Inevitably, when one reads anything about Downtown's Patina these days, the words "last bastion of fine-dining," or some variation of the same, is sure to follow. Currently, chef de cuisine Charles Olalia, who is now commanding the kitchen following the June departure of Tony Esnault, is poking a tiny hole in that fortification each week by offering a decently-priced prix-fixe menu of three dishes for $49 and a four-course version for $59, with dishes changing every Wednesday and dictated by what catches his eye at the market.
Olalia hollered at Grub Street over the weekend at the L.A. Food & Wine Festival, telling us just how much he looks forward to hump days, when the chef hits the Santa Monica Farmers Market to create his weekly menus highlighting the best of the season and region.
Dishes include a first course melange of raw, pickled, blanched, and roasted vegetables, along with ensuing plates of Valdivia Farms heirloom tomatoes and a salad of stone fruit with Haas avocados and a Perigord verjus offered in the form of a sorbet, plus meat courses like tonight's choice of caramelized scallops with lily vegetables and bacon or pork cromsequis with sage jus and creamed corn. There's also dessert, with this evening's selection being a peanut butter cremeux with Thomcord grapes.
As long as you can resist the call of the liquid grape, the farmer's market menu, which is only being offered through August 26, should give you a solid peek at the Patina experience without being hit with a triple-digit price tag. Reservations are available at 213-972-3331 and this week's menu is below for you to savor.
3 courses $49; 4 courses $59
Tax and gratuity additional
Farm Carrots, Patty Pan Squash, Baby Fennel
Heirloom Tomato and Stone Fruit Salad
Cherry Tomatoes, Hass Avocado, Verjus du Périgord
Lilly Vegetables, Bacon, Maple Syrup
Creamed Corn, Broccolini, Sage Jus
Peanut Butter Crémeux
Crispy Sponge, Thomcord Grapes