8360 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90069mvink.com
A fellow foodie recommended this place to me, which is always a risky proposition because, well it might surprise you to know it, but I’m kinda hard to please. And I was pleased as punch. Never understood that expression, but it seems fitting now. From start to finish it was one inventive concoction of yumosity after another.
To kick things off we had the scallops, which they serve raw, along with pickled papaya and chili kicker to give it some nice heat. And the textures were tremendous. The scallops being soft and tender and the papaya being dense.
After that came one of the best beet dishes I’ve ever had. I hate to double down on the “dense” word, but the beets were so meaty they almost gave the sensation of steak. Just bodacious.
And speaking of steak sensations, the wagyu beef cheeks were sensational. Tied for my favorite thing of the night. So buttery soft it melted in your mouth.
Also, the perfect side to go along with the wagyu would’ve been the potato polenta with bone marrow. It’s incredibly creamy and equally delicious, but because it came before wagyu it felt like a supporting role without a main act, unable to truly stand on its own.
Right on the heels of that came the weakest dish of the night, the sea bass with chicken skin. Its description impresses far more than its flavors, but it was cooked well and offered a nice textural playfulness between the flaky, buttery fish and the crispy, salty chicken skin. Hmm, I’m making it sound so good I almost tricked myself into ordering it again.
But just when Ink started to show signs of mortality, the dessert chef closed things out like Mariano Rivera. The yam dessert being the best thing yams have ever accomplished since the dark ages. Served in an inventive array of dollops that I can’t recall because I was too busy horking it down. All I know is that there were flavors of cinnamon and toffee and it was off the charts.
And while the second dessert might’ve been more “chartable,” it was still extraordinary. A chocolate pudding unlike any I’ve ever had. Served almost like slices of cake set amidst ice cream and dried coconut.
Easily a five-knifer had the service not fouled it up. First, by trying to seat us at the shittiest table in the place, right at the front between the bar and the host station. And this was with the place 60% empty, which it remained from the start of our meal to the end.
The other nit, which is a big pet peeve of mine, is when you ask a server for recommendations and they give you the ole non-committal cop out, “everything’s good.” Which he was mostly right about, everything was good, except the service.