On the 71st floor of U.S. Bank Tower in the center of downtown Los Angeles is a restaurant best known for its aesthetics and attention to detail. 71 Above is on the must-go list for food lovers and adventurous people, alike. The high-end restaurant offers a three course meal for a set price of $78 (additional charges may apply for add-ons).
After hearing about 71 Above for months from various food blogs and downtown LA-centric blogs, I felt like I just had to visit this popular “must-try” food spot. Over the break, I went with a friend and we each ordered a meal. For the first course, I had a dish called farm egg, the second course, the steak tartare, and the third course, rib-eye.
The farm egg has the appearance of a sunny side up egg, and it consists of chorizo, crispy potato chunks, topped with a creamy “egg” made of Raclette (a type of semi-hard cheese), finger lime and cilantro. With a surprisingly bland look, this dish gave off a nostalgic breakfast-type feel that didn’t have too powerful of an impact taste-wise, but definitely presents a unique take on this dish.
Next, the steak tartare is made of minced wagyu sirloin, plated in a circular dish seasoned with piquillo, Marcona almond, caper, yolk and paired with a thin slice of crostini. Although I’ve tried tartare at other locations, it definitely startled me when they brought out practically raw wagyu sirloin on such an odd-looking plate. The taste though, was a blast of flavor which was balanced out by the vegetables and seasoning.
Finally, there was the rib-eye, cooked in medium rare (standard) paired with broccolini and seasoned with smoked soy and grilled onion jus. The rib-eye looked beautiful and was very juicy. One thing that I did find disappointing was the texture, which was a bit too chewy and hard to cut with the utensils provided.
As for my friend, she had the oyster for the first course, octopus for the second and by the waiter’s recommendation, young chicken for the third course. Personally, I felt like oyster was the most “worth-it” of all the dishes, with two palm-sized poached oysters in a creamy sauce and topped with a touch of uni and caviar. She let me try one of the plump oysters, and I felt like their texture wasn’t inconsistent, which is my usual complaint with this dish.
Following up, the second dish was called octopus. As with all the other dishes with very general names, I was surprised to see a salad served with octopus. Served in a Japanese-inspired bowl, the octopus is diced into smaller chunks and mixed with shelling beans, bacon bits, puffed wild rice and various other vegetables. The freshness of the herbs in the dish helped balance out the heaviness of all the oysters from before, which was refreshing.
Lastly was the young chicken — a baby chicken decorated with baby carrots and seasoned in a chanterelle purée paired with a soft, crunchy brioche. While normally I’m skeptical toward ordering chicken at high-end places, especially one with such a high price tag, the waiter was very engaging and strongly recommended giving it a try. Needless to say, the young chicken felt like finding a diamond in the rough. It was a delectable choice for those who aren’t up for a heavy dinner.
My one complaint with this restaurant would be the overall normality of the ingredients, especially the farm egg and young chicken. However, the creativity behind some of the dishes accounted for the lack of ingredients commonly found in other restaurants of its type. With the exception of the oyster, steak tartare and rib-eye, there weren’t that many dishes that call for the set price.
Overall, the food was creatively presented, but it taste-wise did not leave as much of an impact as the restaurant boasts.
Fun fact: On the 70th floor of the same building is the OUE Skyspace, a fully-glass slide that circles around the circumference of the building to the 69th floor. So if you’re ever in the area and need an extra tourist attraction to visit, that’s also a recommended location for adrenaline junkies.