Last weekend, the Boy and I joined my mother downtown to see Fun Home at the Ahmanson (it was great – highly recommend!). We went down a little early to take photos for our weekly photo challenge, then met Mom at Otium near the Broad Museum for an early pre-theater dinner.
We got there around 5:00, before dinner actually started at 5:30 (the show was at 6:00) but decided to hang out, order some cocktails (including the Bartender’s Choice, pictured above, which was a yummy citrusy mezcal concoction based on my request for something refreshing with mezcal), and fill up on their “Snacks” menu until dinner started.
The “Snacks” were mostly just some of the smaller-portion items from their regular menu – none of your meager dishes of bar nuts or olives here. We started with the Albacore, which was sort of ceviched with pineapple, pine nuts, and Thai vinaigrette and served with lettuce cups. It was fresh and tangy and very flavorful.
Next up – the Falafel, with semi-pickled eggplant, cucumber, meyer lemon, and chickpea, along with a spicy dipping accompaniment (perhaps more chickpea?). Another winner – tender, moist falafel and a delicious, fresh flavor palate.
We couldn’t resist the Crispy Potatoes, Otium’s version (to my mind) of more typical must-order-to-share French Fries – crispy little whole potatoes with lemon salt, aleppo pepper, and creme fraiche for dipping.
By now, dinner had started, so we supplemented our snacks with some dishes from the full menu. First up? Bunuelos, crispy little cheese ball pastries (I mean, YUM) with trout roe , whipped lardon, and spring onion – crispy and salty and YES.
We ordered the Raviolo (yes, singular), egg-yolk filled and served with stinging nettle, oxtail, and short rib. Mom wasn’t a huge fan, since she’s not into egg yolk, but I found the raviolo itself quite wonderful – gooey and tender in all the right ways. I’m not sure I’m super into stinging nettle though?
The final dish of the night was Funnel Cake – ordered because (1) I can’t not order funnel cake and (2) I can’t not order foie gras, and the funnel cake was topped with foie gras, beet, fennel, and chamoy. This is also a good time to point out that not only was every single thing we were served delicious, but also drop dead gorgeous.
You’ll have to head over to The Boozy Newsie in a couple of days to get the real lowdown on the drinks (from left to right: Saffron Lemonade, Charred Maple, and Milk Punch), but they were as impressive and lovely as the food.
The final verdict? Otium is awesome. I will say the first time we went, we sat inside (high ceilings, luxurious modern) and did find it a bit loud, though this time we avoided that with a patio table. Loud or not, however, the food is worth the visit – it tastes as good as it looks.
222 South Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012