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The Mixed Emotions Behind Chicken-Fried Rabbit at Flores and the Ladies Gunboat Society

What to like, love and hate at Flores and the Ladies Gunboat Society, as told by Yelpers, restaurant reviewers and every customer in between.

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Elizabeth Daniels
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

After the somewhat shocking news that Brian Dunsmoor was decamping from Ladies Gunboat Society at Flores, the Southern-fried concept on Sawtelle remains in a bit of limbo. For now, the fried chicken and Hoppin' John goes on as normal, though with one flip already under their belt, it's no guarantee that Flores will stay that way forever.

For now, let's look into what the food world has to say about Ladies Gunboat's Southern specialties, from the big-name reviewers and small-time Yelpers. Some folks like Gunboat's full-frontal flavor assault, while others are decidedly mixed on the salty cooking and über-casual service. And very few people are comfortable paying for a bread surcharge. Here's the Good News/Bad News.

Word From on High: Both the Weekly and Times made it out to Ladies Gunboat at various points, with Gold remarking on Dunsmoor's "maximalist" approach, saying: "the Ladies' Gunboat Society serves you everything all of the time, as if the only possible structure for a dish is a Charleston meat-and-three. This isn't quite a complaint - the gaiety of Dunsmoor's compositions is actually kind of fun."

For her part, the Weekly's Besha Rodell (a longtime Southern food reviewer in Atlanta), is slightly less enthused: "The food at Flores & the Ladies Gunboat Society is a little more overwrought than what we've seen from Dunsmoor in the past. There's a heavy-handedness here."

Chicken-Fried RabbitWire: What's not to love about the soft, slightly gamey mix of rabbit when it's prepared like the South's best fried chicken? Not everyone thinks it's a match made in heaven, though.

  • "Chicken-fried rabbit with spiced local honey is both too oily and too sweet." [LA Weekly]
  • "The crisply fried rabbit, brushed with honey, is even better than the chicken - Dunsmoor knows how to fry things." [LA Times]
  • "The rabbit was done nicely - crispy outside, tender inside, but honestly it tasted like chicken. I left feeling like I should've just gone to Roscoe's." [OpenTable]

Neighborhood News: Some folks seem to like the place simply because it offers a change of pace to the myriad Japanese restaurants that line Sawtelle.

  • "I love eating Japanese on Sawtelle and actually really liked the Sawtelle Kitchen restaurant which was on the same premises before, so I was reluctant to try out the Ladies Gunboat Society at first. I was extremely pleasantly surprised." [TripAdvisor]

A Bit of Bread Business: The most popular complaint seems to be about the bread service, of all things.

  • "No soup. No bread. Everything exotic and alacarte except water. Corkage: $25, yikes! Cost me $65 a couple, no drink, and I left hungry." [TripAdvisor]
  • "Annoyed they tried to charge $7 for some bread that should have been provided FREE before the meal." [OpenTable]
  • "REALLY? Isn't bread pretty much free for restaurants?" [Yelp]

No Moor Dunsmoor: Of course, chef Dunsmoor is no longer manning the Gunboat, having departed for his own project. What's to become of the already-once-flipped concept at Flores remains to be seen.

  • "Dunsmoor is a celebrity... he seems fairly reckless. I doubt the restaurant wanted him to go." [Chow]
  • "The food's got a great base of Southern tradition to it, but the chef's twists and Cali-ish improvisations really worked for me. As for what's next, Dunsmoor and Strader are partnering up again for another restaurant concept." [Kevin Eats]
    Flores and the Ladies Gunboat Society
    2024 Sawtelle Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA 90025