This week, Besha Rodell hits the first restaurant concept by the Houston brothers in the heart of Hollywood, Butchers & Barbers. The LA Weekly critic finds the food exceptional, especially for the gritty area, where dining options "tend toward cheap and crappy or expensive and crappy." Rodell cites the "clever vegetable dishes" and the burger as particularly enjoyable:
Butchers & Barbers' American bistro menu ranges from bar food - ultra thin fries with crisped sage, a killer burger that is as straightforward as it is delicious - to dishes that are downright artistic. A smoked trout comes over a smooth hummus made of celery root and is topped with flowerlike rounds of slivered radish and lush soft-boiled egg. It's the kind of dish that wouldn't be out of place at a restaurant far fancier than this, due to both its looks and its subtle pleasures. [LAW]
However, she seems rather peeved by the forced "everything-is-meant-to-be-shared" experience:
Even more than at other places that insist on sharing, Butchers & Barbers seems to play this particular game to avoid the hassle of pacing dishes in the kitchen. If everyone is to share and everything is to come out as it's ready, then there's no way I can complain when, say, my burger comes out 10 minutes before my fries, or my mammoth pork chop arrives before the couscous with feta and blood orange that I ordered with an appetizer in mind. This kind of dining speeds things up and makes life easier on the kitchen and the waiters. I'm not so sure it makes anything better for customers, though. [LAW]
Ultimately, Rodell awards Chef Luke Reyes' New American cuisine two stars.