The Goldster check in with year-old Next Door by Josie, the adjacent addition to chef Josie Le Balch's decade-old namesake California farm-to-table hub in Santa Monica. Some plates sing, while others fall short:
When ordering Next Door, you should probably ask yourself whether a dish you have in mind might be reasonably enhanced by the attentions of a French-trained chef or whether it might not. Both the chili and the ribs are relatively dry and bland, for example, while a po' boy, a special one night, benefited from an excellent mayonnaise and the careful frying of the fish. While the cheeseburger's superstructure collapsed after a bite or two, the shrimp and grits were chefly: zapped with umami but not extravagantly, flavored with smoky bacon, slightly crisped but not overcooked.
But the half roast chicken ordinary — golden and crisp-skinned enough certainly, but a little juiceless from its trip through the oven. On the other hand, the sloppy joe of roast pork with fried rapini and sharp provolone (an interpretation of the sandwich made famous by Tony Luke's on Philly's South Side) is gloriously pungent and delicious.If anything, the caramelized popcorn with beer and bacon is an ideal way to start the meal. [LAT]