogen - like spheres of blueberries which ended up dissolving. This cocktail was absolutely delicious! It was sweet at first, but after a few more sips you can really taste the yuzu and lemon. The yuzu added a nice sweetness to the sour and tart blueberries.
course 1: tuna tart, red onion, micro shiso
This pizza-like tuna tart was a perfect starter for me. The micro shiso provided a perfect amount of mint flavor, while the tangy and sweetness of the red onion played a background but much appreciated role.
course 2: bouillabaisse, lobster, squid, ama ebi, uni rouille
After reading all the other reviews from fellow food bloggers, I was really looking forward to this dish. And when the waiter started pouring out the intoxicating concoction, my excitement hit the roof! The smell alone was enough to put me in a trance. I was definitely under Chef Redzikowski's spell! All the different seafood were so tender and soft. The only thing I wish was that there was more uni. As an uni lover, I would have loved mountains of that stuff!
course 4: "sashimi" of Blackmouth salmon, watermelon, watermelon rind, soy dots, hamachi belly, "soy strip," tuna tataki, wasabi kizame, scallop, serrano dressing
The wasabi gave a nice kick to the tuna tataki dish. The smokiness of the salmon came through first, but then balanced out by the sweetness of the watermelon. The hamachi being a fatty fish, I appreciated the "soy strip" that provided the extra saltiness to temper the fattiness of the yellowtail. The scallop was served on a sesame leaf and when eaten together the sesame leaf overpowered the scallop very much. Being Korean, we eat a lot of sesame leaves especially when eating sashimi (think raw fish and cho gochujang - different from regular gochujang, all wrapped up in sesame leaf!). The serrano dressing was not enough to hold up against the sesame leaf, but when the scallop was eaten alone it was delicious.
course 5: black bass, artichokes, tomatoes, black truffle, olive oil three ways
First, let me say that the fish was perfectly cooked and seasoned. Now that THAT's out of the way, let me go on and on about how much I absolutely loved the olive oil in three ways. The powder form was sweet while the foam was salty. And the puree form was definitely reminiscent of mashed potatoes in both taste and texture. Each time I combined the fish with one of the olive oils, it added another dimension and layer of flavor to the dish. The black truffle gelatin gave it subtle earthiness, while the tomatoes added a touch of sweetness.
course 6: langoustine and foie gras ravioli, romaine, parmesan
While the langoustine looks like a lobster and/or prawn, in terms of flavor it reminds me of crab. One ravioli was filled with langoustine while the other one with foie gras and both were delicious. This dish was, overall, on the salty side for me. So, I really enjoyed the presence of the romaine lettuce which moderated the saltiness of the ravioli and the paremsan cheese.
2006 Cadia Pelaverga di Verduno
For our last savory course, we were given a 2006 Cadia Pelaverga di Verduno. The wine is made from the rare pelaverga piccolo variety and found only in Verduno. While the wine is floral on the nose, it is a very dry red wine with some spicy notes.
course 7: wagyu beef, mushrooms, fava beans, garlic, spring garnish
This small piece of fatty wagyu beef had so much flavor and was so juicy as well as tender. I think the jam underneath was made out of bone marrow and onions, but dont' quote me on that. Regardless, the sweetness of the jam was the perfect compliment to the savory, juicy beef. The mushrooms were seasoned well and added a nice contrast to the pungent garlic. I love garlic, so I gladly ate the roasted garlic and secretly wished for more. The spicey notes from the wine paired really well with the fattiness of the beef and the spicy sweetness of the roasted garlic.
course 8a: "mochi donuts," blood orange, strawberry, yogurt, coconut ice cream
The donuts itself were a little too dense for me, however the tartness and acid I received from the blood oranges and strawberries provided a nice contrast to the creaminess of the sweet coconut ice cream.
course 8b: strawberry sorbet, chocolate cake, strawberry glass, chocolate sponge, sour cream and raspberry sheets, soil, chocolate pudding, pinot noir/strawberry capsules
I really love sorbet and this strawberry one was especially delicious when eaten with the chocolate capsules filled with pinot/noir strawberry liquid. The strawberry glass was a nice contrast in texture and flavor to the chocolate sponge cake.
course 9a: Asahi beer float, Asahi acacia honey ice cream, Asahi "spumante," Asahi beer tableside
I was never a fan of root bear so I never really enjoyed a root beer float. I've tried coke floats when I was younger, but since I don't drink soda anymore (or try not to) I realized I can get my "float" fix only through beer floats. And, I have to say that beer floats are the way to go! The sweetness of the ice cream helped smoothe out the bitterness of the beer.
course 9b: cereal, streusel, blueberries, marshmallows, soy-vanilla milk
Our final dessert of the night was a play on cereal - and for those of you who know me, you know that cereal is one of my favorite things to eat! I know it's so simple, but I love the cold milk with the crunchy cereal - I think it's genius! With that said, this dessert was probably the weakest. Maybe because I was expecting so much and maybe because I love cereal, but while the milk was sweet with a nice touch from the soy, the dessert as a whole was just okay for me.
goodies to take home
We were given these goodies to take home. I don't remember what they were exactly, but the bread was some kind of lemon nut bread. I heated the bread up and ate it for breakfast the next morning. :)
My expectations were high and the food surely did not disappoint. I am glad to see that Chef Brian Redzikowski has been given much more freedom in terms of his menu and creative reign. I will be back and you can count on me spreading the word about my wonderful meal.
Bond St./Thompson Hotel Restaurant9360 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90212