gordon ramsay @ the london

Gordon Ramsay
The London West Hollywood
1020 N San Vicente Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 358-7788

dine l.a. is a great time to check out restaurants without feeling like you have to spend a small fortune.  there were several restaurants that really stood out for me that i wanted to try, and luckily for me and my eating companions, we were fortunate enough to get a reservation here at gordon ramsay's.  we were seated in the boxwood cafe side...i didn't realize there were two dining rooms, the cafe and the fine dining side.  as we were being seated i asked the hostess if we would be able to order off the main menu, and that's when she informed us that we would have to sit in the fine dining room but could still order from the dine l.a. menu as well.  i didn't want to be a pain, so we sat where she had originally intended for us...in the cafe.  i will say this, the decor is still great, the half moon booths all connected into a cool serpentine shape and though we were sitting right next to the other tables, we still had plenty of privacy. 

our menu selections...

honestly, for $44...i felt like it was a really good deal for three courses.  especially in a fine dining establishment.

some warm rosemary foccacia bread...

jason was wanting some olive oil to dip it in, while i on the other hand wanted...BUTTER!  kerri and justin were so good and just ate it as is, so we did the same.  it was soft in the center but had the nice little crunch on the top of the bread...and yes...well seasoned.  but i did want a little more creamy, buttery goodness with my foccacia.  i think i will ask for it next time i eat there. 

tortilla soup...

poured table side with a slice of avocado, cherry tomato, sprig of cilantro, cotija cheese, crispy tortilla strips and lime.  i had one delicious spoonful, but it was flavorful, the little crumbles of cotija and crispy tortillas added the different textures...i had a bit of avocado, which could've been a bit more ripe which would've brought in an additional creamy texture.  the cilantro sprig was so fragrant and just added an extra herbal element to this soup.  there was also a nice amount of spice, without being overpowering.  i actually wished i had ordered my own bowl...but knew i would get too full...that mouthful was really nice...well seasoned.  thank you.

romaine, goat cheese, ginger dressing...

with what i believe is giant brioche croutons (at least that's what it tasted like to me), diced tomates and pickled daikon.  i only had a bite of this, but i could really taste the ginger dressing...i was too focused on my hamachi.  sorry!

pan roasted scallops, caper raisin puree, cauliflower beignet...

i love scallops and actually contemplated between getting this and the hamachi, but when i read that it had raisins in it, i went for the hamachi.  (i do not have a fondness for raisins like i did when i was a child, i'm not sure why)  i think i actually enjoyed this more than my hamachi because of the different flavor profiles that i would never have thought to put together.  in this dish, it was the raisin and caper puree (the dark looking blob).  you get the tart brineyness from the capers and then the raisins bring in a sweetness that mellows out the tartness, but never truly competing with it, there was a nice balance between the two.  seriously, i never would've have thought to put those two together, but it worked...it was unique and captured the attention of my palette.    there is also a cauliflower puree (behind at the top right), which was so simple but was just bursting with cauliflower flavor...i really enjoyed the combination with the perfectly seared and cooked scallops.  well done.  i didn't try the cauliflower biegnets, but justin and kerri said it was good.   i would get this dish in the future if i have the opportunity again.

hamachi carpaccio, scallions, toasted almonds, citrus vinaigrette...

i thought it was an interesting presentation of the dish...a thin slice of the entire fish draped in all its condiments...along with the aforementioned, it also had minced chives and pickled ginger.  i liked the used of the toasted almonds, bringing in that crunch factor and of course, i love that nuttiness enhanced from being toasted.  the chives were nice because they still give you that little hit of oniony flavor without being overpowering as scallion sometimes can do.  especially in just a light dish like this.  i wished that i had a bit more of the citrus vinaigrette, i felt it still needed a bit more of the acid, plus it was a bit "dry" to me.  in what sense was it dry?  well, it looked like the fish had been cut earlier and was sitting out a bit...so it had that dry look to it along with the texture being a little chewy.  but i will say, the pickled ginger really gave this dish that extra umph it needed in combination with all the other ingredients to pull all the flavors together.  ultimately i did enjoy the dish even with my desire to make a few minor changes...and in the end i broke down and added a wee bit of salt...and it was soooo good!  all the flavors just popped that much more in my mouth. 
king crab beignets (the two little golden balls), pickled ginger and minced chives.

pork chop, pomme puree, roasted onions, thyme sauce...

ok...i could already see it when the plate came out...the meat was overcooked.  it looked shrunken and tough, so unfortunate!  highlight of this dish?  the sauce, i ate one bite of everything in combination which was really lovely in flavor.  there was a sweetness in the sauce and the potato puree was simple but well made.  nice combination...but bad excecution on the cooking on the pork.  too bad.

pacific black cod, sake miso marinade...

with pan fried tofu, hidden underneath the baby bok choy), carrot puree and royal trumpet mushroom stems.  the carrot puree had a hint of licorice and i wondered if there was a bit of fennel in there.  it took forever to figure out the royal trumpet mushroom stems.  it was chewy and "fleshy" (per jason's interpretation) which i would say is pretty accurate, and i just couldn't figure out what it was...after asking our waiter, who then consulted another waiter, and then finally both of them asked the chefs, we were informed it was the royal trumpet mushroom stems.  interesting texture, chewy as i mentioned earlier.  it didn't have a whole lot of flavor...except for the aroma it picked up from sitting on top of the fried tofu.  the tofu itself was cooked too long and seemed to have sat for an extended period of time so the outside skin was kind of chewy.  i did not care for the tofu at all and stopped after my first bite.  the baby bok choy was slightly over cooked so it was on the soft side. 

let's talk about what i absolutely loved about this dish.  black cod is one of my all time favorite fish...and this was also one of the reasons why i wanted to eat here after i saw the menu.  though it was marinated in sake, it was so delicate in flavor (sake), not at all overpowering like some places have a tendency to do.  do you know what i mean when i say overpowering?  well, sometimes i feel like some places marinate the fish for such a long time that it actually has a "burn" to it when you eat it, the burn of alcohol.  this didn't have any of that.  i want you all to know, this was by the far, THE best cooked piece of fish i have ever had in my entire life.  it was beyond moist and tender!  when you flaked the fish, it was so moist, even juicy for a lack of a better word, that some of the flakes would actually just slide off of each other!  are you imagining what i'm describing?!  have you ever seen flakes of fish just slide off another flake?!  if you said yes, good for you.  i haven't...so i was pretty amazed.  i could eat this fish everyday!  well...no, that's a lie, i love eating meat way too much.  but seriously, since i don't eat fish that often, i could do this at least two or three times a week...easy!  what's so crazy is that, it was so perfectly seasoned, it did not need anything...i could eat it just as is.  but the carrot puree was a sweet and licoricey compliment to that succulent, tender fish.  thank you gordon ramsay and thank you to the chef who prepared the fish...bravo!!!  (clapping hands)  it was such a pleasure to eat.  omg...incredible. 

blueberry cheesecake, dulce de leche sauce...

there was a thin vanilla gel/glaze on top of the cheesecake so when you looked at it closely, you could see all the little flecks of vanilla sitting so prettily on top.  i loved the pop of the fresh blueberries in my mouth.  the little bit of juice from the berry was a nice way to balance out the rich, creamy texture of the cheesecake.  the crust itself did have a hint of burntness to it...which you all know, i am not crazy about...but overall, it was light and delicious, and that one mouthful i had was nice. 

crisp thin apple tart, fennel ice cream...

i had one bite of this dessert, but that single bite had so much flavor...you could taste the cinnamon and nutmeg on the apples, a crisp flaky tart dough.  when i tried the fennel ice cream, i really couldn't taste the fennel at all...i think the spices on the apples really dominated my tastebuds and didn't allow the fennel to come through. 

chocolate fondant, caramel sauce...

with a baby scoop of vanilla bean ice cream...i swear, there is never enough ice cream!

i want you to see the inside of this dessert.

see that melted yumminess inside this coffee cup?!  the flavor of the caramel really starts to come through as you keep eating this all the way down to the bottom of the cup.  i don't know why i didn't taste it in the beginning or even in the middle of this dessert...but the closer to the bottom i got, each spoonful tasted stronger of caramel...perhaps it had sunk down there, i'm not quite sure, but i totally enjoyed its buttery caramel mixed with the chocolate fondant.  actually, the more i think about it, i think it was a liquid caramel that was just at the bottom of the cup.  anyhow, i'd have to ask the pastry chef next time...this is a staple on their menu.  so you can come and try this for yourself!  and honestly, you should.  forget coffee...this is sooooooo much better!  one cup of chocolate/caramel heaven to go please! 

ok back to the review, each sweet bite was balanced out with a little bite of the vanilla ice cream.  i just have to tell you, i will never...NEVER get tired of eating a chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream combination.  its so simple...but always so perfect together...and of course in this case...the addition of the caramel was so delightful!  i was already stuffed when dessert came, but i could not stop eating this dessert.  i would get this again and again and again. 

so, i have to say, i was NOT disappointed in my dining experience at Gordon Ramsay's.  though i will not say this was the most earth shattering fine dining meal i have ever had, but there were some key elements that made this phenomenal.  some dishes were obviously better than others, but the overall meal was a success!  loved the creativity in the food/flavors, the fish was AMAZING which i think is really the driving force behind why i enjoyed my whole experience that much more.  the dessert was damn good too!  terrific service, the waiters were extremely polite and i couldn't have asked for more.  this meal reminded me of how much i love fine dining and truly how much i appreciate the effort that these chefs put into making food so beautiful and enjoyable.  i would like to return and eat in the fine dining room one day.  lastly, the best part of the entire evening was of course the company!! (really, the fish is up there though too...sorry guys)

until my next meal!  happy eating to you all and i hope you have a terrific weekend!


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