Well, exactly one week after Jonathan Gold’s middle-of-the-road review of Pok Pok Phat Thai, wherein he essentially just talks about how to order at the restaurant, the Pulitzer Prize winner has dug in his heels for a review of Terrine. Kris Morningstar’s restaurant earns some praise from Gold, but it’s hard to overlook the jabs buried inside the text.
Some issues Gold takes with Terrine:
It’s noisy. "The music is too loud — it is always too loud…"
The wine is expensive. "François Renaud … has assembled a list of French country wines that are probably too expensive for the informal dining room…"
The menu is a bit too broad. "Terrine does fine as a bistro or a brasserie, but the kitchen ranges perhaps a bit further than it might."
Don’t stray far from the well-known French classics. "Morningstar's version of choucroûte garnie, the Alsatian dish of sauerkraut and cured meats, is the most expensive thing on the menu, but it also may be the dullest."
Overall, though, Gold enjoys the warming French cooking from Morningstar, particularly the charcuterie section and the garbure, a soup so dense with flavor and ingredients that it's "almost thick enough to support a spoon upright."
Over on the LA Weekly side of things, Besha Rodell offers a quick look at Napoleon and Josephine, falling hard for the simple European flavors and cute interior.
It is staffed by Corsican servers who beam and thrill at telling you about the food and wine of their homeland, who struggle a little with English in that oh-so-charming fashion often captured in movies about bicycle-riding, dark-haired women in small French towns. There is a lot about Napoleon and Josephine that's reminiscent of small European towns, both the Hollywood and the real versions...
Indeed, the food is maybe the most transportive factor here, and it transported me directly to the small country restaurants throughout Europe, and particularly France, where you eat good and hearty food that isn't life-changing but is honest and classic.
And for LA Magazine’s part, longtime reviewer Patric Kuh drops three stars on Love & Salt in Manhattan Beach. The still-anonymous critic dishes on chef Michael Fiorelli with a few killer lines, currently available in the print issue:
He knows the Italian canon and the classic repertoire, bridging the two with more off-hand contemporary gestures, like heaping seared cauliflower leaves on mascarpone polenta.
Fiorelli elevates a chicken liver crostone with a shaving of guanciale, or pork cheek, that's so thin and crisp, it shatters when you take a bite.