This week, Besha Rodell returns to review Winsome, the all-day Echo Park restaurant in the Elysian that “embodies that dream of stylish, carefree California living so completely, it's hard not to hate it a little.” That has a lot to do with the servers who are “ridiculously beautiful, not in the cliched L.A. struggling-actor way but in a casual, bohemian way, as if they all just stepped out of an Anthropologie catalog.”
However with those good looks comes service “which can be charming and neglectful, oftentimes because it seems like the waiters are having such an awesome time hanging out at the end of the bar flirting with one another.”
Thankfully, the food that comes by way of chef Jeremy Strubel, most known for his time as chef of Rustic Canyon, seems to make up for the service, with a culinary style that is to “douse everything in lots of bright, herb-based and often creamy sauces, to spike things with lots of acid, to throw a bunch of ingredients that sound fairly random into a bowl together and to create something harmonious and interesting and delicious.”
That translates into some delicious dishes:
Vibrant, blindingly green sauces are a specialty. At breakfast, tangy basil tahini pools around a potato rosti (a large, flat, crispy potato pancake) that's draped in smoked salmon, and cilantro yogurt perks up a plate of "grains and eggs." An addictive, deep green sludge of herb pistou tops a lunchtime dip of whipped feta combined with pureed shelling beans — you slop the stuff onto grilled bread and wish they also served it at dinner. [...] You get the feeling the chefs in charge could spend years thinking up new ways to combine leafy things and creamy things, and you hope they do just that. [LAW]
B. Rod concludes:
There are some restaurants that present a fantasy that enrobes you when you walk in, that manage to make you feel as though you are fabulous simply for being there. Winsome is not that restaurant. Either you belong there or you don't — you'll know the answer as soon as you walk in through the gorgeous, heavy blond wood front door. If you do, Winsome will be your new favorite spot to sip a cocktail or a macchiato and feel blessed to live in a city that provides such stylish quality in its restaurants and way of life. If you don't belong, all this louche comeliness is a little hard to swallow. Even so, I suggest you un-grit your teeth long enough to eat. Unlike people or restaurants, it's hard to hate food simply because it's so effortlessly wonderful. [LAW]
Winsome scores two stars.