Besha Rodell extols the well-executed menu by chefs Angela Hernandez and Rob Lawson at Sawtelle newcomer Flores, complimenting the "food of the moment" quality that the slick restaurant manages to produce. Doling out two stars, Rodell calls the cuisine as something smack dab in the middle of the American food renaissance:
It would barely be a new American restaurant these days without hanger steak and roast chicken, and Flores delivers both of these, as well as sides of mac-and-cheese and broccolini with chili and garlic...All in all, the execution at Flores is far better than at many of its counterparts...Flores' kale salad is one of the best around, presented as an assertive Caesar, the creamy anchovy and sharp cheese of the dressing standing up to kale's rugged texture.
[Photo: Elizabeth Daniels]
The LA Weekly critic continues,
"There's no lack of technique on display: The skin on a filet of striped bass is as crisp and perfectly salted as a potato chip, served with pops of tomato, capers to liven it up and cauliflower to ground the fish's sweet flesh. Toothsome ham hock cozies up with rich, creamy chicken liver for a terrine that's basically the yin/yang symbol of pâtés, the ham hock providing the textured smoky base to the lush, silken liver...In many ways it's because of the obvious technical proficiency at Flores that I longed for something a little more original. Surely, with all of their talent, these chefs have more to show us than food that looks like what 100 other places in town are serving."
In the end, Rodell wonders if it's because customers want these "cover" dishes instead of originals, calling the endeavor "a sound business model":
"Hernandez and Lawson execute the food of the moment flawlessly. And it's quite possible that the dining public simply expects beets and burrata on every menu. After all, this is not a Flores-specific problem — much of L.A. seems to be slave to this eerily repetitive repertoire....I'm not asking for Bazaar-like theatrics, but I believe they could sing some originals that might compete with this menu of covers."
The Elsewhere: Refined Palate revisits Bar Bouchon, raving about the pate de campagne, Eating LA likes the laffa at Joe's Falafel, Table Conversation digs the butter chicken at BadMaash, GastronomyBlog tries the cheap eats at Elena's in Glendale, KevinEats tries the tasting menu at Saam again, and The Minty goes on a Highland Park cocktail and tacos crawl.