dineLA: First & Hope
I found myself back at First & Hope twice in the same week. First I was there for happy hour before going to Il Postino at LA Opera (which was quite good). Then I was back for dinner before the opening night of Leap of Faith at the Ahmanson (good show, silly dancing but somewhat unmemorable songs– though GREAT singers).
I hadn’t planned on doing dineLA at First & Hope but we decided to despite the strange service. Both the bartender and server apologized profusely. There was some unexpected staffing issue. As it turned out, we really didn’t have enough time to fully enjoy the dineLA meal. We ended up taking the dessert to go so no pictures of the items.
To be honest, I’ve grown increasingly disenchanted with dineLA menus. Too many restaurants do jidori chicken and hangar steak (or short ribs) for their menus. Not very many seem to take on the challenge to create an interesting menu to get customers to come back for the regular menu. We decided to do the dineLA menu because it was really interesting. And knowing there was a new chef, I was curious to see what Chef Joseph Panarello really can do.
For the appetizers we had a choice of the fall vegetable carpaccio, mac and cheese and fried green tomato salad. We got the fried green tomato salad and the mac. The salad was really good. The green tomatoes weren’t greasy and we easily demolished it. The mac and cheese with housemade ricotta wasn’t really a mac and cheese to me. It was more like a pasta tossed with the ricotta. It was fine if you thought of it as pasta but if you want a baked mac, this wasn’t as good as the mac and cheese I had earlier in the week. Still, it was rich, creamy and quite nice.
First and Hope offered the Holiday Ham steak, The Georgia Duck Hunt and Campire Trout with spaghetti squash hash as the entrees. Hurrah, no jidori chicken in sight! Although I love ham, I was more into the duck and trout options. Since we were sharing, I got to try both. The duck had an almost Indian spice flavor profile with the cumin. We agreed the trout was our favorite with the perfectly cooked fish. I was really into the spaghetti squash hash which was very flavorful.
As I mentioned, we ran out of time and had to run off with our dessert. We choose sticky toffee pudding and the buttermilk panna cotta which came in a short glass that they ended up giving us. Unfortunately, all our running about tipped over the glass and it leaked. I did managed to taste a bit of it. I really liked the minted pear compote in it. And I enjoyed a couple of bites of the sticky toffee pudding a few days later. It stood up to the fridge test. It hadn’t hardened and was very rich.
Overall, it was an enjoyable dineLA meal. I only recommend plenty of time to enjoy it.
Special thanks to bartender Naomi who served us some delicious punch this evening.
710 W 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90012-2442