Bergin's has been a fascinating place since Brandon Boudet took it over last summer, partly because you're unsure whether you have fallen prey to an elaborate put-on or whether you really have stepped back into Raymond Chandler's L.A., whether the names of the paper shamrocks still stapled to the ceiling are of authentic provenance and whether the dinginess of the barroom is real.
Smoke some salmon, serve it with oatcakes, soda bread and a thick dill vinaigrette — it could be Irish, right? Melt some Irish brie in a crock. Make a "cottage pie" with beef stew and mashed potatoes. Serve hot pretzels with mustard. Lay out a wedge of iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing and little cubes of bacon and you at least have an Ireland of the mind — an Ireland with steaks, lots of steaks, from tough little grass-fed baseball steaks to expense-account Wagyu strips with Irish whiskey peppercorn sauce.However, for a true taste of Ireland, Gold recommends ordering the corned beef and cabbage, "a dish with roots in the immigrant cooking of New York's Lower East Side, repurposed and given meaning." Curiously, jambalaya hits the menu sometimes, too, "easily the best in town," and while this dish doesn't necessarily fit the theme, "the confusion is part of what can make Tom Bergin's a magical place." [LAT]
B-Rod talks about "exceptional" Mid-City Oaxacan restaurant Gish Bac and its goat barbacoa: "Go with a friend, and get both the goat and the lamb, which is cooked in avocado leaf and chiles and comes with a bowl of juices for dipping the meat. If you order the lamb, you'll get a plate ahead of the main course, a mixture made of all the lamb offal, deeply spiced and with a kick of dark heat. With a flavor much like a spicy black sausage, it's fantastic scooped up on corn chips ... When a family brings generations of tradition, craft and expertise to the table, the results are pretty special indeed." [LAW]
The Elsewhere: e*star LA hits Mo-Chica, Eat: LA considers Bludso's BBQ, Eating LA dines at Silver Lake Ramen, gastronomy visits Umami in Pasadena, kevinEats at Red Medicine, and Potatomato tries The Sycamore Kitchen.
[Photo: Elizabeth Daniels]