The Broad museum in downtown Los Angles, CA holds many notable contemporary exhibits and gems, so many in fact that it’s encouraged to make a reservation ahead of time. For those who choose not to make a reservation, expect to stand in line for up to two hours. Once inside, marvelous exhibits await, like that of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room or their renowned painting and sculpture collection. For me, however, The Broad’s most notable offering is their adjacent restaurant, Otium.
Even before ordering the food, I was completely in awe of the restaurant’s aesthetics. Otium’s décor is perfectly riddled with oxymorons and contradictions. It is a space where both vintage and modern combine to make the perfect date night or girl’s night out experience. The atmosphere is both causal and sophisticated. The bright colors lay well against the wood, steel and copper used throughout the building. And although the layout is bright and open, there is a certain seductiveness about the ambiance lent by the building’s sleek lines and lighting. Special features like the restaurant’s mezzanine garden or the abstract chandelier hanging right at the main entrance add the perfect touches to an already beautiful design.
If the design doesn’t do it for you, then the food most certainly will. I am a huge fan of abstract flavor combinations and new tastes, and Otium doesn’t fail to deliver. Like most new restaurants these days, it’s recommended that each person at the table orders a couple of dishes to share with everyone. I opted to order the cauliflower and the cuttlefish, while my coworker decided on the spinach fusilli and the St. Honore for dessert.
The cauliflower came decorated in grapes, almonds, cilantro and sultanas and was absolutely delicious. I’m already a fan of cauliflower, but they dressed the naturally bland vegetable up to become something amazingly flavorful. The sweetness from the grapes and the sultanas really did it for me, as I have a serious sweet tooth and appreciate it in any and every dish. It was subtle though and worked well with the other flavors in the dish. My all-time favorite from the menu for sure.
The cuttlefish was, interesting. Made with hearts of palm, button mushrooms, chile and thai basil, it definitely was a new flavor profile for me. Although it tasted more than decent, what really got me was the presentation. Up until then, I’d never actually tasted cuttlefish, and from the name I assumed it would have the taste and texture of most fish. I was completely wrong. When presented with the dish, it had the look of noodles topped with all of the fore mentioned ingredients. Halfway through the dish I was made aware that the noodles were actually spiral cuts of cuttlefish. It was then that I was schooled on the fact that cuttlefish is actually a marine mollusk—think squid. This dish gets an A just for keeping me on my toes.
Next up was the spinach fusilli. Tossed with clams and bacon and topped with an egg, this dish was ever part of decadent. The sauce the pasta was tossed in was incredibly creamy and oh so good.
Last but not least, let’s get into this St. Honore! This dessert was Otium’s take on the classic French St. Honore cake, with coffee, hazelnut and salted caramel. Although this dessert was full of flavor it was still light, and a perfect size for sharing so that you don’t end up feeling weighed down.
If you love a nice ambiance and amazing food, and you happen to be in the Los Angeles area, then Otium is a must! Make sure you put it at the top of your list because it will definitely be at the top of ours!