Restaurant: Ma’am Sir
Location: 4330 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029. (323) 741-8371
Date: July 12, 2018
Cuisine: Modern Filipino
Chef Charles Olalia has been a guy to follow for quiet sometime and cooked us an amazing upscale Filipino dinner a couple of years ago at his apartment.
He’s had a really good Filipino rice bowl joint downtown called Rice Bar for a while, but finally he’s opened a new fine dining modern Filipino place in Silverlake.
Perfect location too as it’s a hip space in a hip neighborhood.
Notice the faux South Asia vibe.
The menu is short but excellent.
Tables are small, so we put our ice bucket on the floor.
From my cellar: 2006 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Rosé Brut. VM 95. Taittinger’s 2006 Comtes de Champagne Rosé has come along nicely over the last six months. Intensely perfumed, Pinot-inflected aromatics carry through the mid-palate and finish as the 2006 shows off its depth and pure energy. Veins of chalky minerality give the red berry and cranberry flavors an extra kick of energy. The 2006 is both powerful and delicate at the same, with crystalline precision and fabulous depth. Hints of orange peel, mint, cinnamon and cranberry add further shades of nuance on the complete, beautifully articulated finish.
SHRIMP DEVILED EGGS – Palabok-Egg Salad, Celery Hearts. Nice textural component too.
Liz brought: 2010 Garofoli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Podium. VM 91. Green-tinged medium yellow. Knockout musky nose combines honeyed pear, orange peel, quinine and iodine. Chewy, tactile and open-knit, displaying compellingly ripe but fresh flavors of yellow apple, almond paste and anise. Finishes very rich and long.
agavin: really food flexible wine, delicious.
ALBACORE TUNA SINUGLAW – Tomato, Onion, Avocado, Charred Pepper Vinaigrette.
And a close up. Really nice bright cerviche-like lettuce cups.
2017 Kruger-Rumpf Spätburgunder Rosé trocken. Nice dry rose.
“LUMPIA” – Savory Shat. Shrimp Mousse, Sea Urchin, Lardo, Garlic Vinegar. Probably the best lumpia I’ve had. Nice and light fry, uni notes, and then really taken up by the garlic vinegar.
WILD RIVER CRAB FRITTO MISTO. Green Lip Mussels, Garlic Aioli, Lime. Lots of lightly tempura-fried goodies.
Including these cute little Japanese river crabs you can eat in one bite! Both the vinegar and the aioli rocked too.
2015 Von Schubert Maximin Grünhäuser Abtsberg Riesling. 90 points. Like its Herrenberg counterpart, weighing in at 11.5 percent alcohol and analytically dry though not labeled trocken, this lacks the cut or refreshment of that sibling. But its aromas and flavors of seed-tinged apple and pear, accompanied by a coolingly minty side of Grünhaus herbacity, combine for persistent enjoyment.
BUTTER ROASTED GARLIC PRAWNS. Black Pepper Noodles, Calamansi, Scallions. Awesome garlicky shrimp and the pancit (noodles) below were great too.
LONGGANISA SANDWICH. Atchara, Hawaiian Bun, Kewpie Mayo. I could have eaten 2 whole “burgers.” Just awesome. Sweet, tangy, savory, rich.
Kirk brought: 1999 Dante Rivetti Barbera d’Alba Vigneto Gallina. 95 points. Very flexible red, totally worked.
CRISPY PORK LECHON. Lemongrass Sarsa, Pickled Papaya. The classic in miniature.
PORK SISIG. Sweetbreads, Maui Onions, Serrano Chili, Green Onion, Calamansi. and CRISPY OYSTERS.
Pancit Bihon. Yummy noodles.
Green Papaya Atchara.
1989 Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux 1ère Trie Clos du Bourg. 93 points. Great stuff!
MILKFISH INIHAW. Soy Glaze, Garlic Rice, Daikon and Tomato Relish, Fleur de Sel. Okay, but not my favorite dish. Lots of caramelized notes.
BEEF PEANUT CURRY ‘KARE KARE’. Oxtail and Tripe Ragu, Achiote, Shrimp Paste, Toasted Rice Powder.
Shrimp paste. You add the paste and the beef in the vegetables. I was really looking forward to this dish but it turned out to be odd with an incredibly strong smokey flavor (like that Hawaiian pig smoked underground). I didn’t really like that most smoke.
MANILA MANGO VERRINE. Coconut-Jackfruit Tapioca, Verjus Sorbet. Very mild and pleasant flavors and interesting textures. Super Filipino.
BANANA BIBINGKA. Pandan Whipped Cream. I don’t even like banana but I loved this chewy cake.
Chef Charles Olalia on the left and Liz Lee, owner of Sage Society and organizer of tonight’s dinner on the right.
Charles has always been an excellent chef and Ma’am sir is not only delicious, but really seems the right venue for his fairly ambitious take on Filipino cooking. The location is perfect in hipster central and the space very cute with a cocktail/bar emphasis. The menu is just about the right size with a lot of variety. Flavors are strong and well executed. Dishes are based fairly solidly on Filipino traditional dishes but they have been brightened, modernized, and restructured into modern hip small plates. About 2/3 the dishes were fabulous to my taste, but a few, like the kare kare, retained too strong a “weird” traditional flavor tone for even my taste — so it remains to be seen how some will react to those.
Fundamentally, this is a more Filipino datapoint in LA’s vast array of modern Asian interpretations, and a really bright one at that.