A very sexy restaurant in the arts district of downtown Los Angeles. I am a sucker for exposed brick and tall ceilings and this space had them in spades.
Not too long ago a friend of mine was kvelling over the cornbread at Manuela.
So, I made sure it was on our restaurant rotation. And believe me you, this is without question the best cornbread I have ever tasted.
And for that matter their biscuits with a side of ham (not nearly large enough ham for the four of us to have some) are phenomenal with whipped butter. Honestly, whoever is baking is the genius behind Manuela.
Manuela is an organic restaurant; everything tastes and feels fresh. I am gonna go out on a limb and say this is probably a better brunch place.
The appetizers are meant to be shared and the dinner plates are for one. The four of us like to sample a little of everything and shared all of the plates; so we got a comprehensive sampling of the menu.
Chef Brando and Drew arrived early and made their way to the bar. Sadly, the bartender did not engage, and his responses were monosyllabic at best. A downer. The drinks were too sour, undrinkable and gave us heartburn. Both the bartender and his drinks were sadly unapproachable.
Enzo kept trying to find a cocktail only to be told they were out of their cocktails. Thank goodness Chef Brando brought a bottle of wine that complimented our dinner. Corkage fee...$25.00
Hint: Put a friendly, vivacious bartender/mixologist behind the bar and have alcohol. That’s Money!!
For appetizers we chose the Albacore Dip, Trout Tartar and Burrata. Nothing outstanding. Solid good flavors. No complaints…no raves.
We also ordered the raw oysters.
Fishy, didn’t taste fresh…dare not try another.
On to dinner. The venison burger was outstanding. We all loved it: Juicy, tender and full of flavor. A must order.
Pork Chop was nicely charred and the portion of generous. Solid, again no complaints but not outstanding.
Diver Scallops were delicious and buttery. Seared to perfection. Chef Gordon Ramsey would be proud.
Our chosen vegetables were Cauliflower that were tossed in date vinegar. Colorful and appetizing to gaze at but one bite is enough. Good but a little too vinegary.
And Potatoes were again, great to look at but not worth the decadent caloric intake.
We opted out of dessert not impressed by the choices.
All in all, the dishes looked amazing but didn’t really deliver in taste.
And on an entirely different note…the chairs sucked. Again, they looked good but were flimsy and somewhat rickety. Felt like they could disintegrate beneath you.
As I said earlier, maybe this is a better brunch place. Biscuits, cornbread, burger….ALL DAY LONG. I’m considering picking up the biscuits and cornbread to have at my home. Yum.