Trying Hard for Innovation - Orsa & Winston [Review + Pics]



I wonder what it is about fine dining that no chef in LA is able to really pull off.

You go to SF, a mere six hours north, and it seems like half the chefs in the city can manage it. You wouldn’t expect something so poor even at a typical 1 star in SF. Heck, it seems like there food is higher quality at most upscale casual places in LA with the rotting greens, overcooked fish, and horrible matching if ingrdients :confused:

The saddest thing is that there is no excuse at all here, Orsa and Winston is completely subsidized by the grand success of the chefs other 4-5 places…thy should have every imaginable resource to pursue total excellence while being innovative and great.

Even within his own little “empire” this seems like the worst place despite being the “highest level”.

Is there just something in the water or the air or what that makes chefs unabake to do fine dining here? It’s an incredible mystery.

In the mean time I suppose Angelenos can take some solace in the fact that SF is relatively close by, but still, meals like this really make one wonder what it is about LA and fine dining.

Thanks for the report @Chowseeker1999. With the low turnover, lackluster service, quality control issues and lack of an alc menu it really sounds like a down hill alert for this place. I wonder if Centeno is stretching himself too thin.


Thanks @PorkyBelly.

Yah compared to the gorgeous Okayu Rice you had last year…

It’s like a night and day difference. The color, vibrancy and portion in your rice from last year was so much better than what we had.

Which night of the week was that?

Sounds like a different restaurant than the one I ate at last year. I wonder if Centeno is more focused on P.Y.T., or overextended what with five restaurants by that corner plus the one in Culver City, or maybe on to the next project?

Hi @robert,

This was on a Thurs. I remember reading about your visit last year. Yah looking at your pics and thoughts now, it’s like a different restaurant. The colors in your dishes and the uni look and texture all seemed much brighter and fresher.

Sorry to see you had a very lackluster visit. It seems that this place has had ups and downs. Prior to my January 2017 visit, I had seen some trusted positive reviews from the likes of Robert and also some pretty lackluster reviews from different time periods.

The menu changes so often, maybe that has something to do with it. Consistency seems to be a real problem, given that it is possible to spend almost $200 pp here for a regular dinner.

Hi Chowseeker1999 -

I like this report and the comments. It’s not only a food critique, it’s a commentary on chefs and L.A. restaurants.

[quote=“Chowseeker1999, post:1, topic:5977”]
Orsa & Winston is a tiny restaurant, thankfully very quiet, but perhaps a bit too quiet.
[/quote]For some reason O&W has never piqued my interest. But when reading the above quote I thought ‘yes, my kind of place’. But I should have known, those places don’t exist in L.A. anymore unless there is a problem. “The Tasting Menu Only” with no printed menu could actually be a fun treat. For that, a chef must bring it every single night. But with a bunch of other restaurants to man? All props go to Chef Menes and his single, little counter. And I’m sorry, but $85+ for what you experienced is not a bargain.

To start with an amuse-bouche as a bad shared salad :roll_eyes:. And even I could see the Uni was a tragedy. If you had said it was good I would have started to question your judgement, haha.

Thanks for this report!

Restaurant bubble… tick tock?

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[quote=“PorkyBelly, post:3, topic:5977”]
With the low turnover, lackluster service, quality control issues and lack of an alc menu it really sounds like a down hill alert for this place. I wonder if Centeno is stretching himself too thin.
[/quote]What he said…

[quote=“robert, post:5, topic:5977”]
Which night of the week was that?
[/quote]I wondered the same thing.

[quote=“DTLAeater, post:7, topic:5977”]
The menu changes so often,
[/quote]I know this is a thing, but I don’t really like it.

Thanks @DTLAeater. Yah, we’re not sure what’s happening at O&W. Chef Centeno was clearly there, so it’s not like we went when the chef wasn’t there, and thus it was because of his assistants.

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Thanks @TheCookie. I’m with you: The menu has / concept has never really excited me either, but we finally went when some of our friends really wanted to go recently.

And yah, $85 isn’t really a “bargain” bargain, but I was thinking relatively speaking to other tasting menus like Providence or Melisse (which run double the price or more). But then again, we’ve never had food there that was as poorly executed as Orsa & Winston (sans the Lamb).

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Hi @Chowseeker1999 -

Yah, I figured you were comparing it to other tasting menus on price only, not quality. But based on your experience I thought you were being too nice…hehehe.

Thanks again for reporting!

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That uni makes the Baby Jesus cry.


I made a reso for next month. Looks like it is time to switch gears. I wanted to give it another change. First time there, it was good, but completely unremarkable. Second time, it was their yakitori pop-up and that was freakin’ amazing! I was kind of hoping to do something “fancy” that night without totally breaking the bank. I will set my sights elsewhere.

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[quote=“djquinnc, post:16, topic:5977”]
Second time, it was their yakitori pop-up and that was freakin’ amazing!
[/quote]Now that does sound interesting. Would have perfect for this month’s DoTM (Food on Stick).


And the funny thing is that I didn’t have anything on a stick! I recall having some sort of sashimi/crudo sort of thing to start. But this seafood rice porridge I had was stunningly good (either the same or close to the dish that @PorkyBelly referenced above) . And Isa Fabro was still helming the pastry department at the time and she had this really wonderful mochi waffle on offer. I would gladly go back to that iteration of the restaurant if it ever were to re-appear.


My cousin is insisting that I’ve been to the restaurant. I kinda’ remember going to a restaurant on that corner. Is it a good or bad thing that I don’t remember the meal? :slightly_smiling_face:

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The web site suggests they still have a printed menu, maybe they just didn’t get around to it that night.

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