Wednesday, June 2, 2010

First and Hope

Chic with a reminiscence of 1950s glamour, First and Hope makes you feel special... with hostesses in ball gowns and waiters in suspenders serving you. The setting is simply picture Per-FECT!

There were complimentary house-made pimento cheese and saltines. They were ok... a fancied up version of those kraft cheese snacks that we all had when we were kids.

Amuse bouche: potato with garlic and chive sauce 
The amuse bouche was kinda simple, but the flavors were well balanced.

Fried soft shell crab with creamed corn and tomatoes

This was their special for the night and the dish was good, but a bit too oily. The sweet corn complemented the crab very well. However, I would have liked the crab fried a bit crispier. 
- $13 -
All-About-the-Cheese Mac & Cheese Flight
This was the best dish of the evening... three different types of mac-n-cheese: triple cream brie, aged goat cheese, and Cahill Porter. The presentation was beautiful as were the three generous portions of the mac-n-cheese. I loved how there were different tastes and intensities of the various cheeses. I suppose we should have eaten the macs from mild (brie) to intense (porter)... but since the porter was on my side, that was my first scoop and it was delish! Although the pasta could have been more al dente, the flavors were cheesy but not overwhelming. In front of each mac-n-cheese was a sample of the cheese used, so it was a mac-n-cheese flight + mini cheese plate. The honey that was served with the brie was out of this world!!! I will go back simply for the honey :)

 - $16 -

Moonshine Meatloaf 

I normally don't order meatloaf at a fancy restaurant... but since this was the first time I've seen foie gras mixed in with the chuck roast to make the meatloaf, I had to get it. Although  the foie gras added richness to the dish, the meatloaf was too fatty for my taste. If they used a leaner meat and made the meatloaf more moist, it would have been lighter and easier on the stomach. The combination of meat, foie gras, and bacon just was a overkill on the dish. We barely finished a third of the dish.

- $27-


As the name implies... two parts duck and one part goose (aka: foie gras). The dish was not bad, but once again, it was too oily. The best duck on the plate was the rich flavored duck leg confit. The seared foie gras on the duck confit was undercooked though. The grilled duck breast was moist, but the meat itself was rather bland. The sweet and savory skin of the duck breast was well balanced and yummy.

- $28-

One of the coolest things about First and Hope was the wine list. You can do your own pairings because you can choose from a decent selection of wines and decide whether you want a sip (1 oz.), taste (3 oz.), or glass (6 oz.) of it. The prices were reasonable as well. In the lounge area, there is a cool wine tasting machine. Think of it as Yogurtland gone to Napa... you buy credits on a card, and then you pick and choose (aka: self serve) what to taste and how much you want from the wine vending machine. I can't wait to try it out!

 Trendy Bar Scene

The food was decent at First and Hope... but the ambience, appetizers, and versatility with wine tasting make it a great place for happy hour or just to lounge with friends at the bar. I'll be back.

First and Hope
710 W. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 617-8555

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