When an exciting new restaurant opens in Los Angeles, L.A. Weekly heads in for a First Look, a short review based on a single visit. If you're hungry for more, see our starred restaurant reviews.
With its large gold signage and asymmetrical structure, Miro, the new California-inspired restaurant on the edge of downtown's financial district, is hard to miss. Perched on Wilshire Boulevard and South Figueroa Street, the large wooden door with M-shaped gold handles opens up into a high-ceilinged dining room.
The design hints at a midcentury modern aesthetic that feels grown-up yet unpretentious. Vintage milk jugs that have been repurposed as water carafes and wine decanters that look as if they may have been purchased from yard sales juxtapose nicely with the restaurant's sleek interior.
The seasonally driven menu is helmed by executive chef Gavin Mills, whose stint as chef de cuisine at Suzanne Goin's Tavern in Brentwood is evident in dishes such as the sweet grilled peaches drizzled with saba on a bed of burrata with smoked ham. There's also a roasted beet salad (again with burrata), grilled asparagus with a fried “farm egg” and roasted bone marrow.
While much of the menu is driven by seasonal ingredients native to the region, Miro also draws from cuisines around the world. Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors pack a punch: There's a lamb kofta tagine with green harissa and preserved lemon. Portuguese-inspired appetizers like bacalao and potato croquetas are fun to eat served on a smear of spicy piri-piri with a side of garlic aioli.
More traditional items, such as the rib-eye with smoked bone marrow butter, asparagus and duck-fat potatoes, are served just as they're described on the menu. The large, well-cooked piece of meat gets a little dollop of marrow butter that melts into the grains. You might secretly wish you had an entire pint of the warm, unctuous white glob.
But sometimes the simplest choice is the best one. Diners sitting at the bar or near the kitchen can watch as long strands of pasta are made and cut in-house. When the server recommends the basic-sounding bucatini tossed with ramps, local olive oil and Parmesan, you should listen to him. The same thing goes for ordering from the lengthy house-made charcuterie list.
For dessert, choose from crowd-pleasers such as ricotta fritters, butterscotch pot de creme, apple tarte tatin or the complex-tasting chocolate cake. Save room for a nightcap in Miro's basement whiskey room.
Miro, 888 Wilshire Blvd, downtown; (213)988-8880, mirorestaurant.com