Ray’s and Stark Bar Dinner – August 2011

With a backdrop as artsy as The Los Angeles Museum of Art, handsome looking customers and an ever-engaging Chef, how could you go wrong? Everything here is perfect at Ray’s and Stark Bar. You are touched by the Chef Gods with every amazing bite. The inside of Rays is simplistic 60’s Scandinavian, along with lounge style background music, that is adult contemporary mixed with Jazz-fusion. The drawer in your table houses your silverware, which is not on the table. The crowd is hipster eclectic and vibrantly fun. A great new take on an old foodie idea, just straightforward fantastic food.

Chef Kris Morningside makes your experience amusing and fun. His chef’s expertise is
legendary, he has worked with some of Los Angeles finest; Susan Goins at A.O.C. Jason Travi at Opaline, Neal Fraser at Grace, Joachim Splichal at Patina, and Eric Greenspan at Meson G. He learned a lot of things from his past restaurant experiences. The flavors are so amazing, in everything he prepares that it is hard to describe in writing; one really needs to go there and taste for yourself. But with my meager taste buds in tow, I will try to encapsulate my unique experience.

The presentation of everything is so stellar; you will never see your food again in the same way. Sometimes I am able to choose my menu items. But Chef Morningstar did a lovely job of that for me. Each item a total surprise, paired with lovely wines. The first item was a very small, just a taste of a Sorel, Concord Grape and Garlic Soup. Fresh, unique and very inviting, paired with a sparking Patina Cuvee from France. Then Hamachi, again just a small plate, small bite, but so tantalizing, a big burst of flavor in your palate, paired with a great Alsacian California Wine. The heirloom tomato salad served with feta cheese and onions was another explosive moment in your mouth, paired with an Old Vines Spain Tresomos, 2009 Carcianevalo.

Kris Morningstar can do no wrong; his creativity knows no bounds, flavors so exotic, so bright!

The Halibut with lobster mushrooms, and potatoes were astounding, some how the Halibut was like butter, but crispy on the outside, served with chive butter sauce, and paired with a 2009 William Feu Chablis. The Chablis rounded out the buttery sauce and sparked new sensations of flavors from the Halibut. The Veal sweetbreads were by far my favorite, served with a citrus vinaigrette, red onion and artichoke. Paired with Demetria Viognier Santa Ynez 2008. The Duck with a Marsala Rub and lentils, scarlet turnips, paired with Kenneth Volk Neunette. The sommelier Paul hits all the notes, providing me with the best of the best as far as the wine pairings go.

Desert was paired with a fantastic late Harvest Zinfandel, 2008 Dry Creek Valley. A gorgeous chocolate sorbet, chocolate moose with macadamia puree. Big time party in my mouth and so great the mighty Zin.

The service was impeccable; extremely concerned one minute and then leaving you alone at just the right time; Gustavo did a great job as my server. Run don’t walk to this warm and inviting new dining experience, you will be pleasantly surprised!



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