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Leona Gets the Jonathan Gold Treatment, and It's Mostly a Positive Affair

The critic fixates on the roasted squash.

Wonho Frank Lee

This week, Jonathan Gold heads to Venice to review on Leona, Nyesha Arrington's first restaurant with a menu of her own. The former chef of Santa Monica's The Wilshire and Top Chef contestant does a courageous job experimenting with California cuisine, as is exemplified by her whole roasted squash:

The skin is thin and tender, but it still gets between your teeth, and the seeds steam nicely inside the squash, but you may never have — I never had — quite dealt with eating the stringy part before. [...] There is bit of aggression to this squash — a vegetarian equivalent of the hint of transgression you find in the water-bug sauce that comes with the fried chicken at Night + Market Song or the foie gras on the loco moco at Animal. It's a statement of purpose. [LAT]

The global fare has mostly hits, with the Times critic appreciating the beef heart meatballs and black cod, but feeling less enthusiastic about others:

She makes a valiant stab at Sichuan-esque wonton stuffed with salsify and rich lamb belly, although you won't be tempted to forgo the ones at Chengdu Taste. She marinates short ribs in honor of her Korean grandmother, braises them and serves them with a roasted marrowbone — it's tasty, if you don't think too hard about your favorite galbi jjim in Koreatown. [LAT]


The Elsewhere: Darin Dines has a concise take on Broken Spanish and Bill Esparza eats sweet enchiladas at El Colimense.


123 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292 (310) 822-5379 Visit Website