A Small Bite of LA

February 19, 2017

IMG_9511You’re unlikely to find prettier food than what they’re serving at  the ultra-hip Destroyer in Culver City; it’s a true feast for the eyes. Whether you will consider it an actual feast is another matter.  The chef Jordan Kahn (his previous restaurant was Red Medicine), likes to introduce odd ingredients to one another, and my own sense is that they often don’t get along.  English peas, job’s tears, gooseberries and frozen cream made an exquisitely interesting salad, but I found his take on the now-ubiquitous steak tartare, despite its delicate airs (that’s it down below)…

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rather heavy.  Beneath those feathery vegetables was ground beef (along with a fair amount of naked beef fat), blobs of smoked egg cream, oddly slimy pickled mushrooms and radishes. 

Here’s how he serves roasted baby yams:

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wrapped up in lettuce, with avocado, yogurt and lemon and dusted (like so many dishes) with tarragon powder. 

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To be honest, my favorite dish (the one that seemed most conventional, and most like a meal), was the least photogenic: a big bowl of riced potatoes with chicken confit, roasted lettuce and hazelnut splashed with yuzu. I will leave it to your imagination: it was both delicious and substantial.

Had a really wonderful dinner at Wally’s in Beverly Hills, that began with these adorable mini-bagels (the bagels were remarkably light, and spread with sprightly lemon ricotta rather than cream cheese), and smoked salmon.

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Then there was this spectacular salad. The burrata, persimmon, beets and pomegranate were very content to snuggle up witheach other.

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I loved the pot of clams and spot prawns, roasted in a wood-burning oven and topped with curried lobster butter.  As you might imagine, Wally’s has a memorable wine list. (No wonder Beyonce and Jay Z like to dine in the private dining room!)FullSizeRender (15)

Had a lovely meal in the high airy atrium at  Spring.  It’s the perfect place to lunch downtown: I can’t get this textbook version of salade nicoise out of my mind.  Yes, it’s a simple dish, but it was in perfect balance, a tangle of  yellowtail tuna, olives, tomatoes, anchovies, green beans, tiny potatoes, celery and fennel that made each bite distinct and different from the one before.

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Lovely dessert too:

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Two more little tidbits.  I couldn’t stop eating the red endive and fennel salad I had one night at the counter at Osteria Mozza; A few shards of cheese, and then the sweet and sour dance of a date and anchovy dressing. I liked it even better than the endive and blue cheese salad at Flora in New York, and that’s saying something.

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Finally, I have to mention the completely appealing smudge of fresh English peas at Jar.  (I’m so partial to the restaurant’s  Jidori chicken, rich with lemongrass and garlic, that I dove in before I remembered to snap its picture.)

The peas reminded me of a dish the late Michael Roberts pioneered (at the LA restaurant whose name will now not be mentioned). Long before the current craze for innovative guacamole he was constructing his own sly version out of frozen peas. Jar uses fresh peas, which is even sweeter.

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1 Comment

  • stacey charrow says:

    With regards to the pea dish that reminded you of a late Michael Robert’s dish from his restaurant who’s name you would not mention – thanks so much for not mentioning the name or I would have instantly lost my appetite!

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