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Besha Rodell Drops Two Stars on Josef Centeno's Ledlow

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The downtown cafe earns praise and quizzical looks from the LA Weekly critic.

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.

LA Weekly’s Besha Rodell filed a review on Ledlow this week, the erstwhile Pete’s Cafe taken over by Josef Centeno last year. It’s a somewhat middling two star affair, with Rodell asking pointedly "What is Centeno trying to achieve with Ledlow?" She goes on to answer her own question, at least in part:

The reality of Ledlow, at least two name changes and four months in, is not so straightforward. Yes, an underlying guiding principle of Americana is detectable, and some dishes on the menu are unequivocally classic: There are Parker House rolls that arrive in a cast iron skillet, golden on the outside and gorgeously fluffy on the inside, served with a side of pimento cheese made from an old-school recipe that produces a smooth cheese spread rather than the more of-the-moment chunky version…

Where Centeno really hits his stride is with dishes that nod to the past but have just enough of this chef's playful sensibility and penchant for bold flavoring that they feel both classic and modern.

Rodell also bemoans the lengthy menu, calling some dishes found there "just plain odd," before noting that "some of the nostalgia simply doesn’t work."

The ElsewhereKevin Eats hits Terrine, Midtown Lunch’s Zach Brooks and Lesley Balla of Zagat team up for burgers at Escondite, while The Minty goes all in at Barley Forge Brewing Company in Costa Mesa.


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