Los Angeles' Art's District has one of the richest food scenes in the city and is home to a few of my current favorite restaurants. Damian was such an experience because it caught me by surprise - I typically don't eat much elevated/modern Mexican food as I grew up eating street tacos and burritos out the food truck in Oakland. Damian had a unique all around package to offer: strong drinks, unique flavors, excellent service and an outside but inside vibe bring it all together (there is an indoor dining area with a bar as well). You can't ask for much more on a Summer night in LA.
The best way to describe the menu is balanced and there really is something for everybody here. I also tend to favor the restaurants that serve their food family style with the intention for things to be shared. The importance of being communal with food is often overlooked. If visiting, I would recommend the rockfish ceviche & duck al pastor - although the waitress told us that some of the menu shifts depending on what is currently in season. All the entrees are well portioned and served with a side of fresh corn tortillas so come hungry and be prepared to eat with your hands.
Uni Tostada - 5/10 - crispy tostada with uni and topped with a caesar slaw. The flavor profiles seemed like they'd be a hit but it was just a bit flat for me.
Octopus Huarache - 8/10 - This potato huarache topped with braised octopus was the first eye opening dish. The textures really blended and the simple flavor profiles shined through.
Pescado a la Brasa - 8.5/10 - Moist fish with a crispy grilled skin? Say less! When combined with the fresh corn tortilla and green chili salsa.. this was a reimagined fish taco - you still get the texture elements of crispy fish and tortilla but without the grease.
Duck Al Pastor - 9/10 - My favorite dish of the night. It brought the street taco flavor to life. Duck Al Pastor was new for me but a perfect medium rare cooked breast that's paired with a pineapple butter and cherry compote created my favorite flavor combo of the night. In all honesty, I could easily eat this dish to the face and would be the reason why I'd go back.
Rockfish Ceviche - 9/10 - Well, we ate it so fast that the picture got blurry. But seriously, this is another must order. My favorite ceviche I've eaten to this day. Generous portions of rockfish, elements of citrus, some heat and served with a crispy tostada? Yes please!