Studio City: Dinner at Raphael
Last summer, I checked out Raphael which had just opened. I mainly tasted cocktails and had a few small bites. When my best friend asked me where to go for her birthday, I immediately suggested Raphael. She then asked for more suggestions just in case. Later, she selected Raphael. I was looking forward to trying more of Chef Adam Horton’s menu.
I got there early so I had a Manhattan at the bar. I asked for bourbon but was actually given Jack Daniels which by definition is a Tennessee whiskey. At least the bartender Chris Parke didn’t shake it, one of my pet peeves. It was a boozy start to the evening. Later I had the Boulevardier and recommended the Aviation for my best friend.Both were a bit sweeter than I like but I tend towards more bitter cocktails.
There were 6 of us so we decided to order two small plates each to start [edit- we only have 11 dishes pictured, black cod is missing]. I wanted the mussels and the octopus. I also suggested veal cheeks and wild boar spread but was shot down. This crowd didn’t even know what pork belly was so it was “fun” to nudge them in a more adventurous path.
Raphael sent out the items from light to heaviest. I found my best friend and I happily ate most of the seafood. The bay scallops were small but tasty.
The table loved the Brussels Sprouts so much we ended up getting another order of them. My best friend really liked the taro chips that came with the albacore tartare.
My favorite dish was definitely the octopus with the romesco puree.I ended up swiping up every bit of it.
The Northern Thai street noodles had a thinner sauce which left a pool on my plate (why I mention this is important later). I loved the chunks of deep fried pork fat.
We thought about getting another mac & cheese which was quite perfect but opted for more fried chicken. The tiny piece was good for one but not 6 ladies. Even two orders was probably not enough.
About halfway through, I noticed no one was clearing our increasingly dirty plates. I asked for new plates knowing we had about 4 more dishes to go. I had to ask several times and the server even came back once to say now we only had one more dish coming and did I really need a new plate? I was shocked and very upset. I had various sauces on my plate including what I was calling a lake of sauce from the noodles dish. I wanted a new plate. My dining companions were more upset for me. They were willing to eat off dirty plates and the vessels the food came in but I feel this is not the way to enjoy the food. I’m pretty sure the chef didn’t want the other flavors to commingle on the plate. What was the big deal with getting new plates? And to come back and argue with me that we had one more dish coming? Perhaps this isn’t exactly fine dining but we were shelling out quite a bit of money. This was supposed to be a special birthday dinner for my friend. I was trying to not make a big deal at the time but I had to put my foot down when the server actually had the audacity to argue with me about a simple plate change request. This was bad service.
The actuality was we had already ordered more food- the aforementioned Brussels Sprouts and fried chicken. With moods dampened, we opted to go somewhere else for dessert.