Scratch Bar is serving 25 course tasting menus? Anyone been?

According to the LAT:

I have a hard time believing that they are serving 25 courses for $120… at $4.80/dish the gamble to hit at least a few interesting winners seems worth taking.

They also apparently will offer some type of reverse omakase service at the counter where you can name ingredients you feel like eating, and they will compose dishes based off of them for you according to an interview with the chef:

[Quote]Lee and his staff will give diners a couple of options for lunch and dinner. You can choose one of the restaurant’s tasting menus, or the staff will also design bespoke a la carte dishes for each guest, based on their likes and dislikes, and the proteins and ingredients available in the kitchen that day.

“Imagine ‘Cheers,’ but as a fine-dining restaurant,” said Lee. “You are going to sit down and talk to the chef and the cook like you would at a sushi bar.”[/Quote]

Anyone actually been out there? It kind of seems overly ambitious, sort of “too good to be true” vibe, but who knows.

I ate at the old Scratch Bar when it first opened and don’t remember a lot about the meal. I think bone marrow in a “log” of bread was ok, and the squid in a box was pretty tasty. But the concept seems appealing enough to give a shot maybe.

What do the other gourmands think?

I haven’t been Scratch Bar, but I have had a chance to taste Chef Lee’s food at an event. I thought it was over-complicated and over-thought. While it was okay, there seemed to be 30+ components and my brain (and tastebuds) had to work too hard to try to get all the nuances he was describing…it kind of took the joy out of eating the dish.

Interesting, what was the event? He has apparently won a lot of TV eating competitions…hah Were you a judge on one of them?

It was at some festival in May…I was a guest of a friend of a friend. So with the time constraints maybe I should cut him a little slack, but his cooking style and the way he presented the dish made that hard to do.
I’m not sure being the winner of some TV competitions means a whole lot…to me, it means you’re trying to win yourself a Food Network TV show…however, exceptions are made for Top Chef…I think that’s a legit competition.

I was very unimpressed by the old incarnation of Scratch Bar. I had similar reactions to what you thought. Presentation was beautiful, food was very mediocre, overly ambitious…

if only there were a blog with a review of scratch bar/lee’s cooking with a ton of pictures

I’ll leave other posters to comment if the cooking has changed in 2 years.

I’d never heard of that guy until he was on Top Chef this week. I looked up Scratch Bar and it sounded like maybe he was no longer connected with it?

the OP is the Encino location with Lee

Ah. Confusing.

Extremely, the LAT article is the only source of an actually address for the new Scratch Bar as well.

Be interesting to see how he fare on Top Chef I suppose eh?