If you're looking for the ultimate in LA dining and hospitality, you have to visit Chaya downtown. And if you could go on a Sunday, even better. Chaya downtown is now offering the most amazing deal Sunday evenings with their Wine & Dine Sunday tasting menu that's not to be missed. Not only do you get 50% off all wine bottles, and they have a fantastic selection, but you also get a four-course tasting menu for just 27 dollars. Each Sunday, the tasting menu features a different fresh ingredient from the farmer's market, which is hand-selected by Executive Chef Atsushi Kenjo who personally goes to the farmer's market and carefully chooses the best fruits and vegetables to incorporate into his ever-changing menu.
The Sunday I went, the featured ingredient was market cauliflower, so Chef Kenjo created the spectacular four-course menu around the vegetable. For the first course, we enjoyed the Tricolor Pickled Cauliflower, a beautiful dish of bright purple, green, and yellow cauliflower topped with cauliflower mousseline, a delightful lemon zest that really perked up my taste buds, atop arugula, which made for the perfect accompaniment. This paired beautifully with the Bonterra organic Viognier that the manager Jarrod recommended. He really knows his wines, as does all the staff at Chaya, so definitely ask them for guidance if you need it.
Not only did we enjoy that for our first course. Chef Kenjo was gracious enough to extend the utmost "Chaya" hospitality as he calls it, and brought my guest and I a beautiful, tiered bansai box displaying four appetizers. This is something done by special request in true Chaya hospitality fashion. One of the other dishes was the 2nd course in the wine dinner tasting menu, the Cauliflower & Chicken Confit Spring Roll, which was absolutely delectable. It was served atop an exquisite lentil soup with curried coconut lobster sauce and kale...yum! We also got to enjoy the Lobster and Beef Tartare and the Tuna Tartare, which were all fantastic!
Next, Chef Kenjo brought us the soup du jour, keeping with the Franco-Japanese theme of the restaurant. On this day, it was the Oyster and Cauliflower Soup...wow! I had never had anything like it. Imagine fresh oysters swimming in a divine, creamy broth flavored with fresh cauliflower. My taste buds were really happy!
But they were about to get even happier with the 3rd course off the Wine & Dine Sunday menu, the Grilled Prime Flat Iron Steak with Fried Cauliflower & Potato Gnocchi. The steak was mouthwatering delicious with a cranberry port sauce on top, giving it a tinge of sweetness that just put it over the edge. I devoured this one. It was even more scrumptious paired with Jarrod's other excellent choice of wine, the Melville Pinot Noir. Just writing about this pairing is making me want to go back for more.
I thought the meal couldn't get any better until we got to the last course, dessert. We indulged in the most heavenly treat of Valrhona Chocolate Fudge & Poached Warren Pear with cauliflower foam on top, giving it a nice balance to the sweetness, and get this...it was all topped with candied bacon! That alone was divine enough, but all the flavors and textures together just made this dessert one of my all-time faves. We also enjoyed some delicious port wine to go along with it.
You definitely have to take advantage of this amazing Sunday deal. Guys, it's an excellent place to take your date without breaking your wallet, and you will make quite an impression! ;) The Wine & Dine Sunday menu is only at Chaya's downtown location at 525 S.Flower St. There is even free valet parking in the structure downstairs. Call 213-236-9577 to make a reservation. You can also visit their website at www.thechaya.com/downtown-la for more information. Bon appetit!