This week Jonathan Gold pens a review on Acabar, the magnificently designed restaurant that took over the old Dar Maghreb space on Sunset Blvd. Beginning with an ode to chef Octavio Becerra's great use of sardines, the Goldster goes into the restaurant's expansive Silk Road-inspired menu and solid cocktails.
Where a concoction of crisp duck, pickled cherries and puréed eggplant might seem like something Becerra would tuck into warka dough for a new-wave bestila, he piles it onto a flatbread with Asian herbs as a kind of Chinese-Arab pizza. Salmon cured to resemble the Armenian meat basturma is served with fried potato latke balls and crème fraîche, and ends up tasting a lot like lox, bagels and cream cheese.
You really did just overhear men trying to pick up a supermodel in six different languages, none of which seem to be her native Estonian. And while you get the feeling that Becerra and his chef de cuisine, Kevin Luzande, aren't trying to rewrite the book of Los Angeles cookery here, they are doing light, amusing food, well-enough prepared, in a fairly spectacular setting of Moorish arches, elaborate tile and good booze.
Gold is also a fan of the fresh seafood, but in the end, all he wants is another can of sardines. [LAT]
Photo by Elizabeth Daniels
"There are long, wide, parsley-studded noodles, with meaty wild boar cooked with wine to a gratifying richness. And at lunch, a loopy fusilli with an uncomplicated amatriciana sauce gets to the very heart of what's good about the marriage of al dente noodles, bright tomato and sharp cheese...There's a warmth to the room, a lack of pretension or trendiness that's quite refreshing. And, for the most part, Auriana is cooking food that's both exciting and soul-satisfying. It's a combination that's as uncommon as it is welcome." [LA Weekly]
The Elsewhere: Darin Dines tries the sushi at Ohshima, FoodGPS goes to DarbinZ in Studio City, GastronomyBlog likes Sticky Rice at Grand Central Market, MyLastBite noshes on BadMaash, and Tasting Table gives the one-spot to Ditmas Kitchen.
·All Week in Reviews Coverage [~ELA~]