The pastrami is perhaps less consistent than the high-quality industrial product places like Langer's and Art's tend to use — it can be crumbly at times — but when it is right, which has been almost all the time lately, it is superb: yielding, succulent and almost impossibly rich; natural contours of the meat curling into the soft bread; the subtle tang of mustard; hints of smoke, garlic and clove....
You can watch the cooks slice almost transparent slivers of house-smoked salmon and sturgeon to layer on cream-cheese-smeared bagels. (If there is a better version of lox and bagels in Los Angeles, I have yet to taste it, and the thinly sliced onion does nothing to detract from the lusciousness of the fish.) [LAT]
Rocher's menu tends toward modernized Catalan favorites: things like toasted bread rubbed with tomatoes and garnished with a pungent slice or two of house-made sausage, roasted beets with tiny spheres of goat cheese, and prawns seared on the flattop, sauced with just a little oil. There is caramelized cauliflower served with frizzled, garlicky broccoli florets; salty, delicious artichoke omelets buried under greens; and jiggers of almond gazpacho flavored with garlic and sherry. Sea urchin flan or cherry gazpacho? Why not. [LAT]
Where the Hart & the Hunter tends toward minimalism, to the point where you sometimes wonder if it is possible to put together a proper meal, 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, and you grow to expect the nectarine salad in the sweet corn soup, or the cherry tomatoes and field peas with the fried green tomatoes — but it is occasionally hard to tell where you are on the plate. [LAT]
Depending on your mood, at Daw Yee you can get flavors as familiar as a mild beef curry rife with masala, with hints of India but somehow sweeter and more mellow. Or you can go for "pork mix," a mound of bouncy pig offal, deeply flavored, slightly stinky and stewed in soy and star anise, served with a bracing chili sauce. [LAW]
Perhaps it's that freedom, or the lack of Tominaga's influence, but 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, which is something the jaded, ex-Georgian side of me expected at the Hart and the Hunter but thankfully never encountered. [LAW]
The Elsewhere: FoodGPS tries Lum-Ka-Naad, GastronomyBlog likes the breakfast pretzel at Field Trip, The Offalo gets the early bird special at Ladies Gunboat Society, and Darin Dines goes to MB Post again.
· All Week in Reviews Coverage [~ELA~]