If you’ve never heard of a ping-pong club, and weren’t aware you could dine at one, fear not:
This is your moment.
At hip boutique hotel The Standard in Downtown Los Angeles, chef Micah Fields’ bright and shiny 24/7 Restaurant is just one floor below SPiN LA, actress Susan Sarandon’s new ping-pong social club.
Put the two together, add the dineLA promotion (now through February 1st), and you’ve got yourself a fun, cool, silly and thoroughly delicious night out in the City of Angels.
Twice a year, dineLA hits the restaurants of Los Angeles like a steam train of prix fixe specials. A citywide promotion designed to entice diners to try new places by offering special three-course menus at reduced prices, dineLA can offer a tasty introduction to your new favorite haunt.
One of the most inventive menus on this year’s dineLA roster is at 24/7 Restaurant, a streamlined, modern dining room just off the lobby of The Standard, Downtown LA. Executive Chef Micah Fields, a contestant on this season’s Top Chef: Seattle, has a passion for seafood, inspired sauce and spice pairings, and making simple dishes sing with flavor.
To illustrate what I mean, have a gander here:
Menus for dineLA always offer at least two choices amongst three courses — starters, entrees and dessert. Wine pairings are generally offered for each course/selection, and are always an additional cost.
My favorites on this 24/7 menu? The salmon sashimi, which was a velvety balance of slightly sweet and spicy; the best crispy-skinned, 300-miles-from-dry roasted baby chicken I’ve ever had; and the savory pumpkin and sage risotto, which had just a hint of cinnamon and tasted like a pure expression of Thanksgiving. Dessert-wise, the rhubarb and plum cobbler doesn’t make for a fancy photo, but with lots of bright fruit, lavender-scented cream and a light crumble of topping, whoowhee was it gorgeous to eat.
My biggest surprise? The beef tongue. My fellow diners (who included Evan Kleiman, host of the long-running radio show Good Food) darn near flipped out over this delicate meat paired with a rich green goddess dressing and crispy-fresh radishes. Though tongue generally gives me the full-on heebie-jeebies, I amazed myself by diving in — and coming up smiling.
The wine pairings for this meal were truly inspired, with two standouts: the buttery Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blend from Western Australia’s Margaret River, and the salty-smooth Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir from New Zealand.
Meals like this one can be served in 24/7′s silver-and-gold dining room, or in a private upstairs room that sits adjacent to SPiN LA, the hotel’s ping-pong club, and features its own bar and a couple of private ‘pong tables. Outposts of SPiN have already opened in New York, Milwaukee and Toronto, the brainchild of a handful of designers and actress Susan Sarandon, who likes the game because 1) it’s never been forbidden to women and 2) it pairs surprisingly well with a night of drinking.
An evening of fast-paced, possibly-addictive ping-pong at SPiN can otherwise be paired with some cocktails and bites from 24/7, and the bustling lounge scene here is young, hip and casual. By 9pm on a weeknight, it can be hard to score a ping-pong table, so it’s best to arrive early.
But if you dread the idea of chasing after balls all night, worry not: there are girls here in preppy tennis uniforms whose job it is to track down your errant shots with long-handled nets.
That, dear readers, is what I call table service.
The bi-annual dineLA Restaurant Week
is going on now through Friday, February 1st
My dinner was provided by dineLA and 24/7 Restaurant
but all opinions and observations are my own