My last trip to Raymond 1886 was in 2014, that dinner was excellent, my recent meal did not disappoint as well. With a new chef, a new menu and a new bar program there was lots of exciting stuff to keep me occupied.
Part of this review was an adventure; I took 2 trains and an Uber to get there. I love Los Angeles transit and try to take it every chance I get. It adds to the over all experience, it almost like a mini dining vacation, so much fun!
Here’s what I tried:
Oye Como – Va! – With Tequila, Madeira, CoCo Lopez, Demerara Syrup, House made Horchata, Pineapple Juice, and Lime Juice. Created by Miguel Perez. A super refreshing drink with lots of pizazz, just like I like it.
Magna Doodle – With Vodka, Chareau Aloe Liqueur, Red Grapes, Lemon Juice, Sugar, Egg White, and Angostura Bitters. Created by Jesus Gomez. A super creamy cocktail with a mellow flavor, goes down super easy.
Artisanal Baguette with their homemade butters, “everything” butter like an “everything” bagel, and raspberry honey butter. The bread is served steaming hot and the butter just makes your taste buds soar.
Salmon Tartare, over tortilla rounds, super fresh and fragrant salmon makes for one delicious way to start my meal.
Steamed Blue Mussels, green curry sauce, with toasted sour dough. The dipping of the bread in the sauce makes this dish so worth every decadent calorie, just fantastic.
Roasted Duck Breast, with faro, baby spinach, sherry cherry jus. The duck is super tender, but not your typical one with crispy skin. The faro and the spinach addition is amazing, all just what the doctor ordered.
Grilled New York Steak, with maitake mushrooms, fingerling potato, crushed pea, pistachio, and balsamic jus. The mushrooms really made this dish for me, and the beef is served sliced. I ordered mine medium rare, which is the way to go.
Home Made Desserts:
Imported and Domestic Cheese Board assorted, with season pickles and fruit, house made focaccia; there were 2 French cheeses and 1 Swiss, all spectacular, and ones that you would not discover on your own.
Dark Chocolate Semifreddo with Malted Feuilletine, chocolate and mascarpone. This is a very sumptuous dessert; jam packed with superb chocolate flavor.
La Guiberte, Sauv Blanc, Sancerre, 2016. This is a very grassy wine, but went great with all of the various cheeses, especially the French ones.
The White Queen, Chardonnay, Sonoma, 2017. I just loved this wine, for me it went great with the salmon, the mussels and the duck.
Scattered Peaks, Cabernet, Napa Valley, 2016. I new find for me, and I went crazy over this one, so perfect with the steak. I will have to take a visit to their winery now in Napa having found it here.
Executive Chef Jon Hung is the new secret ingredient at The Raymond 1886, whose brother is none other than Los Angeles based Chef Michael proving that talent, culinary ingenuity, and a keen sense of business runs in the family. Before his cross-country move to helm the kitchen at The Raymond 1886, Executive Chef Jon Hung was most recently at the highly collaborative restaurant Common Lot in New Jersey, which was awarded 4 stars by the New York Times. Chef Hung began his career in New Jersey as owner and operator of The Bagel Box, during which time he received his Certificate of Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of New York. These experiences set the foundation for Chef Hung’s trek towards a new frontier at The Raymond 1886, where his fifteen years overseeing all aspects of his own business made him cognizant and empathetic of all restaurant operations, while his team work skills at Common Lot gave Hung the training ground to create a collaborative environment in the kitchen. “I consider it a failing of my leadership if I do not support the creativeness of my team.” For his all new dinner menu at The Raymond 1886, Executive Chef Jon Hung has stayed within the parameters of tradition while still coloring just outside the lines in texture and flavor profile.
The Raymond 1886’s Pastry Chef Alexa Clark is the sweet to Executive Chef Jon Hung’s savory. Calculated and thoughtful, Clark’s career began immediately following her completion in Pastry and Baking Arts at The Institution of Culinary Education in New York, and in New York and New Jersey based kitchens such as TriBeCa Treats, No Nut Nation, and Local Seasonal Kitchen, before gaining recognition for her contributions at Common Lot and Viaggio Ristorante, with whom she was profiled in the April 2018 issue of New Jersey Monthly. Hung and Clark met at Common Lot and quickly discovered a similar work ethic that only strengthens under the same kitchen roof, synergistically playing off one another with their supportive palates. Clark knew from the get-go that her approach to The Raymond 1886 new dessert menu would be about perfecting balance. Says Clark, “Guests want something they cannot easily make at home, but something that is also familiar.” Clark walks that tightrope with the greatest of ease seen in her delectable treats. Always seeking new opportunities to expand her prowess, Clark has also had the chance to get behind the bar and collaborate with the critically acclaimed 1886 bar team for their new Cocktail Menu and she is looking forward to more collaborations with the 1886 team coming up.
Manager Chelsea Vexland made my experience so fun, she is from San Diego, and has been the manager for the last 3 months. She added a very personalized touch. By the end of my culinary experience I felt like I had made real friend.
The interior is woodsy and dark, but there are many patios if you want an outside feel in the day or night. In the evening the patios have heat lamps, each one has such a homey cozy feel, you will be happy you choose this casual outdoor seating. One of the patios has a rock fireplace. No matter where you dine you will feel wonderful in their charming environment. They play great classic soul and old school music, like Sam Cooke, which really sets the tone.
This restaurant is steeped in rich history, located in South Pasadena was the first major resort hotel of the San Gabriel Valley served as a winter residence for wealthy easterners. Mr. Walter Raymond of Raymond & Whitcomb Travel Agency of Boston built it, Mass. The hotel was built atop Bacon Hill which lies between Pasadena and South Pasadena and was renamed Raymond Hill with the opening of the hotel in 1886. The first and original hotel the original hotel, burned to the ground in 1895. A second building was erected in 1901 and equally replaced the older in grandeur. The hotel was foreclosed following the Great Depression and was razed for commercial development. The Raymond Restaurant is housed in what was a guesthouse bungalow, in all of its original craftsman architecture. They have great black and white photos of the old buildings on the wall; make sure you check it out.
It’s a destination spot for anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, and special occasions. The night I went they had a huge family gathering on one of the patios, good times were had. Whatever the occasion The Raymond 1886 is always memorable, with a fun local crowd, a great destination, worth the travel to South Pasadena.
The Raymond 1886
1250 S Fair Oaks Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91105
* Some Content was taken off of their website.