This week Besha Rodell makes the trek to the South Bay to check out Chef Michael Fiorelli's Love & Salt. In a rather charming approach, the LA Weekly critic uses her husband's grumpiness (that Friday night traffic on the way to Manhattan Beach is no joke) to give the review an overarching storyline. While the evening may have started at Love & Salt's packed bar with discordant cocktails, the mood quickly improves with an outrageously delicious bone marrow cavatappi pasta:
But when the bowl of pasta arrived and the server took the large bone and scooped out all that marrow, and when she dumped the ramekin of bread crumbs, parsley and cheese into the bowl and advised us to stir it all up, his mood began to shift. This was different and odd and, yes, kind of brilliant. [LAW]
Dish after dish, Rodell finds Chef Fiorelli's cuisine whimsical and "just straight-up surprisingly delightful:"
Fiorelli imbues the menu with humor but also serious technique, evidenced by whimsical dishes such as a mortadella hot dog on a brioche bun, piled high with a finely diced pickled-vegetable relish. For $45 you can order a roasted glazed pig's head, and it comes out just like that: a whole pig's head along with condiments and toast. It's a brand of macho meat fetishism that doesn't really appeal to me (I love head meat, but that's not to say I want to stare the beast in the eye as I enjoy its face), but hey, whatever floats your boat. [LAW]
Love & Salt walks away with a glistening three stars.
The Elsewhere: The Offalo digs the fresh gastropub fare at Santa Monica's The Independence, Bill Esparza makes the pilgrimage to Sabores de Chalma for blue corn tlacoyos, and Unemployed Eater eats through a nine-course burger tasting menu at Umami.