It is a rare treat to get more than one of my friends to gather together for dinner, so it is important that our meal is a culinary match for our celebration of being in each other's company. Stefan's at L.A. Farm was our (ok, my) selection since it is close to where I live and everyone knew how to get to the area without GPS aid (or so I thought). Dinner at a regular dinner hour means traffic, so choosing a venue that does not require being stuck for hours getting to it is high on the list of priorities, add to that plentiful and free parking, and Stefan's was an easy no brainer choice.
Unfortunately even the best laid plans still go awry and two of our group were stuck in traffic, listened to a GPS set to avoid traffic, and ended up an hour late to dinner. The good thing is that Stefan's has plenty of small plates that kept us from starving as we waited. I started with the Sonoma foie gras with cracked white pepper, smoked salt and griddled brioche ($3). I was a delicate rich slice of heaven with a smoky aftertaste that made me say "Ummmm."
My Pescatarian friend chose an appetizer salad of red and golden beets with goat cheese mousse and Mesclun $10. She loved it even though the dressing a a tad over salted (I agreed after a taste), but she still enjoyed it enough to eat the entire plate.
After a text from our friends saying they were in Koreatown heading our way, we decided to order more small plates. My friend Cindy had the tomato and mozzarella caprese salad made with a balsamic that had been aged about 15 years; she declared it the best version she ever tasted. I went with the steak tartare with poached quail egg and bread stick ($5), not the best nor the worst version, and a perfect two bite size for someone who just wants to try it.
I also got the Kumamoto oyster with Absinthe jello and fennel vinaigrette which was s nice fresh ocean bite ($3.
Since our friends were getting close and starving, we ordered the edamame with black sesame seeds and the Like a Big Mac ($3) so they would have something to eat the moment they arrived. The Like a Big Mac is about the size of a quarter and my friend Mika said it was delicious.
Cindy and I were already pretty full after all our small bites, so I ordered my last small bite of blood sausage done with perfect caramelized onions and apples.
The late arrivals wanted some satisfying entrees, so one ordered the lamb shank, ratatouille & creamy polenta ($28). It was so tender it literally fell off the bone and so tasty that she took what she could not finish home.
Kelly ordered the steak frites ($17) which was done with a nice herb butter and perfect fries. She is not an adventurous eater and she said it was the first steak without a sauce that she has eaten and enjoyed. The chef also offered us a complimentary Thai lobster bisque with coconut milk and lemongrass that we sipped as a bonus ($4 normally). It had a wonderful exotic creamy kick.
Needless to say we were full and happy after our HOT time at Stefan's.