Orris (2006 Sawtelle Boulevard) is one of my new favorite LA restaurants. They serve Franco-Japanese fusion small plates (everything subject to market availability), and I haven't yet had a bad dish.
From their website:
Orris is the root of the iris plant, which in ancient times, when mixed with cinnamon and other spices, was believed to be a love potion. Consider Orris Restaurant to embrace the concept of sharing plates with the ones you love; food and wine is love.
I have to agree: Food and wine is love. Especially wine like the 2005 Field Stone Cabernet Sauvignon we ordered with dinner.
This blog is unabashedly pro Alexander Valley Cabernet, so it probably won't come as a surprise that this is yet another entry singing its praises. But, truly, this was one of the most delicious wines I've tried.
Here is a blend of mature fruit from all five of our distinctive estate Cabernet clones. The result is, in short, terrific. In character this ’05 release is a truly complex, expressive, Alexander Valley Cabernet which opens up with seductive, spicy, varietal aromas. Its equally expressive mouth-filling flavors of Bing cherries, plums, and crushed blackberries are bountiful and ripe, with characteristics typical of Field Stone’s definitive 'Alex
ander Valley Style': rich, fruit forward, with attractive notes of oak vanillin that never dominate. 2,000 cases produced.
After taking a few minutes to allow the wine to breathe, I “woke it up” by swirling it in the glass. It was a beautiful deep red-purple in color, with a nose of cherry and plum.
For dinner we started with Orris' seared ahi sashimi with sweet onion soy. Beautiful, sparkling and vibrant flavors. So fresh. Our next course was braised duck breast with yuzu chili paste. Having been here before, I knew that my four-year-old loves this dish, so he actually got his very own – and ate it with chopsticks! After that we shared beets with Basque sheep milk cheese and balsamic sauce (the kid practically finished this one on his own, too. I really have to stop feeding him good food). Then we had Orris' amazing squash blossoms with shrimp, then a shrimp mousse ravioli that caused all the adults to reach for any available substance to sop up the unbelievable shiitake mushroom sauce (filled with seductively rich sherry and earthy mushroom flavors). And, finally, the grown-ups shared the spectacular foie gras and Japanese eggplant with sweet soy. It was almost like a dreamy meat-flavored whipped cream! Light and savory and amazingly smooth.
And with every dish, the Field Stone was a perfect pairing. Even with the sashimi, which might be a little surprising.
Perhaps the wine blended so well because most of the sauces contained a subtle sweetness, between the sweet soy, the balsamic and the shiitake. On the tongue, the Field Stone Cabernet was bursting with blackberries and just the tiniest hint of spice – so it would seem the flavors of the meal and the wine would naturally pair perfectly. And they did.
For a tiny izaka-ya (Japanese pub) style restaurant, I was very impressed with the wine list (if you want to BYOB, there is an $18 corkage fee). I was impressed with everything, actually. If you're in the LA-area, go. And enjoy.