1) Santa Barbara: SIV has apparently been out of town lately because her review today focuses on the two star worthy Julienne in Santa Barbara. From the beginning, SIV is pretty thrilled: "I was smitten the moment the platter of house-made charcuterie came out. This was a serious effort. Everything on the plate with the exception of prosciutto was made in-house...Served with bread and sharp grainy mustard, the charcuterie plate is a wonderful and welcoming way to start a meal at this little jewel of a place." The food isn't the only shining star, "[s]ervice is deft and unobtrusive, with a personal touch...The menu showcases fine seasonal ingredients, local for the most part. Add simple delicious desserts and a savvy wine list for a very personal restaurant where everything comes together. Sometimes a dish doesn't live up to its potential, but not often...The progressive American bistro also turns out some excellent pasta...Main courses are generally well-conceived too...Now when I find myself in Santa Barbara, I know where to go. [LAT]
2) Culver City: The Goldster is off to Sang Yoon's new non-burger concept, Lukshon, "an edgy, grown-up restaurant serving an Asianized, farm-centered, technique-oriented small-plates menu, very much like Animal, Lazy Ox, A-Frame and Red Medicine, but with even more polish: a new sort of cuisine." Gold suggests ordering "Yoon's foie gras ganache...smooth, cool cubes of pureed duck liver, dusted with powdered carob and sprinkled with nuggets of what resembles Rice Krispies Treats. You probably could sell them as fancy chocolates in a shop on Abbot Kinney...I've never had anything quite like the dish of tiny bulbs of squid stuffed with fermented ground pork, but I've stared at recipes for it in Vietnamese cookbooks. The sauce, a kind of pesto made with the pungent Vietnamese herb rau ram and Malaysian candlenuts, is from a fantasyland where Liguria meets Kuala Lumpur...when you order beef tartare at Lukshon, the lozenges of raw, chopped meat come out resembling the Isaan tartare called koi soi...Authenticity is the least of Yoon's fixations...But what matters is that [his dishes are] good. [LAW]
The Elsewhere: The Find discovers Jangchung-Dong Wong Jokbal, Dig Lounge tries The Spice Table, Eat: LA visits Pure Luck, Eating LA chills out at Carmela Ice Cream, gastronomy hits Night + Market, kevinEats at the Magnum Crew Royal/T pop-up, and Midtown Lunch samples Bru's Wiffle.