Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dinner at Industriel

So what do you get when you strip a Carl's Jr. down to the concrete and infuse it with rustic accents and a honey bear art piece? Apparently, you get Industriel. The space is beautiful, if a bit quirky. But overall, a huge improvement from the previous tenant. We got to see most of the downstairs since we arrived just in time for happy hour in the foyer (4-6pm) and then followed that with a full meal in the dining room. We did not venture upstairs to the bar since you can't get happy hour up there. (Don't ask me why.) Based on happy hour and dinner, I was satisfied with the experience but maybe not enough to rush back.

The service was great, some of the best I've had in LA. The staff is friendly, available, and full of suggestions. But I have to take away points for not actually loving our waitress's suggestions. To start my boyfriend got the octopus and I got the emmer farro salad, both on her recommendations. The salad was not bad, but I felt a tinge of regret in not getting one of the others I was considering. The octopus, though, was a weird texture and, I think, too heavily seasoned. We expected it to be chewy, and it wasn't. Perhaps smoking the octopus removes its chewy texture? But if so, I don't think it's for me. We also started with the kumiai oysters with carrots and a cardamom mignonette. They sounded great, and the oysters themselves were plump and delicious. But I ended up wishing that the carrots had been on my salad and the oysters had been by themselves. I'm just not sure the flavors added to each other.

But there were some great things at Industriel. Another waiter recommended the pelmini, a homemade ravioli stuffed with rabbit and covered with shiitakes and pearl onions, so we got one to split. This recommendation was dead on. So creamy and flavorful and rich and comforting! Everything I would want from a French dish (even though it is apparently based on a Russian recipe). And no fault could be found with the salted caramel pretzel crusted chocolate tart we got for dessert. We were both scraping the plate hoping to get the last of the melted tonka bean ice cream. (I don't even know what a tonka bean is, but I now know I love it in ice cream form.) So overall, Industriel has a lot going for it. The service is good, some of the dishes are amazing, and there is an experimental spirit. Hopefully as it grows, it will create an interesting menu where the flavors in every dish work well.

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