dineLA lunch at Cafe Pinot & The Mystery of Chicken Oysters

fried chicken oysters

It’s that time of year again. As part of my whirlwind tour of dineLA restaurants around town, I landed at Cafe Pinot for lunch.

What are chicken oysters, you might ask? Apparently it’s a nub of meat near chicken thighs. When I saw Cafe Pinot was offering fried chicken oysters as part of their dineLA menu, I was intrigued but didn’t know exactly what it was. The word “oysters” made me think of some other kinds of oysters. But happily it wasn’t those er, delicate parts.

There’s something about fried chicken that’s always good but eating the fried chicken oysters made the adventurous foodie in me very happy.

lobster bisque

tuna tonnato

The other choices are the lobster bisque and tuna tonnato for the first course. The lobster bisque was a work of art. It was almost too pretty to disrupt the Jackson Pollack-looking surface.

And the tuna was very fresh. I liked the capers and aioli it was served with.

flat iron steak

The steak looked so prominent and was quite perfect for the business lunch crowd at Cafe Pinot. It was jazzed up with candied Moroccan olives and a vadouvan goat cheese mousse. It was perfectly cooked at medium rare.

Japanese Hokkaido scallops

I chose the Japanese Hokkaido scallops. And like classic Japanese block prints, this was a work of art. The thinly shaved mushrooms, the sprinkle of spice, the garlic veloute worked wonderfully with the delicate scallops.

The other choice is the carrot braised pork. We were told it is a shredded pork with lentils and a ginger emulsion.

creme fraiche panna cotta

red currant brioche bread pudding

For dessert, I nabbed the red currant brioche bread pudding. The pudding was very light and flaky and came with vanilla whipped creme fraiche. I liked that it came with salted caramel as well. I also had a taste of the creme fraiche panna cotta. Loved the thinly sliced crab apples on top.

The other dessert choice is ricotta fritters which sounded awesome with a tangerine sauce. The ricotta is even house made.

I was trying to decide which was the best seat at Cafe Pinot. The patio overlooks the Central Library and you see all walks of life. There is another outdoors patio that is more intimate off to the side. It’s almost like a balcony and seemed really romantic and secluded.

Cafe Pinot hasn’t announced their new executive chef yet but if you go for dineLA or any other time, you just might see a certain quirky mustachioed chef. He comes from a fine dining background and it really shows in the artistry of the plating and elegance of the food.

Cafe Pinot

700 West 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 239-6500

** previous Cafe Pinot meal