Akasha is the very definition of “wildly inconsistent.”
I first visited Akasha on a Saturday night, on a first date. The place was packed with stylish people (although the clientele skewed toward the medicare set), the service was good, and the appetizer and entree – a charcuterie plate, and skate wing with cauliflower puree – were tasty, if not mind-blowingly unique. I left looking forward to my next visit.
Fast forward to last night: A Sunday, during the DineLA promotion. The place was nearly empty even at 8 pm, a prime dining hour. Although we arrived for our reservation on time, and the place was a ghost town, we still had to wait ten minutes to be seated. Huh?
First sign of bumpiness to come: The DineLA menu had a silly typo (the “Shiitake, Roasted Squash and Basil – Caramelized Onion, Eggplant, Tomato and Truffle Sea Salt” was missing the word “pizza” – well, duh!). Then, we’re told that the chocolate hemp gelato isn’t available that night, and will be replaced by a salted chocolate tart. Bummer. I asked the waiter whether there was a substitute gelato, and the waiter told me he’d see what he could do.
The waiter described the “daily soup” on the menu as a butternut squash soup with sage….. mmm! Two out of the three of us ordered it as one of the three appetizer options. Before the soup course, the waiter comes by to give me and one of my companions a soup spoon. He sets mine down, and I see a big chunk of food on it. My companion moves it to the unoccupied fourth placemat so the waiter will replace it…. but when the waiter comes by, instead of wondering what’s wrong with the spoon, he absentmindedly places it next to my plate!
Next, to our bewilderment, a guy emerged from the kitchen with two bowls full of chopped-up root vegetable soup in a clear broth…. definitely not the butternut squash soup we’d ordered. As the guy set the bowls down, we asked him what was going on. Our waiter came over and talked with the dude – in fact, they stood near our table arguing quietly about it – until the waiter pulled away and explained that there wasn’t any butternut squash soup. There never had been. Um….. .okay……??
The soup was bland. Nothing much else to say about it, other than the fact that the vegetables were cut into impressively even little cubes.
The entrees arrived next. My two companions had the Niman Flat Iron Steak with Organic Olive Oil Crushed Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Braised Trumpet Mushrooms, Red Wine Essence. They were perfectly fine, although they reported that the red wine essence was actually some sort of fruit puree.
I had the Big Tree Farms Wild Pepper Scallops with Forbidden Black Rice Risotto, Edamame Puree, and Baby Bok Choy. The scallops, as many have reported, were a little too salty. The black rice was just that – pretty boring cooked black rice. It wasn’t even close to a real risotto (totally different texture/ consistency). And the edamame puree, despite sounding intriguing in theory, tasted so bland that I didn’t realize what vegetable it was.
Weirdly, our waiter then came out and advised me that, in fact, there was chocolate hemp ice cream (big “huh” – then why had he advised me that there wasn’t any?) I was excited, until I tried it and was bored totally stiff.
Our waiter practically ignored us toward the end of the meal, despite the place being nearly empty at that point. I wasn’t sorry to leave the place behind.
With the variety of restaurants on this same city block that are rated well, I don’t know why you’d bother going to Akasha.