Drago Centro

In traditional feng shui folklore, the dragon is a powerful symbol of strength, success and immortality.  This creature is considered very yang in its energies, and is also a prime example of fertility.  Chinese dragons were not ferocious and cruel as portrayed by other cultures; these large flying beasts were considered benevolent and kind.  Many emperors would use the dragon as their own personal emblem.

When I think of dragons, I think of the large, modern sculpture outside of Drago Centro.  Bright orange in color, this stair-like construct adds a wonderful fire and metal element to its surroundings.  Granted, it doesn’t look literally like a dragon, but it has that feeling.

Drago Centro is one of my favorite places in Los Angeles.   Housed in the base of a highrise, Drago offers a bustling oasis amidst the rampant energies of downtown.  Upon entering, one can see some of their fine wine collection in a massive glass vault.  The restaurant is decorated in modern taste, with earth tones throughout.  They also use real slate and marble whenever possible in the decor.  The use of various earth element suggests to the diner that they are in for a very wholesome and grounding meal.

Rather than dine in their chic and stylish restaurant, I prefer the social interaction of the Lounge area.  The Lounge is dominated by a bar hued in greens and yellows (pictured above).  A marble-topped table extends the length of the space, with further seating outside.   There’s also has a special Lounge menu that changes periodically.  The food and beverages offered are choice and sophisticated.  Here’s what I had on my most recent visit:

Le Ostriche – Four mouthwatering oysters are presented on a white plate, served on a bed of salt.  I get these every time, and they are absolutely excellent.   The shell left over from the oyster is also another example of an earth element.  Seashells are not a water element, as you would think.  I could explain why, but it might ruin one’s appetite for the oysters, and everyone should try them.

La Pizza Margherita – A Classic!  Tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese create the perfect balance atop a flatbread.  Fresh basil, a must for any margherita, embellishes the creation, adding a savory wood element to the meal.   Basil can be considered a wood element for two primary reasons.  One, its green in color, and green is associated with wood.  Two, basil is a plant, as are trees.  Hence, the wood element is present.

El Diablo – This drink takes yin and yang theory to a new level.  One of the basics in many Chinese philosophies,  yin and yang theory deals with how opposites are dependent upon one another, and both must exist together to achieve perfect balance and harmony.   And within each side of these contrary forces dwells a part of its exact opposite.   For example, night is dark, but there is bright moon present for light.  Hence, darkness (yin) with a little piece of light (yang) within it at all times.

The yin of the lime juice and cassis liqueur, with the yang of the ginger beer and tequila in the El Diablo, create a good balance of ingredients.  Also, two ingredients are alcoholic and two are not , illustrating another example of symmetry.   It also has two ingredients that are no stranger to one another (limes and tequila) paired with two items that are usually not comrades (cassis and ginger beer).

The fire element is also present in the beverage, both in its name and color.  As for its taste – its sheer perfection.

Calamari –  Tendrils of luxurious calamari breaded and served upon a napkin.  Notice in the picture above how it looks as if the calamari is within a flower, with how the napkin is folded.  This little touch suggest to the diner that they are eating something natural, beautiful and fresh.  A delicious aioli filled with enticing herbs  is served alongside.

Il Tramezzino – A luscious pressed panini served with provolone and prosciutto.  But what really make this sandwich auspicious is the black truffle butter used.  Wrapped in brown paper, the smell of truffles add a powerful aromatic chi (good energy) to the air.

Some other things I’ve tried there recently were:

  • Planeta Chardonnay – Sadly no longer offered on their Lounge menu, this was a very nice white wine, with hints of crisp pear.  It may still be available, just not on the Lounge menu.
  • Castelvero Barbera – A divine red that warms the soul.
  • The Derby – Vermouth, bourbon, and orange curcao trio together well in this vintage inspired beverage.

Another touch I really like here, oddly enough, are the place mats.  They’re of a woven mesh, pseudo-square in design, witch lends a subconscious stability and appeal to anything served upon it.   Drago does provide free parking, or one can take the red line to the nearby 7th Street Metro stop, and then proceed two or so blocks.  The Lounge menu is served throughout the day and evening, seven days a week, with most of the items averaging in the $6.00 – $7.00 range.  In fact, I have a feeling I’ll be there again next week…

Drago Centro

525 South Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

213  228-8998

Hours:    Lounge open Monday – Saturday  5:00pm – 10:00pm,  Sunday 5:00pm – 9:00pm

http://www.dragocentro.com/

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