When it’s spot prawn season, hopefully you’re in the know, since this wonderful West Coast crustacean has some of the sweetest meat of any sea creature. I was lucky enough to have dinner at WP24 on February 18, opening night for the latest season. Wolfgang Puck’s high-end Chinese restaurant resides on the 24th floor of the Ritz-Carlton at L.A. LIVE, serves as a hotbed for athletes and celebrities, and delivers some of the city’s best views. The dining room features windows on three sides, traditional Chinese lanterns and some modern design flourishes. Recently, they rolled out an a la carte dinner menu that, if you’re lucky, will list Santa Barbara Spot Prawns ($46).
A tangle of four oversized prawns features sweet, supple, snow white meat. They’re coated with a light dusting of cornstarch and stir-fried with a shallot relish that also includes garlic, cilantro, and chilies. The dish is finished with tamari soy sauce and plated on a bed of glass noodles stir-fried in a wok with XO sauce, scallions, and water chestnuts. The shell is on the thick side, but the crispy legs and everything up to the brain eats beautifully.
I only managed to score a single prawn, since everybody at the table was scrambling to grab them. Still, I consider that single prawn a major victory.