Monday, March 8, 2010

The Six

When I was invited to my first food blogger dinner by Kevin of kevinEats to the Six, a "gastrobistro" in West Los Angeles, I was ecstatic! I love wining and dining; I aboslutely love being out with my friends and having a great time. But there are times when I wished I had more foodie friends or blogger friends, especially when I'm taking pictures of the food and my friends are looking at me like "there she goes again..." So, as you can imagine, I was really excited about the dinner.

The seasonal menu focuses on a New American farm-to-table approach and we came in at the end of the winter items and the beginning of the spring season. Executive Chef David Gussin, formerly of Petrossian in West Hollywood and Akasha in Culver City, customized an impressive 16 course tasting for the six of us, showcasing his creativity with seasonable and sustainable products. Having had experiecne with a 16 course tasting before, I wasn't as worried about finishing the meal as I was about drinking all the alcohol AND finishing my dishes. I can eat, but I cannot drink (well, maybe if we were in Vegas at the clubs - then you now your girl can knock back shot after shot after shot), especially while eating.

We started off with some bubbly, Mumm Napa Brut Rose, before our meal began. I personally, love roses and this one was fruity and delicious.

course 1/amuse bouche: hamachi ceviche, pancetta, tangerines, pickled jalapeno, crispy red onion

The hamachi was marinated in lime juice for about 10 minutes prior to being served. The pickled jalapeno was mild, which I was happy about. I did not want to only taste "burning" in my mouth! (Ralph Wiggum reference: "It tastes like burning.") The crispy red onion added nice texture to the dish. The sweetness of the tangerines and the saltiness of the pancetta depth to the dish. The hamachi was good, but the slices were a bit oddly cut so it was a bit difficult to eat.

Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale

Our next course was paired with Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale. At first sip, I immediately tasted coffee and it finished with a slight saltiness to it. I enjoyed this one very much.

course 2: wild mushrooms, chantrelles, black trumpet, hedgehog, maitake, oyster, poached egg

This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. I aboslutely loved the earthiness of the mushrooms and the poached egg just added richness to the dish. It was luscious.

course 3: beet panzanella, mission figs, ricotta superfina, bacon, wild rocket, sherry almond vinaigrette

I love beets so I was really looking forward to Chef Gussin's take on the traditional Italiand dish, panzanella. The ricotta was nice and creamy and the arugula gave a wonderful spicy flavor to the dish. However, I thought the sweetness of the figs overwhelmed the beets. I wanted more "beet" flavor and perhaps this could have used bigger pieces of beets.

Stone IPA

Stone IPA was the next beer given to us. This was really too bitter for me at first, but after a few more sips the bitterness becomes less offensive and rather enjoyable. But, I must warn my ladies out there, the first gulp might just make the hair on your eyebrows grow out! Happy plucking!

course 4: crispy jidori chicken thigh, butternut squash hash, sage, pomegranate gastrique

I recently had jidori chicken thigh that wasn't so great - it was extremely salty. So, I was a bit wary with this dish. But, I was so wrong to do so! The crispy skin and the juicy meat was perfectly cooked and seasoned. The hash was a little on the sweet side due to the apple and the squash, but all eyes were on the chicken!

course 5: Prince Edward Island Mussels, spanish chorizo fumet, confit garlic, grilled ciabatta

The fumet, made from Santa Barbara halibut and spanish chorizo, was rich in butter and full of flavor from the garlic. Butter and garlic - two of my favorite things, but don't tell my hips and thighs that! Sssssh!

course 6: BBT pizza, applewood smoked bacon, basil, oven roasted tomato

Who doesn't love bacon? Everyone knows everything is better with bacon. And when you get applewood smoked bacon from Louisiana personally selected by the chef, you know you're in for a treat. The opal basil really complimented the sweetness of the tomato - the pairing being quite obvious. But, the bacon really took this pizza to another level - it was great bacon and a delicious pizza.

New Belgium's Ranger India Pale Ale

Our next beer was the New Belgium's Ranger India Pale Ale. Compared to the Stone IPA, this was a lot less bitter - much easier to drink.

course 7: banh mi slider, roasted pork belly, jalapeno jam, cilantro aioli, sweet pickled carrots, cucumber

This was the dish that separated Chef David Gussin from all the others who were eyeing the executive chef positon. In his take on the Vietnamese sandwich, he uses a burger patty and a roasted pork belly - this definitely makes this sandwich heavier than the original. The pickled carrots did break up the heaviness of the meat, however I was missing my most favorite part of the banh mi - the cilantro. I didn't miss the jalapeno so much since I tend to shy away from anything too spicy, but the main focus of the banh mi, for me, is always the cilantro. Other than that, the patty was good and the pork belly was deliciously fatty.

course 8: six burger slider, red onion rings, maytag blue, thousand island, butter lettuce, tomato

We were given the miniature versoin of the Six Burger which comes with red onion rings, blue cheese, thousand island dressing, lettuce and tomato. I have to say that I preferred this burger over the banh mi sandwich. The burger was cooked on the rare side so making it really juicy and well, finger lickin' good. The crispy onion rings added great saltiness to the burger and went so well with the tangy sharpness of the blue cheese. The butter lettuce and tomato added a perfect crunch and rounded out the burger very well.

2009 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc

Our nnxt dish was paired with a 2009 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc, crisp and really fruity. It was refreshing and delicious.
course 9: scallop, "scalloped" kennebec potato, chive jus

I absolutely adored this dish, espeically the "scalloped" potato topped with Mornay sauce. It was perfectly seasoned and the tangy and tart chive jus balanced the "cheesy-ness" of the potato quite well. The scallop was also nicely prepared, but the potato stole the show for me - is this because I've had a long love affair with the potato since I was small child?

chantrelle mushroom

Chef Gussin came out with this absolutely gorgeous chantrelle mushroom which was to be used in our next dish. I secretly really wanted to just pick it right up and take a bite out of it. But, I don't think that would have gone over well with anybody.... ;)

course 10: local halibut, truffled artichoke puree, topanga mountains chantrelle mushrooms in natural jus

The halibt was wonderfully cooked with the meat being moist and the skin cripsy. I really enjoyed the citrus from the tangy artichoke and paired well with the peppery arugula.The locally foraged chantrelle mushrooms gave a great earthiness that kept the dish very grounded. Another favorite of mine... I'm having a lot of favorites, aren't I? What can I say... I'm easy to please!

Lindeman's Framboise

Next up to drink was Lindeman's Framboise, Belgian fruit beer. The sweet raspberries led me down a sugary dream until I was awakened by the next dish...

course 11: broccoli rabe bisque, cheddar tuile, frambois head

The broccoli rabe bisque was too bitter for me. The bitterness of the broccoli was almost overwhelming and when I ate it with the tuile, it enhanced that bitterness.

course 12: Grant Achatz Hot Potato, cold potato, truffle, butter

I preferred this soup much more than the broccoli bisque. The warm soup had the gritty potato-y texture I rather enjoy, which was countered by the smooth cold potato. I appreciated the contrast in temperature and texture.
2007 Xyzin Zinfandel

Our final drink of the night, 2007 Xyzin Zinfandel was paired for our last savory course It was fruity but had a nice body to it.

course 13: pastrami spiced prime ny, caraway spaetzle, "fresh" sauerkraut, roasted veal jus 

This being Chef Gussin's signature dish, I had high expectations and the dish definitely did not disappoint. I was really amazed that the perfectlly cooked NY steak tasted just like pastrami. The sauerkraut did a great job in balancing out the "pastrami" meat and the spaetzle provided another texture and flavor to the whole dish. It was very good.

course 14: peanut butter cookie, banana foster ice cream, candied pecans

The peanut butter cookie and the banana ice cream went really well together. It reminded me of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches with sliced bananas and was my favorite out of the three desserts.

course 15: chocolate chip cookie sandwich, strawberry-smoked black pepper ice cream

This dessert could have been the best with its winning strawberry-smoked black pepper ice cream. I enjoyed this ice cream a lot more than the banana one, but the chocolate chip cookie was so hard that made it really difficult to eat. I really wanted the cripsy yet gooey goodness you get with chocolate chip cookies. If the cookie was softer and warm, this dish would've been a great hit.
course 16: beignets, powdered sugar, fig jam 

The beignets were fluffy and when eaten with the fig jam, quite good. But, this dish seemed one note for me and I was actually eating the fig jam with the peanut butter cookie and banana ice cream dish (see my peanut butter & jelly sandwich with banana slices reference!).


Overall, my meal at The Six was wonderful and so filling thanks to the wonderful staff at The Six, Chef David Gussin and to Kevin for the invite! I think Chef David Gussin is off to a wonderful start, which will eventually, I hope, lead to the Six becoming a permanent fixture in the West LA area. I definitely recommend this spot for all the locals to check out, especially because we don't have many choices when it comes to gastropubs/gastrobistros. Since I live so close, I predict this will become one of my go-to places for great beer and food to match.

The Six
10668 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 837-6662

The Six Restaurant on Urbanspoon


kevinEats said...

Thanks again for coming out Helen--good to hear that you had a fun time!

nelehelen said...

thank YOU! lol

i'm going to try to train my liver so i can try to drink at least HALF as much as you do!

Oanh N. said...

omg i want to join someday! hahhaha.

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