Orsa & Winston
Your expectations may not be particularly high of a restaurant named after two dogs. But the dogs in question belong to chef-owner Josef Centeno; a name bound to send those expectations sky-high. And so they should. Centeno’s the man behind restaurants like Bäco Mercat and Bar Amá. His is a name that’s become synonymous with great food in Downtown LA. And Orsa & Winston continues the trend.
The menu at this light-filled, simply-decorated space showcases influences as far-ranging as California rustic, Japanese, classic French, and Italian. Much of what you’ll find on the menu here simply depends on the day, and the season. There’s an a la carte menu for dinner, but it’s the tasting menus that prove to be the most popular. After all, the chance to be surprised by Centeno’s dishes is usually too tempting a proposal to pass up.
The six-course menu could include anything from dry-aged beef carpaccio served with hakurei turnip to a romanesco and leek soup served with quail egg, brioche, grapefruit, speck, nasturtium. The omakase (chef’s choice) feel of the tasting menu is enhanced to a spectacular degree in the epic 20-course option, which has to be ordered 48 hours in advance. Lunch, meanwhile, often takes the form of a grain bowl (lamb curry, seafood crudo or seasonal vegetable). But there’s a delectable selection of other dishes, including potstickers, koji-fried chicken buns with pickles, and pickled mackerel on toast.
Since the tasting menus are chef’s choice, beverage director Maxfield Schnee is on hand to recommend dinner pairings, whatever your drink of choice. Thankfully, at Orsa & Winston there’s a great choice of sake, local and international beers, and plenty of wine to accompany Centeno’s creative cuisine.