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AOC, It's Easy As 1 2 3

This will be an easy review.  Dinner was perfect.  The end.

OK, you Deserve more than that and so does AOC.  After all, it's not the end.  It's a new beginning for AOC which moved this year from its former location on Third Street near Crescent Heights to its new location on Third Street west of La Cienega in the original Orso-turned-Il-Covo spot.  I've had three visits there since they moved, two for Dinner and one for lunch.  

Restauranteur Suzanne Goin keeps reproving her excellence in cuisine and business with intelligence and creativity.  She is partnered with sommelier Caroline Styne at AOC, Lucques and Tavern and with her husband David Lentz at The Hungry Cat.  All four restaurants are very Different and all are winners in their own styles, visually and gastronomically.  AOC continues to be my favorite of the group, partially because it's the nearest to where I live, but mostly because of the inverse.  I live in this neighborhood because it hosts cool indie places for shopping, Dining and living. Like most restaurants, AOC caters to its nearest residents.  Neither too mellow nor too Deafening, the vibe attracts young hip and (is there any right way to say "older?") more mature Diners.  The new AOC took aspects from its original location including the prominence of the bar and a commitment to fine cheeses.  What it was able to add was outside space.  Well-utilizing one of LA's premiere Dining patios is an extremely inviting element. 

On a recent Sunday Dinner, we were well taken care of by our server Ryan. From my former experiences, she is indicative of the well-prepared and friendly staff.  Los Angeles restaurants are sprouting as if there never were any economic problems. LA always Defies odds anyway but the restaurant scene exemplifies that we are indeed a city of Dreamers.  That said, if a server of a restaurant or staff in general feels unprepared or worse, arrogant, fat chance the Diner will be back.   Too many fabulous choices now.  Ryan was affable and indulgent but never overly solicitous. 

My friend and I ordered perfectly if we must say so ourselves!  Bacon-wrapped Dates with parmesan started us off.  Seems a little cheesy (no not the food kind of cheese) to keep everyone's favorite party hors d'oeuvre on a foodie menu, but truth told, they nailed it because of the, yes, cheese.  Everything is wrong about bacon-wrapped dates and everything is right.  Upped the mood before we even touched an item on The Farmer's Plate, a plate of fall vegetables with chickpea puree, muhammara, burrata and grilled toast. I'd urge this as a must for an AOC Dinner.  The perfectly blended pepper and walnut dip and the burrata along with the splendid selection of fall veggies signal that the meal ahead will be both fresh and flavorful.  (Do ask for a second piece of toast.)  Next up was the arugula, autumn grapes, acapella, pecans and saba salad.  The acapella is a goat's cheese that like the its namesake, the unaccompanied music, can stand alone.  The Balsamic-like syrup of the saba as well as the juicy ripe grapes added Delectable sweetness. Two more Dishes, the Spanish fried chicken and the pork confit with carmelized apples and braised red cabbage finished our main meal before we allowed ourselves the richest Dessert. If there were anything that we might have wanted that we Didn't get, it was more of the apple flavor with the pork confit.  Not a complaint but a note.  The taste and tenderness of the chicken outdid the pork marked by a wisely combined romesco aioli and chili-cumin butter.  We needed a savory dish since three of our menu items, not including our dessert, had raised our blood sugar.  

Speaking of blood sugar, though there's less connection than people think, we did have wine and a cocktail.  A sparkling Austrian rosé is one of those just-right-light beginnings.  It held up through the first few courses.  I couldn't resist the "pistolero" a cocktail of Alipus Mezcal, tequila, lemon, honey, arbol chile and ginger.  I'd suggest that a drink that Delicious might make AOC a good trip for an after-work Drink with or without Dinner. 

No, I didn't forget to tell you about Dessert.  In a larger group, do have more than one.  It killed me to settle on one but I might have needed Cedars-Sinai Hospital right across the street.  Do I even need to Describe the bittersweet chocolate torta with melted marcona nougat & sherry ice cream?  Don't the ingredients speak for themselves?  Let's just say that the nougat was a grown-up's melted marshmallow.  The torta has Density without Dryness and restrained sweetness, thankfully.

Did I say Dinner was perfect?  It was.  

AOC Wine Bar
8700 West 3rd Street 
Los Angeles, CA 90048