Anyone who comes to dine at L.A.’s newly-opened Maia can expect a playfully innovative meal from start to finish. The menu, developed by Executive Chef Sterling Fletcher and Sushi Chef Min Sang Cho, largely draws on a fusion of Latin and Asian influences: a delicate, refreshing toro sashimi with miso vinaigrette and jalapeño salsa; lightly crispy tempura rock shrimp with a fuji apple slaw and a slight kick of wasabi; the hearty braised short rib with red miso over whipped potato. Even the cocktails, like the sangria kit, for instance, gets in on the fun by letting you choose add-ons like passion fruit juice and house made ginger ale.
After our last course, a somewhat incongruous dessert of layered pound cake and cookie dough (seemingly concocted by a six year-old mad genius and a treat I'm thankful they opted to take a culinary detour for), we asked Chef Fletcher to share a recipe for, what he feels, is the dish most quintessentially Maia.
“Our quinoa risotto embodies the essence of what makes Maia unique. We cook the quinoa as if it was traditional risotto giving a creamy texture using coconut cream and almond milk rather than traditional butter and cream making the base of the dish vegan and gluten free,” explains Fletcher. "The dish gains flavor and texture with sweet glazed pineapple and crisp pea tendrils. The dish is finished with yuzu - garlic seared wild caught jumbo shrimp.”
Quinoa “Risotto” with Grilled Shrimp, Pea Tendrils and Glazed Pineapple
4 shrimp 13/15
6 oz. cooked quinoa
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. caramelized onion
1/2 oz. blanched pea tendril
1 tbsp. fresno chile (sliced)
1 oz. glazed pineapple
3 oz. almond milk stock
Heat two pans over medium heat. In one add quinoa, pea tendrils, caramelized onion and almond milk stock reduction. In the other pan add oil and the portioned shrimp with fresno chile and minced garlic. Cook the quinoa until heated through and just finished absorbing all of the almond milk stock then spoon onto designated plates. Once shrimp has finished cooking place in order on top of the cooked quinoa. Quickly sauté the glazed pineapple and garnish over top of the plate.
Almond milk stock
3 cups vegetable stock
9 cups almond milk
3 oz. whole garlic (smashed)
Combine ingredients together and reduce by half. Strain. Discard garlic, then cool and reserve.
8 cups white quinoa
12 cups coconut milk
4 cups pineapple juice
Combine pineapple juice and coconut milk. Pour half into a pot and bring to a low simmer then add quinoa. Cook quinoa until liquid is absorbed then add in another cup and repeat process until liquids are finished and quinoa is tender. Pour out onto a sheet tray and cool. Portion at 6 oz. with 1 tbsp. caramelized onion and 1 tbsp. minced garlic.
6 oz. pineapple
2 tbsp. tamari
Grill pineapple then small dice and reserve. In a small sauté pan heat tamari and toss in grilled pineapple and cook until tamari reduces to a glaze.
To book a reservation or for more information, visit MaiaWeho.com.