Test Kitchen: Neal Fraser

whiskey punch & silver fox mixed by Brian Summers

After going to six different Test Kitchen nights in September, almost the entire month of October flew by and I realized I hadn’t gone in yet. Oh sure, I’ve been busy eating everywhere and had a short trip to Chicago. I have reservations in November and decided I just wasn’t going to make it.

Then Blackboard Eats invited me last week for Neal Fraser‘s night at Test Kitchen. I accepted and had a wonderful time with a dear friend. We also sat with a couple of other ladies including Julie of Bad Home Cooking. We opted to go with the crispy pig ears while we were waiting for our sumptuous food.

We went in early to have drinks at the bar. There were two featured cocktails that evening including a whiskey punch and the Silver Fox. I liked both though the whiskey punch was probably more popular as evidenced by the three glasses of it behind my shot.

Steelhead Tartare

Our five course tasting also came with a glass of wine if you had a Blackboard Eats code. And since we were rolling with the BBE team, of course we got our glasses of wine.

The first course was the Steelhead Tartare that included a chive blini, smoked trout caviar and both horseradish and creme fraiche. It was surprisingly not as rich as you would think but I think the caviar helped cut that richness.


kobocha squash & roasted chestnut soup


I was pretty excited by this kobocha squash and roasted chestnut soup. Finally, an Autumnal squash soup that wasn’t butternut (though I still love butternut). And this one was hearty one with meaty bacon and a touch of saba (the forerunner of balsamic vinegar).

wild striped bass

I can’t decide if my favorite dish of the night was this wild-striped bass or the following quail. The bass had farro verde, baby artichokes (excellent) and basil mint nage.

wood oven roasted Sonoma quail

The quail was astoundingly plump. Stuffed with a cherry rosemary stuffing and cocoa nib gastric, it was a tad bit bitter. Our table actually would have preferred it without the stuffing.

vodka with peach & south park by Julian Cox

My friend K and I had ordered a couple of Dealer’s choice cocktails and she requested vodka with peach. Mixologist Julian served her up a heady cocktail while I kept my simple. I wanted bourbon. He sent out a perfectly crafted, coffee-tasting cocktail he called the South Park. I neglected to ask him if it was so named because Rivera where he is the Beverage Director, is in the South Park district of Downtown LA or possibly some other reason.

Valrhona gianduja chocolate tart

Talk about a generous portion of dessert! This chocolate went great with the salted caramel ice cream. It was garnished with a candied rose petal. Very pretty!

I really can’t wait for Grace to re-open in Downtown.

Thanks to Blackboard Eats for a wonderful night.


Test Kitchen
9575 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035

Reservations online only.


Read about my other Test Kitchen nights:

Test Kitchen: Red Medicine

Test Kitchen: Ricardo Zarate’s Cebiche Night

Test Kitchen: TiGeorges

Test Kitchen: Starry Kitchen

Test Kitchen: The Sous Chefs Team

Test Kitchen: Chicks with Knives