It felt like a dream, driving through the gigantic doors sculpture at the Mondrian last week. The hotel is surreal, as white as a laundry detergent commercial and just as tranquil. The doors leading out to the dining patio were wide open, allowing a breeze to come through the restaurant. Asia de Cuba had been on my overpriced list for sometime, a place I avoided because of the perceived high cost-benefit ratio. I can't speak for the dinner, but I discovered that a relaxing lunch can be just the calm you need in the middle of Los Angeles.
I started with the black bean and chickpea dumplings in a tomatillo-ginger sauce that tasted vaguely like Indians samosas. I'm not a fan of chickpeas, so maybe the appetizer would have been less lost on someone else. The tempura rock shrimp with black bean aioli, jalepeno aioli and sweet chili sauce were much more delightful. Fried just right, these little morsels had a light tempura coating that worked well with each of the sauces. However, the shrimp themselves were small and didn't taste particularly fresh.
Tempura rock shrimp with three dipping sauces
My entree, as well as the entrees of three of my other coworkers, was the miso cured Alaskan butterfish with black bean edamame salad and tempura shisito peppers. The salad was amusing, the green and black colors playing nicely off each other. Flavorwise, it lacked any strong accents. I would have preferred the shisito peppers fried without the tempura coating. The fish had a sweet miso glaze and was grilled to excellent doneness of barely flaking.
Miso cured Alaskan butterfish
Asia de Cuba exceeded my expectations. I'd come back just for the venue, but the food wasn't a letdown either. The gigantic terra cota flower pots housed miniature trees and created a beautiful outdoor dining terrace. It's worth checking out.
Asia de Cuba at the Mondrian Hotel
8440 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, 90069