By Jill Weinlein, 2/14/2013
Executive Chef Micah Fields is an expert at risotto. When a group and I dined together during dineLA week at 24/7 at The Standard Hotel in downtown, we each raved about the perfectly cooked al dente rice mixed with savory pumpkin and fresh sage with a sprinkle of parmesan.
Growing up in Los Angeles and graduating from Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, his risotto is as good or better than the dishes I’ve tasted in Florence or Rome.
Food is important to this extremely talented chef. Sage must be one of his favorite herbs, as he uses it often and named one of his twin daughters Sage. Her sister is named Saffron.
During our two-hour dinner, a parade of food was delivered to our table with wines poured by General Manager, Tyler Brandenburg, to enhance each dish.
Starters included a salmon sashimi resting on wasabi avocado cream with a delightful sriracha soy foam. Sriracha is a Thai-style hot sauce that gives raw fish tangy and sweet flavors with a touch of heat. The sprinkling of sesame seeds, gives this appetizer delightful texture. It pairs nicely with a flute of Domaine Chandon Brut from Carneros.
Many raved about Chef Micah’s braised beef tongue with a green goddess dressing and sprigs of radishes. Marcona almonds decorated this appetizer. A nice glass of Chalone Vineyards Merlot from Monterrey amplifies this dish. I’ve always felt that the movie “Sideways” gave Merlot wine a bum rap. It’s my favorite red wine to drink.
Each entrée is a roller coaster of sensations. The ahi and charred uni were dressed with a citrus vinaigrette. They were paired with a crisp Australian Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc. With hints of pear and minerals, Tyler remarked that it’s his favorite wine.
When the roasted baby chicken appeared with crispy frites, I remarked that the creamy mustard herb sauce elevated the dish to a new level. This entrée went nicely with a glass of New Zealand Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir. The essence of clove and subtle berries offered nice notes.
The extraordinary risotto was accompanied with a taste of Chardonnay from the sustainable winery Orogeny from the Russian River. It offered a creamy taste, with not a lot of oak.
Chef Micah’s desserts were beyond traditional. The rhubarb and plum cobbler was crowned with a scoop of heavenly lavender gelato.
His bacon waffle has bits of applewood bacon inside. It’s finished off with a generous scoop of the chocolate gelato with a sprinkling of chopped bacon on top.
After dinner, a group decided to play a few games of ping-pong at SPIN. The escalator delivers guests to a hip and new table tennis social club. One of the owners is actress Susan Sarandon. She helped open the SPIN, NYC club and decided to open this one at The Standard downtown.
It’s a membership club for people who love to watch and play ping-pong. Many young professionals come here to meet new people, drink beer, wine and creative cocktails, while nibbling on Chef Micah’s small plates. It’s a cool place to mingle and hang out while getting a physical and mental workout. The club stays open until 2 a.m.
Micha’s 24/7 restaurant is open Mon. through Sun. 12 a.m. to 12 a.m. $$ There is valet parking 550 S. Flower St. (213)439-3065.