Eatin’ In LA 4

November 11, 2017 at 10:23 PM Leave a comment

There are a lot of things to dislike about Los Angeles dining. Traffic can be unbearable arriving there. Restaurant hostesses can be unsmiling mannequins you know are waiting for the Hollywood “big break” that will never arrive. Good restaurants are densely packed, almost beyond capacity. Despite all these negatives, when a stunning meal arrives, everything else disappears. During this trip to Los Angeles, Jeff was able to visit three new places and revisit an old favorite. While none were as good as his favorite LA spot, Animal; it was a good trip.

Without question, the best place on this visit was Gjelina. Located on the electric Abbot-Kinney, there is an energy in this place that adds to the vibe and charm. Jeff grabbed a friend who enjoys a wide variety of different foods and they set about sampling the menu. They started with the Wood Roasted Pears salad. The roasting added an unusual flavor to the pear. Once combined with the creamy Burrata cheese and salty Prosciutto, the flavor told us, we weren’t in Kansas any longer! Without asking, the fine server paired our selected vegetables and proteins into two mini-courses. The Tiger Prawns and Grits were served with Crispy Sunchokes. The prawns were delightful and it was nice to have the sunchoke, usually a supporting player on a plate, stand on its own. Neither Jeff nor his guest had had Turnips for a long time. Gjelina roasted them and served them with chimichurri. Combined with the wonderful Lamb Sausage, this was another winning duo. A touch of Butterscotch Pot de Crème and a perfect dinner was only made better with delightful conversation.

Almost as good was Rustic Canyon. After a day of work, Jeff asked a coworker to join him. It was later, so again, the place was packed and full of energy. Surprisingly, another Pear Salad jumped off the menu and onto a shared plate. This time mixed with jicama, endive, Bleu cheese and (wait for it) sunchokes! It was like kismet and it was wonderful. Jeff ordered the Pork Chop, designed for sharing, but just the right size for the only meal of the day. His guest fully enjoyed the Rockfish. For dessert, Jeff could not resist the Pavlova. A frail shell of merengue covered with a fruit mix of raspberries, pomegranate and white chocolate. It was a beautiful end to a very enjoyable evening.

Falling a touch under the wire was Petit Trois. Perhaps one of the most in-demand tables in Los Angeles is Trois Mec. Tickets are sold in advance and dinner takes place next door to Petit Trois in an old pizza parlor where the signage has not yet been altered. So popular, the owners decided to open a “no reservation” sliver of a dining room next door. Jeff arrived there around 4:00 after a day of checking out the art, culture and Frank Lloyd Wright aspects of LA and it was half-full. He grabbed a spot at the counter bar and started to eat. The Endive Salad was a delight. Mixed with walnuts, avocado, anchovy and Ubriaco cheese, this was a great salad. Based on this excellent primer, expectations were high. Unfortunately, that hope diminished once the entrée arrived. The Chicken Confit was VERY salty. The meal breading (corn?) fell off the meat and had an odd grainy texture. The meat was tender, but these failed elements were simply not in concert with a level of expectation Jeff had anticipated. The Flan Cake was perhaps the final blow. Good, but just not at a level of quality one would expect. Petit Trois, not linked with the buzz-about Trois Mec would likely be a has-been in the LA dining scene. Connected with this familiar pedigree, it attracts a legion of food-hungry people, like Jeff. Too bad. Taste buds could have been better spent elsewhere.

Before leaving, Jeff wanted to try another visit to an old favorite, Bäco Mercat. As before, everything was great. Haricot Vert was good, the Pork was better and the upside down cake was maybe best. As before, this place does not disappoint.

LA is many things. Trends begin their buzz here and Hollywood has invented hype and un-realized promise. Restaurants in LA receive an inordinate amount of attention, some deserving, but most the result of hype and buzz. It takes work to sort them out, when you can, it is worth it!

http://www.animalrestaurant.com/ 435 N Fairfax Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90036 323-782-9225

http://www.gjelina.com/ 1429 Abbot Kinney Boulevard Venice, CA 90291 310-450-1429

http://rusticcanyonwinebar.com/ 1119 Wilshire Boulevard Santa Monica, CA 90401 310-393-7050

http://petittrois.com/ 718 W. Highland Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90038 332-468-8916

http://www.bacomercat.com/ 408 S Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90013 213-687-8808

Entry filed under: Eatin' Out of Town. Tags: , , , , , .

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