Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Seed Bistro, Los Angeles

UPDATE: This restaurant has permanently closed.

Seed Bistro, the sister restaurant to Seed Kitchen, is a new macrobiotic, organic, vegan restaurant that opened a few months ago in Los Angeles. Chef Eric Lechasseur, the owner and executive chef of both restaurants, specializes in vegan macrobiotic cuisine.

From the outside, the facade and logo are simple, yet understated. Inside, the restaurant is fairly small and bright with a green ceiling and yellow lights. There were only about three other tables occupied when I arrived. Once I was seated, I was immediately greeted by my waitress who asked if I'd like to start with a drink. I think I shall!  She recommended a glass of Carmenere from Santa Rita, Chile, which sounded great. This was a good choice.

I wasn't that hungry so I decided to just go with an entree and a dessert. The menu was not extensive, but there was a good variety of small plates, sides, salads, entrees, and even a raw option. Additionally, there were many specials that sounded great. I asked a lot of questions and ultimately went with the seitan pepper steak because it is made in-house. I love a good house-made seitan!  When it arrived, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting though. Because seitan is very hearty, it needs to be balanced with something light, which is what I thought the watercress was for. It was served with fork mashed potatoes and watercress, but the watercress was just wrapped with a carrot and served raw like a garnish. The plate was 3/4 seitan and 1/4 mashed potatoes with a garnish of watercress. The seitan pepper steak was incredibly hearty and rich with a peppery finish. It had a delightful texture that went well with the savory gravy. I was very pleased with the seitan. The potatoes were good too, but I really wanted a cooked vegetable with this dish. My only criticism is that it was a really heavy combination. But, don't get me wrong, the food was great!

For dessert, I ordered a special -- the chocolate mousse. Eric gets an A+ for presentation as this dish was beautiful. It was a chocolate mousse made with silken tofu, molded into a round disk and served on its side. It was surrounded by two crackers made with brown rice syrup and pralines and served with mixed berries, cashew cream, and pistachio nougatine. All of these flavors went together very well, but I really felt like the chocolate mousse needed some spice -- something unique that would make it stand out from other mousses. When I come to an semi-upscale restaurant, I expect to be wow'd and I just wasn't sure I was leaving wow'd.

I do love that Eric has expanded to a more upscale rendition of his other restaurant. The decor is classy and I like the use of color. I just think it should be a bit darker in the dining room. The food is good, but I think there is still some work to do in refining the recipes and combinations. The prices are very reasonable - surprisingly much lower than I had expected. The service was fantastic and Eric seems like a very nice guy. He was kind enough to come out and talk to me after my meal, which I always appreciate. I'll definitely be back and hope to discover new, interesting combinations from this up and coming restaurant in the future. I recommend checking it out if you are in the area.

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