photo credit: Holly Liss
We all remember the moment. You came home, opened your laptop, and there it was - your mom’s on Facebook and she friended you. Just like that, the one thing that was ours was suddenly everybody else’s. We love our moms here at The Infatuation, but we’d be lying to our 22-year-old selves (and every other kid in America) if that wasn’t the moment Facebook changed forever.
Attention: Mom is now in the Arts District.
For a restaurant as new and visually impressive as Officine, the whole operation feels catastrophically stale. It’s like someone took Bestia and bussed in the Bouchon lunch crowd. Everyone here’s in a suit or doubled-over in pearls looking nervous to be East of La Cienega for the first time since 1983. Where’s the energy? The excitement? The liveliness? Even the lunch service somehow feels like you're dining on the boring floor of the Titanic. How many people are trouncing around the Arts District in the mood for a valet-only, $70 lunch?
We might let the stale vibes slide if this was an otherwise good restaurant. But unfortunately, Officine Brera is not. In fact, it’s a borderline mess.
On one evening, we waited nearly 90 minutes after our reservation to be seated. Fine. It was a busy night and you’re a new restaurant - we’ll cut you some slack. But table service was also virtually non-existent on several trips back, and waiters would regularly vanish for 20 minute chunks at a time, only to return looking annoyed that we were actually interested in what they recommended off the menu.
And then there’s the food itself. Ranging from overpriced versions of things you can find on any menu in town to dishes that are straight-up inedible. Like the risotto alla Milanese - whose towering bone marrow was so charred over one evening we couldn’t even break it with our knives. The waiter apologized and took it away, which was nice of him, but don’t worry - we never got another one and it still ended up on our bill.
We could go on about a few things that were actually good here (the veal chop), but what’s the point? Officine is so completely off the mark, out of place, and wholeheartedly uninteresting, it feels irrelevant. This is a classic smoke-and-mirrors spot for the impressionable cruise ship crowd.
Goodbye Arts District as we knew it.
Risotto alla Milanese
Maybe the bone marrow would’ve been good? But we never got it. As far as the risotto goes, it was pretty standard. Cooked well, but not all that flavorful. Plenty of other places are doing far more interesting takes.
Let’s please take a moment. This thing is actually phenomenal. If it was it’s own restaurant, we’d rate this hulking veal chop a 9.0. But unfortunately, it’s at Officine Brera. We’ve never wanted to save a dish more from a restaurant ever. RUN VEAL CHOP, RUN!
Ho-hum. Another restaurant opening. Another charred octopus.
This is one of those dishes where the first bite is delicious and every bite afterwards is horrible. Fried, overly-salted, and dripping with grease - these veggie fritters are way too much.
Compared to most of Officine's menu, $12 for a small salad is a steal. Unfortunately, that's its most memorable trait.
It was definitely better than the neon-yellow risotto, but still far from memorable.
This off-menu chickpea pancake was passed along as a tip to us, but frankly, we didn't get the hype. Dry and flavorless. Next.