Summary: Don’t get the tasting menu. I know you will be tempted, because if you’re gonna pay $140 for four courses why not just go $210 for fourteen courses? Just don’t. You’ll regret it. Actually let me back up: before you even make the reservation, just don’t.
I paid $210 and the best thing I got was bread. Not to impugn the bread though, the bread was amazing. Whoever makes it should leave L2O and open a bakery. Sadly those tiny magical loaves of deliciousness cannot change the fact that this was the most regretted meal, and the biggest waste of money, of my life.
We ordered the tasting menu, and I want to suffocate whoever designed it in a Gelatinous Cube, because turnabout is fair play. This fourteen course hell begins with six courses that are all variations on a common theme: minute quantities of cold seafood atop a cold jelled base. I should have known this wasn’t going to turn out well when I put that mussel mousse amuse in my mouth. It was the size of a jawbreaker gumball and I thought that there would be something in the center to offer some textural contrast, since the server said it was meant to be eaten in one bite … Nope, just one huge ball of green, seafood flavored cream. The only one of these first six courses worth eating was the spiny lobster atop mango geleé, but I would have enjoyed it much more if I hadn’t already been sick of cold, squishy foods by that time. Thank goodness they kept coming back with more delicious bread, I was beginning to think my teeth were going to fall out from disuse. And what was up with that foie and geleé? They made fruit roll ups out of strawberries, “disguised” little balls of foie gras as strawberries using the fruit roll ups, and served it with smushed up then re-compressed strawberries, and called it a play on peanut butter and jelly. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.
Just when I was about to either murder, cry, or beg for something WARM they brought out the best dish of the night, a black velvet crab soup. They served it with a granita, which was weird but at least it wasn’t geleé. I actually thought that eating some granita and then sipping some piping hot soup made the flavor of the soup even more intense, but Schmoops thought the granita was out of place, plus he really didn’t want any more cold stuff.
The rest of the meal ranged from mediocre to not bad. I didn’t like the bone marrow, abalone and shaved truffle. It was boring, and the texture of the marrow brought back the queasy feeling started by the six squishy courses. The desserts look nice but they aren’t that good. I want dessert to be damn tasty, not damn pretty. I don’t care if you can shape chocolate cremeux into bars with perfectly square cross sections, especially since the amount of gelling agent needed to accomplish that makes it taste NOT GREAT. I still remember the chocolate cremeux I had at The Publican last year. I try not to remember the chocolate cremeux at L2O. Everything else was similarly unimpressive. The kouign amann they gave us to take home was pretty tasty and nicely caramelized though.
Out of a fourteen course tasting menu, plus complimentary extra courses, there were perhaps four or five items worth ingesting. L2O does not deserve Michelin stars.