Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Resy Drive-Thru (Los Angeles, CA)

The Resy Drive-Thru at Hollywood Palladium
6215 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Thu 10/15/2020, 08:50p-10:30p

Certainly, the ongoing coronavirus situation has altered the way Angelenos eat. With indoor dining largely not permitted these days, we've seen streets and sidewalks transformed into makeshift dining patios, many of which are in fact quite cozy and cute. Most of us are probably cooking more, or getting takeout more, and for me personally, I've been eating in the backseat of my car on the regular (which is actually far more comfortable than you might think). Resy, however, has come up with something that's a bit more interesting.

On October 15th and 16th, the restaurant reservations software company took over the parking lot surrounding the Hollywood Palladium and transformed it into a drive-through eating experience. Basically what they did was set up a number of restaurant stations in a serpentine path around said lot. Customers would then drive through all these stations in a fixed order, pause for a bit, and sample a food item (while possibly listening to an audio tour). Note that diners did not leave their vehicles, but instead, a staff member (Rachel in my case) was assigned to each car in order to handle the serving of each dish. The overall effect was meant to be that of a collaborative ten-course tasting menu, and proceeds from the event helped support José Andrés' non-profit World Central Kitchen.

Given that Resy is owned by American Express (I was surprised to find that out too), Amex card holders (myself included) got first crack at tickets to the event. These pre-sale tickets went live on September 28th at 10:00a PDT, but sold out within mere minutes. The general public sale happened two days later, and also sold out pretty briskly.

The Resy Drive-Thru Staging Area
I arrived for my 9:00pm reservation about ten minutes early. After checking in and getting my temperature taken, I was directed to one of three queues, where I waited for about half an hour. The photo above shows the view from the front of this staging area. Note that Amex members were supposed to be provided with a fast pass, which would've avoided much of the wait here, but unfortunately I never received mine.

Resy Pouch
Hedley & Bennett Mask, Resy Hand Sanitizer, Resy Pen
While waiting, I received this canvas pouch, which contained hand sanitizer, a pen, a Hedley & Bennett mask, and most importantly, the release form for the event.

The Resy Drive-Thru Menu The Resy Drive-Thru Information
Also in the pouch was a pamphlet with the night's menu. Click for larger versions.

The Resy Drive-Thru Staging Entrance Approach
Now released from the staging area, we lined up single file in front of the event entrance. I ended up passing the entry gate pictured above at around 9:40pm.

Watermelon Mocktail, S.Pellegrino Water, Peach Mocktail
It was during this wait when we were provided with complimentary beverages. In addition to a choice between Acqua Panna and San Pellegrino waters, we also had the option of watermelon and peach mocktails, which I believe contained basil and mint, respectively. Alcohol was not permitted at the event.

Stuffed Pepper
Amex card members were also allocated an extra amuse bouche created by Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson from Kismet, though I had to explicitly ask for a serving. I also wasn't provided any explanation of the dish, but it was obviously a stuffed pepper of some sort. It was pretty tasty though, its combination of piquant, nutty, and savory elements coming together nicely.

The Resy Drive-Thru Stop #1

Spicy Deviled Egg with Rice Cracklings
1: Spicy Deviled Egg with Rice Cracklings {Alta Adams, Keith Corbin}
At this point the meal proper began. Now I'm a fan of deviled eggs in general, so it was no surprise that I enjoyed this first hors d'oeuvre. Specifically, the interaction between the dish's pickle-y tartness, dry spice character, and sheer creaminess of the yolk worked for me. That rice crackling added some textural variation, though it could've been crispier.

Betel Leaf with Tamarind Braised Coconut, Lime Leaf, Smoked Trout Roe
2: Betel Leaf with Tamarind Braised Coconut, Lime Leaf, Smoked Trout Roe {Nightshade, Mei Lin}
This Thai Town-inspired dish conveyed the unmistakable sweet-n-sour nature of tamarind, set against fragrant coconut and punctuated by pops of salinity from the trout roe. Also present was an overarching citrusy note, while the betel leaf provided a mild pepperiness. Definitely the most unconventional course of the night I'll say.

The Resy Drive-Thru Stop #2

Thai Pasta Salad: Thai Basil Pesto, Grilled Gai Lan, Silken Tofu, Chile Oil (Vegan)
3: Thai Pasta Salad: Thai Basil Pesto, Grilled Gai Lan, Silken Tofu, Chile Oil (Vegan) {Night + Market, Kris Yenbamroong}
This was a Thai take on the bodega pasta salads that the Chef often ate while he was living in New York. It was a hearty, filling course, and featured a welcomed underpinning of heat and some pleasant basil aromatics. The key here for me, though, was the gai lan, which had a smokiness and bitterness to it that really lifted the dish. I would've preferred a firmer texture on the actual pasta, though.

Gochujang Glazed Sea Bass with Local Greens and Toasted Sesame Vinaigrette
4: Gochujang Glazed Sea Bass with Local Greens and Toasted Sesame Vinaigrette {Nyesha Arrington}
The Chef's inspiration here was the so-called terroir of LA. The dish did a reasonable job capturing the spicy, multifaceted essence of gochujang, which worked well as a counterbalance to the fatty, creamy local sea bass. The greens functioned as a zesty accent, while the vinaigrette imparted a hit of brightness to it all. Unfortunately, the fish was rather tepid by the time I received it, which I think blunted some of the flavors at play.

The Resy Drive-Thru Stop #3

Trap Kitchen Golden Rice with Chicken
5: Trap Kitchen Golden Rice with Chicken {Trap Kitchen, Chef Spank & News (a.k.a. Malachi Jenkins & Roberto Smith)}
My drumstick showed off some classically sweet, BBQ-esque flavors, offset by a well-placed sour spice. Sadly, though the rice's golden hue was on point, it arrived cold and tough, and thus did little to complement the chicken.

Spiced Lamb Ribs, Tzatziki, Armenian-Style Spiced Blend
6: Spiced Lamb Ribs, Tzatziki, Armenian-Style Spiced Blend {Chi Spacca, Nancy Silverton}
Seasoned with coriander, cumin, fennel, sweet smoked paprika, and ginger, the lamb ribs were tasty and aggressively spiced, though regrettably unsatisfying in terms of texture. As for the tzatziki? Pretty much perfect.

The Resy Drive-Thru Stop #4

Mortadella Sandwich, Truffle Parmesan Fondue
7: Mortadella Sandwich, Truffle Parmesan Fondue {Jon & Vinny's, Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo}
Next came a variation on the ubiquitous ham and cheese sandwich. Its marriage of fondue, mortadella, and a soft, sweet brioche bun certainly made delicious sense, though I actually didn't get much truffle here. Also, I was left wondering if this would've been improved by the inclusion of a tart, pickle-y element.

Slow Roasted Pork Collar, Bird's Eye Chile and Bagoong Coconut Cream. Caramelized Cauliflower & Shaved Turnips
8: Slow Roasted Pork Collar, Bird's Eye Chile and Bagoong Coconut Cream. Caramelized Cauliflower & Shaved Turnips {Lasa, Chad & Chase Valencia}
Our final savory dish was inspired by the Filipino staple Bicol Express. The pork displayed a texture that was simultaneously tender, chewy, and crisp. It meshed easily with the sweetness of coconut cream, which was boosted by the depth of salted shrimp paste. I also appreciated the contrast provided by the veggies here, though overall I could've used more heat, especially since Bicol Express is one of the few Filipino dishes known for its spiciness.

The Resy Drive-Thru Stop #5

Ricotta Cake Donut with Coriander Brittle, Lemon Curd and Strawberries
9: Ricotta Cake Donut with Coriander Brittle, Lemon Curd and Strawberries {Gwen, Curtis Stone}
Time for dessert. First came Gwen Pastry Chef Dominique Miller's nod to LA's infatuation with doughnuts. It was of the cake style and quite nice texturally, but the crux of the dish was that delightfully tangy lemon curd. Strawberries also made sense of course, and I liked the unabashed crunchiness of the brittle, too. Note the included card touting Picnic Society, Curtis Stone's new spot at The Grove.

Houjicha Caramel and Ganache Tart; Apple Cider Pate de Fruit
10: Houjicha Caramel and Ganache Tart; Apple Cider Pate de Fruit {Konbi, Nick Montgomery, Akira Akuto, Jen Yee}
Closing out the evening was this duo of petits fours. The fruit jelly was made with cider from Northern California, though the actual apple flavor was fairly subdued. The tart, meanwhile, was beautifully textured, and conveyed the funky, savory nature of roasted sencha tea, combined with a sugary chocolate ganache and bits of sea salt and cacao nib.

The Resy Drive-Thru Gift Bag
Salsa Seca Brittle
Apple Pie
Shown above are the contents of my gift bag. Everyone received a package of super nutty, sesame-heavy salsa seca brittle from Majordomo, while Amex members also got an extra mini apple pie from The Apple Pan.

Los Angeles is the car capital of the world, so it's absolutely fitting that something like this would go down here. The event was an interesting experience, though I could also tell that it was a huge logistical challenge, and not something that you'd want to replicate on any sort of regular basis. Still, an amusing experiment nonetheless.


Blogger Anonymous said...

"Definitely the most unconventional course of the night I'll say."
Unconventional meaning bad? Or was it just hard to eat? That course looks like way too much coconut!

Monday, November 09, 2020 9:07:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Oh, not bad or hard to eat. I just meant that the flavors were the most surprising. Everything else I had this evening was pretty familiar, but I'd never experienced anything quite like Nightshade's dish before.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 5:12:00 PM  

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