The Restaurant at the J. Paul Getty Museum
April 22, 2012 2 Comments
There are a lot of reasons the Getty is so popular in L.A. Beautiful architecture framing gorgeous views of the city, interesting art exhibitions, and relaxing gardens, all for free (or $15 if you drive there and park) makes a museum-going experience that is fun and enjoyable for casual museum-goers and families.
Currently, there is a great exhibition called L.A. Style on the late Herb Ritts’ black and white photography. The exhibition is quite large, one could easily spend a good hour at least looking at some truly iconic shots of famous celebrities and oiled athletes. After I spent a few hours wandering around the galleries and examining the Ritts show, I headed over to The Restaurant for lunch and tried their three course tasting menu inspired by Los Angeles and the Getty’s recent, L.A. focused programming.
The Restaurant is very vibrant, high-energy place. Reservations are probably a good idea, because when I went there for lunch on a Tuesday, several people were waiting outside the restaurant and the entire dining space was filled.
Though a little cheesy, I appreciated the film treatment to the paper.
A table by the window is definitely a plus to the dining experience. As I waited for my food, I enjoyed the sun and bright white walls; the views of Los Angeles are definitely a highlight.
First came the bread. Pretty generic selection, and thankfully (unlike some fine dining establishments) the bread came warm. The French-type roll and the crackers were alright, while the garlic-chive roll was divine.
The first course is a pork belly “tostada” with smoked mozzarella, caramelized onions, tart apple, and mustard jus. The mozzarella wasn’t all that smoky, but the caramelized onions (which make everything edible immediately better) were nice and prominent. I think the tart apple wasn’t wholly necessary to the dish, though perhaps something like a light celery root salad or a kind of slaw could have complemented the fattiness of the pork belly better. While the jus and the pork belly tasted great and were cooked well, the “tostada” part was an uninspiring round of pre-made pastry dough and probably could have been elevated more.
Course two is squid ink and sweet potato ravioli with black Tuscan kale, mascarpone, pine nuts, brown butter, wild mushrooms, and almond essence. I couldn’t really taste the almond essence, which is okay because the dish was perfect the way it tasted. This dish was definitely the most successful of the three courses. The squid ink and sweet potato were well-matched and though everything was definitely drenched in brown butter, the portion-size prevented it from being too overwhelming. I think I might have also preferred a more traditional ravioli, with more exterior dough to soak up the butter and squid ink. Still, this was very tasty.
The dessert course, called Black and White, was probably the least inspired. While the combination of chocolate and vanilla is always welcome to my stomach, I didn’t get a sense that the ice creams were any better than what I can scoop out of a carton of Dreyer’s. Even worse, the black and white “shortbread cookies” were like sandy, underbaked cardboard. Too bad. I love dessert and look forward to it whenever I eat, so hopefully there are ordinarily better options at The Restaurant.
The tasting menu was $34 excluding tax and tip. Service-wise, I have no complaints. I was seated right when I came to check-in for my reservation and my waiter was very attentive. My water glass was always full and plates and silverware were all taken care of promptly and kindly.
While the Restaurant clearly has a monopoly on the fine dining at the J. Paul Getty Museum, it serves mostly tasty food and has a delightful atmosphere.
For reservations, call (310) 440-6810 or use OpenTable.