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Jonathan Gold on Carrots, Gin and Juice at Commissary, Besha Rodell Slams Barton G

The LA Times critic appreciates the vegetables at taco truck maven Roy Choi's newest restaurant, and Besha Rodell just doesn't get Barton G.

Wonho Frank Lee

This week, Jonathan Gold discusses what it takes to make a "memorable carrot" and the merits of Roy Choi's vegetable/hotel coffee shop concept, Commissary, in the Line Hotel:

So there are those carrots, roasted until they are shriveled and black, drizzled with tart yogurt, sprinkled with radish sprouts and served with green sauce. The carrots are good, of course, sweet with a tiny note of bitterness from the char, and they disappear as quickly as a plate of French fries. They can be placed in no particular tradition - neither Californian nor neo-Nordic, and definitely not Korean. I assume that they are the sugar-rich purple carrots that have been popping up at the farmers market lately, but no special claims have been made for them. You just point at a picture of a carrot, and this is what shows up on the plate: pre-verbal cuisine. [LAT]

While Gold seems to enjoy Choi's carrots, he is less amused by the restaurant's secondary functionality as a hotel coffee shop, where the food is good, but decidedly unoriginal. In closing, the critic hopes for a tightening of concept and makes an ambiguously intentional reference to Snoop Dogg.

Perhaps Commissary will evolve into a restaurant where Choi's cuisine proves to be as grand as his ambitions, and the disparate threads weave into a unified cuisine. In the meantime, it's a good place to eat radishes and contemplate gin and juice. [LAT]


Meanwhile, Besha Rodell blasts her "utterly comical" meal at Barton G, the newish LA outpost of the restaurant owned by the namesake Miami-based restaurateur. Rodell advises taking advantage of waiters' offers to snap photos, explaining:

You might as well go ahead and get the photo. That's not so much to fit in - there's more selfie action happening in this restaurant than at your local middle-school dance, entire tables waving and passing around their phones like some sort of drunken Instagram kabuki - as to get your money's worth. Because that $50 steak that comes with a colossal knife and fork? Not worth $50. It's the props you're paying for. [LAW]

All in all, the LA Weekly critic is irked by the prices, undistinguished food, and her drunken neighbors, but muses that perhaps she's "missing the point." The theatrical restaurant receives one star.


The Elsewhere: Daren Dines continues to dine at Bestia , EstarLA takes notes on the spicy glory that was Sriracha Festival, Midtown Lunch explains what's on offer at Adam Perry Lang's Serious Barbecue Pop Up , and the Glutster lists Eight of the Best Tortas in Los Angeles.


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