DTLA denizens, rejoice. The Otium is now open for lunch with dinner service to start soon. With big names like Bill Chait and Chef Timothy Hollingsworth at the helm, we expected great things, and it does not disappoint. From the room to the service, to more importantly, the food, our experience was stellar all the way. The dining room was very quiet when we arrived, but we heard from the server that at the soft opening the day before they served 150 people, and that was with no announcement!
The lunch menu has something for everyone – salads, pasta (made in-house), heartier entrees, and desserts, at reasonable prices for a sit down restaurant in DTLA. Because I can’t resist pozole on any menu, that’s what I ordered. This isn’t your abuelita’s pozole – think deconstructed, upscale pozole with enough flavor to rival your grandma’s. Thin-sliced pork shoulder (like the kind you find in most pho dishes), pressure-cooked heirloom hominy with just the right texture and bite, cabbage, carrots, cilantro and zesty bites of chile, all in a tasty broth topped with chicharrones. My lunch partner had the rigatoni with basil pesto, and for such a simple dish, it was very impressive. A super-creamy blend of basil and parmesan in the pesto, and the homemade rigatoni was nicely done.
The Otium is now welcoming reservations for holiday events (although until the open-air terrace opens on the 2nd floor, you will share the space with the main dining room). The restaurant is also partnering with the also newly-opened Broad Museum for priority entrance for your party. FYI – 18% gratuity is added to all bills, as is the custom these days. I’d say it was more than deserved – the host recognized us from Pez, the manager and event planner came by to chat, and service itself was a breeze. I am already planning my next lunch visit.