Otium.

A2 Rating Scale (out of 5):

Ambiance: fork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-white
Food & Drink: fork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-white
Service: fork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-white
Likeliness to Return: fork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-white

 

THE BASICS:

WHAT:  New American cuisine.

WHO:  Chef Hollingsworth; previous chef de cuisine at French Laundry in Napa Valley (only one of the most celebrated restaurants ever).

WHERE:  The Broad museum complex in DTLA.

WHEN:  Closed on Mondays.  Lunch (Tues-Fri; 11:30AM-3PM), Dinner (Sun-Wed; 5:30-10PM & Thurs-Sat; 5:30-11PM) and Weekend Brunch (Sat & Sun; 10:30AM-2:30PM).

 

THE DISH:

WHAT TO ORDER:  It was the last day of the weekend; our last chance to have a cocktail before the dreaded work week begins, so we did just that.  We ordered the Swizzle ($14) with kiwifruit, London dry gin, yellow chartreuse, dry vermouth and we were glad we did—refreshing, not too sweet and easy to take down at 10:30AM.  The Hamachi ($15) with nori, avocado, sweet and sour tomatoes came next… and then devoured within minutes.  Raw fish for breakfast, you may ponder? Well, why the hell not and we heard the raw entrees are standouts here.  The Avocado Toast ($12) was more unique than other variations around town with zaatar, labne and aleppo.  The lebne, aka their version of Greek yogurt, splattered on top was a favorite touch.  Then the Wood Oven Hash ($19) with sausage, potatoes, greens, fried eggs and spicy crème fraiche was the most filling and egg-tastic dish, necessary for any SundayBrunch (capitalized because it’s practically a national holiday in ‘Merica).

WHAT TO SKIP:  Nothing we tried at least.  Some of the plates are optimistically playful though—can Funnel Cake ($26) with foie gras, strawberry, fennel, balsamic really that taste good?  The idea and ingredients individually I’m feeling, but all together?  I’d like to have my mind blown, but it better be a sure thing for that price.

THAT SCENE THOUGH:  Walking in left me in “awe” (and you know how jaded we are after a year in this biz).  Minimalistic, yet embellished throughout.  Spacious and airy, yet roughly 250 seats.  Industrial-chic with both feminine and masculine notes.  Wait- did I just walk into an art exhibition?

WHERE TO SIT:  Depends on the party you’re with and what kind of time you’re looking to have; there are many different options to suit a variety of scenarios.  Inside, outside, communal booze bar/raw bar, lounge, formal dining and even practically in the open kitchen.

WHAT TO WEAR:  Because some will be going to the opera after and others to stand in line for The Broad for 3.5 hours (PS don’t wing it, reserve a ticket)… just about anything goes for this locality.

WHO YOU’LL SEE:  With museums all around, the Walt Disney Concert Hall next door, and The Ahmanson Theatre and Downtown Judicial District a couple blocks away; you will see all types of folk, from all over the world.

WHERE TO PARK:  Valet ($8) available on S. Grand Ave between 2nd and 3rd streets OR one of the many parking structures, either under or across the streets.  And you should probably bring cash to be safe.

YOU CALL THAT SERVICE:  The service was extremely “meh”.  Luckily you have us to help navigate your experience because unfortunately the people there didn’t seem to want to help.  We appreciate you giving us space, but when we ask questions and for suggestions, we would like some answers.  And when we ask for water the minute we sit down, we would like it before our last dish arrives to the table.  Also, assuming they put a rush on our food order because we told them we had a play to catch in 2 hours, and all our food was out in, no joke, 7 minutes (wayyyy before the water we first asked for and the show starting in 1.5 hours).  Because the nature of the area they are probably used to getting people in and out, so if you’re not in a hurry, I would suggest telling them, so they take time spacing out your courses.  On the contrary, if you’re in a hurry, also tell them because they are good at that.  Planning to ask that one to be exclusive (good date) VS dumping them later that night (bad date)— let them know accordingly so you can have as much or as little time as necessary.

MAKE A DAY OF IT:  You’ve already committed to driving Downtown – make the most of it!!  There is so much to see and do, so park for the day and either walk or uber/lyft around town.  Some DTLA ideas:  The Broad, MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), Walt Disney Concert Hall, L.A. Live, Grand Central Market, Olvera Street, Union Station, Grammy Museum, Original LA Flower Mart… anything else we should add to the list for the next times?!

BUT WE DON’T HAVE ALLLL DAY:  No problemo!  Otium On The Go is located near the museum exit and open Tues-Sun; 10AM-4PM.  Grab a latte or pastry and enjoy it in the Modernist pavilion where people are lounging on the lawn and talking intellectual things (that I, most of the time, pretend to understand).

EDDR LIFE LESSON:  Expand your horizons.  Take an art class.  See a play.  Eat something you’ve never tried before.  You might surprise yourself and actually enjoy it!  And then, just like that, you’ve got another “interest” to add to your online dating profile.

A2 FINAL THOUGHT:  Art isn’t only at the neighboring Broad or across the street at MOCA; it is here, at Otium, in edible form.  Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Andy Warhol and now, BOOM, Chef Timothy Hollingsworth.   We didn’t get to try all that we wanted to (I mean it was early and we’re only human), but after  intensely evaluating the insta and reading A LOT about what has been named “One of L.A.’s most ambitious restaurants in years” by The Jonathon Gold; we must go back and experience more.  And on your way to the car pick up some street churros for dessert and/or later on—you won’t regret it.

I forgot how much I loved kiwis (if you haven’t tried one in a while; do it!),

Alex

Otium ↔ 222 S. Hope St, LA, CA 90012 ↔ 213-935-8500

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