Food in LA: Orris

Almost two years ago, Gary took me to Orris, Chef Hideo Yamashiro’s west Los Angeles Japanese inspired small plates restaurant.  (Entry here)  On Friday evening, our visit to LA overlapped with a business trip by Tawn’s boss and her counterpart from Kuala Lumpur, both of whom I’ve met several times.  We had time enough to pick them up from their Century City hotel and take them to dinner at Orris before ferrying them to the airport for their return flights.

Here is what we had to eat:

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 Thinly sliced beets with Basque cheese and balsamic soy.

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Sauté of seasonal mixed mushrooms

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 Free range fried chicken with sweet and spicy yuzu sauce

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Basil marinated black cod with basil mashed potato

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Grilled Japanese eggplant with burrata and parmesan cheeses

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Lightly pan fried mixed seafood atop spring greens with lemon zest

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 Seared ahi tuna sashimi with sweet onion soy and avocado

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 Asparagus salad with tarragon dressing, pecans, and tomato

The dishes were all nicely prepared and enjoyable, although Tawn’s boss does not eat cheese so had to work around a few dishes.  I described this as a “Japanese inspired” small plates restaurant, and initially it can be hard to see what is meant by that.  As Tawn’s boss observed when the first dish (the beets) arrived, it doesn’t look very Japanese on the surface.

The inspiration comes more than anything from the principle that is common in Japanese food to keep preparations simple and the number of ingredients to a minimum, so that the freshness and quality of the main ingredients can shine through.  Using the beets as an example, you have really four ingredients – beets, cheese, a balsamic-soy dressing, and a little olive oil.  They go so well together and all serve to highlight the sweet richness of the beets.

Of all the dishes, I think the black cod may have been my favorite.  The fish was fully cooked but very moist and tender.  The marinade had highlighted the meatiness of the fish without overwhelming it.  The basil-tomato salsa on top echoed the marinade and the small serving of basil mashed potatoes underneath provide a pleasing starch to accompany the protein. 

As for desserts, there were four on the menu so we ordered the lot and shared.

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Fresh berry wonton with poached pear and yuzu custard.  This was the unanimous winner from all the desserts.  Interestingly, I had approached it with low expectations as the concept of a “berry wonton” seemed misguided.  It turned out to work very well.

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 Apple tart with Tahitian vanilla gelato and caramel sauce

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Fresh seasonal fruit with crème brûlée.  Unlike most crème brûlées the cream sauce was still soft and was not set to a firm texture.  Almost like crème Anglaise poured on top of fruit and briefly torched.

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Flourless Valrhona chocolate soufflé cake with coffee gelato.  Cake isn’t my favorite and this struck me as just another one, nice but not surprising.

The location on Sawtelle just north of Olympic is convenient and there is inexpensive parking behind the building.  Metered street parking is also available.  Reservations not accepted.

0 thoughts on “Food in LA: Orris

  1. What was your “food life” like when you were growing up in the U.S.? I can’t help but think how DIFFERENT (but delicious) these dishes look than what you might normally find in “mainstream” America. (Yes, I realize this was in L.A. so we obviously have “exotic” food in places, but… still.) Did you have to change tastes much, or was it a natural segue into that culture?

  2. Now I have to get ready for the day and look forward to dried out burgers, water logged corn on th cob, and some sort of pasta salad at the “staff appreciation” luncheon. I’m going for the frozen fruit bar first… they always run out and it will be in the 90s! Sigh. This food looks so tasty.

  3. looks great! i have to admit, the cod looks the best for the entrees, and i like the idea of the wonton for the dessert. those probably would have been my choices off them menu.@murisopsis – such signs of appreciation for the staff =P stay cool in that heat!  

  4. mouth…watering…require…sustenance…now.wonderful pics man, the food not only looked amazing but sounds amazing as well!0_omust remember not to come to your page so late at night. *eats my arm.

  5. wow i am droooooooooooooooooooling now! yeah now i gotta make myself good meal everyday after seeing these food porns 🙂

  6. Realized that there are several entries I wrote while on vacation in LA on which I have never responded to the comments. Sorry for the delay! This one was about dining at Orris restaurant in West LA.@Wangium –  Maybe a notch higher than that. It is nice food and worth a visit, but wasn’t an “OMG – Amazing!” experience.@kunhuo42 – @kunhuo42 – Black cod was definitely a highlight!@CurryPuffy – I think you HAVE tried them all, haven’t you? =D@lcfu – @AzrihaEatsWorld – @ElusiveWords – Warning: Food Porn Zone – do not enter when hungry.@Passionflwr86 – Fantastic question. When I lived in the US, I ate a wide range of types of food and was fortunate to live for the most part in places with huge diversity, culinarily speaking. While some things that I enjoyed in the US are harder to find here in Thailand, I’m still able to eat a wide variety of foods.

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