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Ink, A Little Muddled

Don’t get me wrong, as almost everyone else in the culinary community, I absolutely have a chef crush on Michael Voltaggio.  How could you not?  He’s exactly what you imagine a chef to be, covered in tattoos and unabashed.  Unfortunately, last night I had to take my chef crush down a notch when I went to his first solo venture Ink.

Upon first pass the restaurant is very unassuming from the outside (I drove past it twice).  On the inside it’s a very masculine and sexy restaurant with an incredibly inventive and creative cocktail and food menu.  At closer look, however, the drink menu was quite complicated.  I landed back on an old favorite, the martini, but tried all of the creative drinks my friends ordered.  The hot bourbon tasted like a watered down, albeit alcoholic apple cider, and took about 10 steps for the bartender to make.  Similarly their tequila drink just fell short.  Although beautifully presented with the newest in ice cube stylings, I just don’t get this over the top hipster mixologist movement.  Can you say, keep it simple stupid?

In the same way, the food fell flat as well.  I remember having the same thought when Voltaggio was at the Dining Room at the Langham.  Beautiful presentation, flavors that fell short. At Ink, we ordered, the bigeye tuna, parsnip-sesame cream, grapefruit, soy gel, the kale, burrata, asian pear, pumpkin seeds, yuzu, and the jidori chicken, waffles, smoked maple, hot sauce.  Sounds interesting right?  And it was, until it hit my mouth….yawn.

Again, impressive presentation, flavors that didn’t wow.  I don’t know about you, but especially in this economy when I spend a pretty penny on food and drinks, I want at least something foodgasmic that makes me want to rub it all over my body and come back for more. Oh well, at least I can say I did it and I’m cool enough, but it definitely didn’t make me ink.

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