the Bazaar and considering Michael Voltaggio was partly responsible for that magic, I entered ink with great anticipation.
Thankfully there was no line for walk-ins at 6pm on a Sunday. We sat at the bar and ordered away.
The verdict: loved it! It was almost as good as the Bazaar. As you know, I'm not one for hyperbole and I rarely gush about restaurants unless they truly warrant it.
Before staring our food adventure, I got a cocktail of brandy, mint, fig and lemon that was mixed by superstar mixologist Devon Espinoza. I just blogged about how much I love figs so this was a no-brainer. It was delicious and the perfect aperitif to the meal I was about to have.
Another highlight was the seaweed mashed potatoes. How good could mashed potatoes be? Mashed potatoes are mashed potatoes, right?
The mashed potatoes were topped with sea beans that didn't have such a distinctive taste but it did give a slight crunch to the decadent potatoes. I wished I were sitting in a booth so I could curl up with a blanket nursing this dish.
The other dish (actually, I loved all the dishes except for two) to rave about was the octopus that tasted smoked and super soft, with some buttered popcorn mash (yes, he literally took buttered popcorn and blended it), piquillo peppers and humble, fresh spinach to finish it off.
The octopus was thick and amazing. The plate also featured an edible band with holes that had been made from compressed piquillo peppers. The band tasted smoky and delicious, just like the real peppers.
piment d'espelette, a mild pepper often used in Basque cuisine. The "pasta" sat on a squash emulsion and a hazelnut-squid ink pesto. It was garnished with Parmesan crisps.
It wasn't bad but not as excellent as the other dishes.
One interesting thing we noticed and that the restaurant is apparently known for are these huge blocks of ice served with the drinks at the bar. It's a large, vertical block of ice the length of a tall glass that looks like a sculpture. Even the way the ice looks inside is like art - just beautiful. It's a patented type of ice and they were cagey about sharing any secrets to how it's done.
The desserts were good and definitely a treat for their unusual combinations and innovation.
The one I liked better was the grapefruit curd with avocado essence, cilantro sorbet and charred maple-lime. The grapefruit was tart and not too sweet and the avocado added an interesting savory layer to the dessert. My favorite within this dish was the cilantro sorbet. It was a dark green packed with cilantro flavor that cleansed the palate and was a great finish to a meal. I couldn't stop scooping the sorbet. The maple-lime was good but I was happy just with the cilantro sorbet.
sabayon, and topped with a merengue dome. I didn't care too much for the whole thing but I liked the little apple-flavored "grapes" made from compressed apples with some liquid that makes it look like these beautiful translucent gems.
All in all, ink didn't disappoint with creative but not gimmicky (ok, maybe a little gimmicky) dishes that push the envelope and make for a great food adventure. Unusual combinations and textures are the name of the game here and I can't wait to return to try the meat dishes. My dinner companion and I also thought the prices were reasonable for what we got -- for the most part, art on a plate.