Ever since I first learned of the vegan menu at XIV, a fine dining Michael Mina restaurant in Los Angeles, I've been trying to find an occasion to treat myself to the experience. The opportunity arose when I saw XIV on the Quarrygirl list of restaurants happy to provide a vegan menu during DineLA Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week encompasses a two-week period (now extended to three and continuing through October 23) during which participating restaurants offer three-course prix fixe menus at specified rates for the level of the restaurant (lunch and dinner at either deluxe, premier, or fine dining caliber). As I can now attest, it's a wonderful way to be able to experience a restaurant that might be otherwise financially inaccessible.
A vegan friend and I made reservations for 7 p.m. last Wednesday night and were immediately seated by the courteous hostess. We sat at a table in this beautiful restaurant, surrounded by bookshelves, a fireplace, and modern art. When we reminded the server that we were there for the vegan DineLA Restaurant Week menu, she told us that the chef wasn't able to create a three-course vegan meal from that menu, but that we could choose an 8-course meal from the regular vegan menu for the same price. I was elated by that generous offer and happily set about to choose the 8 courses. I'm going to let the photos and menu descriptions take over from here because it's difficult to put into words how I felt about this meal that was the absolute best of my life so far.
Carpaccio of Pink Lady Apple, Clementine Tangerine, Petite Radish, Sprouts (this is the only dish we ordered that was on the restaurant's vegan menu, but is not also on the online vegan menu).
Pickled Strawberries, Tofu, Grains of Paradise, White Balsamic.
Charred Broccoli Rabe, Sushi Rice Cake, White Soy Vinaigrette. [Edited to add that this was my favorite course of the 8.]
Heirloom Beets, Wild Arugula, Aged Balsamic, New Olive Oil.
King Trumpets Mushrooms, Arugula, Figs, Hazelnuts.
Padron Peppers, Chantrelle Mushrooms, Sweet Corn.
Vegetarian Falafel Burger, Michael's Mother's Recipe, Tahini Sauce.
Coconut Sorbet, Peanut Butter Crunch, Basil Syrup.
I can hardly wait to return to XIV for another spectacular meal. For those of you who are able to treat yourself next week, I encourage you to do so. You deserve it!