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After seeing the movie “The 100 Foot Journey”, where sea urchin – or uni – plays a “starring role” I have been anxious to try the delicacy. At Spear in downtown Los Angeles, Chef Greg Paul pairs uni with risotto and the result was amazing.
Spear Steak and Seafood House at the corner of 6th and Flower is the newest dining concept of the M2K restaurant group, located in the former Le Ka space. High ceilings, glass windows overlooking downtown and the open view of the kitchen give the dining room an airy feel with soft lighting. It’s an elegant space with long communal tables as well as four and two tops. The outdoor lounge is an especially inviting space to enjoy drinks and relax with friends where the mixologists will happily shake up an interesting cocktail from the full bar. The wine list offers a nice selection of California and French wines, as well as some interesting others from Spain and Chile.
Seafood is the star on chef Paul’s menu, with a raw bar selection of oysters, hamachi, albacore, toro tartare and more. Small plates invite the table to share several items, like the remarkable uni risotto, snow crab beignets, roasted bone marrow and barbecue pork belly with shrimp. We enjoyed the oysters and the sushi before diving into the risotto, and the bone marrow was delicious on some crusty bread.
For entrées, I would definitely recommend the short rib osso buco. Paul slow roasts the short ribs for 72 hours, rendering the meat fall-off-the-bone tender and loaded with flavor. The Tomahawk pork chop is 22oz. of pure joy. The sous vide prepared pork is so succulent with the texture of filet mignon. Steaks – including a 28 oz., bone-in rib eye – lamb shank and a half roasted chicken are available too.
Continuing on the seafood side, the whole branzino is stuffed with ginger and herbs and is a beautiful presentation. The flaky fish absorbs the ginger and is a taste sensation preparation. Steamed mussels and clams and whole Maine lobster are other seafood choices, as well as salmon, sea bass and a market fish of the day. A host of side dishes like roasted mushrooms, creamy polenta, braised rapini and duck confit and white bean gratin are among the dozen on the list.
If you prefer to enjoy a burger or flatbread, well they’re on the menu too. Spear encourages you to make your evening casual or a special occasion destination. They are all about catering to your needs.
I really appreciate the time chef Paul puts into each dish – this is a fairly large menu and to successfully execute dinner nightly is a challenge – and one Paul meets quite well. The owner, Michael Kwan, wanted to create a menu with choices for everyone to find something they like – and many of the items he enjoys eating.
We’ve dined at Spear on two occasions, and both experiences were spectacular. The general manager, Jeff Midlam, guides his friendly and knowledgeable staff to provide excellent service. Rely on Midlam to suggest a wine to complement your dinner. He suggested the Baileyana Pinto Noir which paired perfectly with our meal. Baileyana is a San Luis Obispo winery and the winemaker, Christian Roguenant, describes his pinot as “a big Pinot with great acid structure, but soft, smooth tannins… aromas of anise, cola and dark cherry…nice vanillin, faintly smoky finish.” I couldn’t have said it better, and will certainly buy this wine again.
Finish dinner with the rich, Southern style bread pudding. It’s a rich finish to a wonderful dinner. If you prefer something lighter, the key lime pie is a good bet.
Great things are happening downtown and additions of high-brow, yet fun restaurants like Spear Steak and Seafood House are reasons to explore the area.
Spear Steak and Seafood House, 800 W. 6th St., Los Angeles, (213)688-3000. Spearrestaurant.com.
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