Studio City: Introducing Mr. O’s to The Valley
I recently checked out the brand new Mister O’s in Studio City. This marks the return of Michael Cardenas as an owner of a sweet neighborhood spot. I first became acquainted with him when he opened Lazy Ox in Little Tokyo almost a decade ago. It was my favorite restaurant and I wrote about it no less than 8 times on this blog!
It’s in the old Take a Bao space and has been completely transformed.
My friend had the Forbidden Garnet to start. It’s an easy sipper and went well with our food.
Forbidden Garnet – hibiscus-infused vodka, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, Pierre Ferrand dry curacao, tamarind, piloncillo, lime
The menu is divided into three sections; nibbles, lights and heavies. We ordered the marinated olives from the nibbles section as we perused the rest of the menu.
The marinated olives with Indian woman bean hummus was a great way to begin our meal. The olives were very firm and the hummus slightly sweet. It created a sweet and tangy combo that I was surprised how much I enjoyed. Who knew something as simple as olives and hummus could make you pause and think — YES!
Our favorite dish of the night turned out to be the turmeric bread which I hadn’t even planned on ordering. Our server didn’t steer us wrong on this one. If you haven’t finished off the hummus by just eating it with your fork, be sure to save some for this turmeric bread. Although the bread does come with some great ripe figs and a generous spread of farmer’s cheese.
Sometimes when you get a seafood salad, you realize you just want all the seafood and really no veggies. I’m happy to report the squid salad is a good ratio of squid to greens. It’s a nice and light starter so you have plenty of room for an entree or more small plates. Lately I’ve done more small plates versus one big main. It’s more fun to try as many dishes as possible, creating your own “tasting menu.”
For my first drink, I had the Studio Swizzle. I love whiskey. I love rum. I even love Genepy, a Chartreuse like liqueur. And put them all together and it’s a fun spin on a tropical drink. The mid-century modern design of the restaurant went so well with this almost tiki drink.
Studio Swizzle – Buffalo Trace bourbon, El Dorado 5-year rum, Genepy liqueur, falernum, pineapple, lime
I wanted to order the ocean trout or shrimp bolognese but was open to the sea bass when my friend suggested it. It was a tiny bit dry but the skin was extra crispy! I did really like the corn and the spigarello, a sort of proto-brocoli rabe. The leaves reminded me of hearty collard greens before they’re cooked down.
For our next round of drinks, I got the Maize Runner. My friend had the Trade Secret. I was originally thinking about the Trident (whiskey, aperitivo, Cynar 70, sherry rinse) but our server suggested the Maize Runner. I really liked it with the fresh elements of corn and tarragon. My friend’s sour, the Trade Secret, is a nice one with tequila and passion fruit. I loved that it came with a stenciled on ‘Mister O’s.’
Maize Runner – Elijah Craig small batch bourbon, Rothman & Orchard orchard peach liqueur, corn, tarragon, lemon
Trade Secret – Cazadores reposado tequila, Thai shrub, passion fruit, egg white, lime
I actually really wanted to try the burger but I’m easy going and we went with the lamb ribs. The dish came with carrots which I hate but I still tried one anyone. I can see how the sweetness of the carrots played with the marinade of the ribs.
Perhaps we should have gotten the chocolate tootsie roll as our server suggested but with summer ending, and our full stomachs dictating, we got the stone fruit cobbler.
I can’t wait to go back to try the marinated pluots, fierce avocado, ricotta gnudi, clams and the aforementioned shrimp bolognese. I also want to check out the rest of the cocktail menu and sit on the lounge side.
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