10 February, 2009

Way Better Than Just OK At AK

The newly opened AK located not coincidentally on Abbot Kinney in Venice is impressive for a couple reasons: during a tough economic recession, it still draws a very large crowd on a Tuesday night, and the food aint so bad either. In fact, it's downright delicious. And forget all that talk about Ikea-like meatballs. Executive Chef Conny Andersson has hit a homerun with or without the Swedish finger food. His swanky bistro encased in lots of big windows facing the trendy Venice boulevard is warm and inviting on this cool winter night, and the beautiful hip crowd is as hot as the elevated fireplace in the main dining room.

The Antipasto Salad is served with fresh prosciutto and barrata cheese atop a light frisse salad and heirloom tomatoes. An excellent appetizer, it was quite a tease, as my dinner partner and I would have liked to have enjoyed a bit more barrata. Otherwise, don't fill up on the starter or the bread for that matter, because the portions here are fit for a Viking. A hungry one.

At the recommendation of our very attentive server, we ordered the Braised Beef Short Ribs Bourguignonne and the Pekin Duck. The short ribs were perfectly tender and juicy, and were served atop Truffle Mash, complimenting the sweet beef with the aromatic potato.

The duck, served with a thin layer of the oh-so-tasty fat, melted in the mouth. The presentation was elegant and enticing. While delicious, the small drizzle of a honey orange sauce was unnecessary since the flavor of the duck reigned on this plate.

If you have the room, order the Warm Apple Galette. The open-faced tart, resembling a sweet pizza, is brought to the table and finished off with a warm caramel sauce by the server just before you indulge. The creamy vanilla ice cream slowly melts on top of this flaky disk of apple goodness. Not surprisingly, on the AK website, the Dessert Menu is appropriately labeled "Splurge".

So, to Mr. Andersson, if you are reading this, I applaud you and this simple yet elegant menu. You make Tuesday nights worth skipping out on American Idol.

AK Restaurant + Bar on Urbanspoon

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