Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tako Taco – Lunch @ Tres by Jose Andrés

The majority of the lunch menu at Tres by Jose Andrés is predictably underwhelming – burgers with brioche buns, grilled chicken, overly salted lentil soup garnished with a burnt Serrano ham chip (hated it), and a smattering of salads. (*yawn...) The octopus "tacos" on the appetizer menu, however, are something else entirely. They're the reason why you go to lunch at Tres.

Assembled with organic Bibb lettuce instead of tortillas, these wraps are quite satisfying. The greens and concassé (read: skins removed) baby heirloom tomatoes were light and refreshing. The lime wedges on the side allowed us to drizzle more acid on the perfectly cooked octopus tentacles.
While biting into the "tako" (as they say in Japanese), I instantly noticed that there were no tough parts. It was all perfectly cooked! No overly chewy bits that eventually wind up stuck between your teeth. Just pure octopus meat, far tastier than nature ever intended. I thought to myself, "They must sous vide the tentacles first, then finish them on the grill." Because yes, there it was, the faintest little grill marks and a hint of char. It was so good that that 5 days later, I'm still thinking of it. Although there is just one thing I'd change... the name. Instead of calling them octopus tacos, let's refer to them as "Tako Tacos." The rest is perfection on a sunny Southern California afternoon.

Posted below are a few snapshots of Tres by Jose Andrés and the Beverly Hills SLS Hotel. Enjoy!

Loving the Oasis-look: soothing cabana feel when you walk through the SLS Beverly Hills entrance

Decor is hunter-hipster chic. Read: tasteful taxidermy and odd knick-knacks.

At night Tres transforms into the hotel's lounge. 
The long communal tables are perfect for strangers to sidle up next to one another. 
During the afternoon, it's pretty dead though. Which might be more to your liking, especially if you're setting up an incognito meeting with that special someone.

Oh, the burger... It was big. The bun was fluffy. But, everything else was boring. 
Also, I didn't like that they already mustarded my bun.  
And the stray napkin beneath just seemed out of place. 

Table trend of the moment: Mini fryer baskets
As seen at Hubert Keller's Fleur in Las Vegas and now, here, at Tres by Jose Andres
Point to Tres: the Ketchup was good. I mean, really, good – either it was homemade or Sir Kensington's Gourmet Scooping Ketchup. Now, there's a nice touch!

The chocolate cake is not really cake at all, but a rich chocolate mousse. The print on the thin pieces of chocolate were a beautiful touch. It gave the plate movement and went nicely with the garnishes.
We loved the little stuff – the cookie crumble and rice crispy chocolate balls were the hits of the plate!

Forgettable flan. 
As Daniel (the flan/custard/creme brûlée expert) puts it, "Well, there's a lot of bad flan out there." 

I love this knife! The picture doesn't do justice to its cuteness. 
And as a parting note, a few words from Weezer: "It's Beverly Hills! And, that's where I want to be! Gimme! Gimme!" Tako Taco! Til we eat again.

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