I had planned on going to yoga last Thursday evening. However, when my husband invited me to a six o’clock dinner at 71Above with some of his coworkers, I happily changed my plans.
Upon arrival at the US Bank building downtown, I navigated a couple elevators and arrived on the 71st floor.[i] Given the beautiful view, I did not initially expect much from this restaurant. That said, I was still excited to try out a new spot.
I joined a wonderfully global table of my husband’s colleagues: a man and a woman from Seoul, a man from Beirut, and three locals—although one “local” is actually from the Philippines. It immediately made sense why we were there; for out-of-towners, this restaurant provides a unique vantage point from which to appreciate the LA basin.
Drinks had already been ordered: Pinot Noir for me, as usual.
This restaurant offers a tasting menu. Patrons may choose one dish from the three courses.[ii] My husband and I opted to share everything as we typically do.
We began with oysters (poached, uni, caviar, tarragon, champagne) and the farm egg (crispy potato, chorizo, finger lime, cilantro). We enjoyed both, although the farm egg stole the show. I’m not clear on why, but it was delicious and I would definitely recommend it.
For our second, we ordered the octopus (BBQ, sumac, avocado, Aleppo, lebneh yogurt, Serrano) and foie gras (terrine, quince, fennel, brown buttered brioche, pistachio). We eat an unusual amount of octopus, so it takes a lot to excite us on the octopus front. This dish, however, was different from the typical octopus we enjoy—specifically, the barbeque flavor. We appreciated the dish. Foie gras is one of our favorite things, so given the foie gras was foie gras and was good, we approved.
Around this time another lady who works with my husband approached our table and called him a rock star. The Korean gal who was dining with us said, really, he plays instruments and sings? My face reflexively wrinkled into a look of “please” and I said absolutely not. Once we were through laughing, we then had the pleasure of explaining the meaning of this slang expression. She listening appreciatively and noted she had learned another slang expression earlier in the day too—“dog shit.”
Finally, for our third, we did the wild striped bass (cauliflower, harissa, raisins, pine nuts, preserved lemon) and lobster (carrot, vadouvan curry, coconut, barrei-aged fish sauce). The lobster was good in that it was lobster, but it was nothing special. The bass was our preference.
By now it was late, nearly nine o’clock, and I was tired. We skipped dessert, so perhaps I’ll return one evening to evaluate the sweets.
While this place is a bit pricey for what you get, the food is at least satisfactory. That is more than can be said for many restaurants occupying such prime locations. I’d go back.
[i] This is the highest restaurant west of the Mississippi.
[ii] A three-course dinner is $70, and you can add additional courses for $16-$35, depending on which. The wine pairing is an additional $45.