This week, Jonathan Gold leads his review by saying that he wasn't trying to troll one of his dining companions. That's because he brought the vegetarian diner friend to Charcoal, Josiah Citrin's new backyard barbecue of a restaurant that's really an excuse to serve high quality grilled meats. But The Goldster isn't all about the meat necessarily, although he does laud the quality. He's all about the cabbage:
The best dish in the restaurant may be the wedge cut from a whole cabbage roasted on the coals, outside leaves burnt and crumbling, inside steamy and sweet. The cabbage is served with tart yogurt and sumac, but the overall effect still manages to be more Mitteleuropa than Middle East, its char and wine-like complexity alluding to something like a Romani campfire dish best enjoyed in the bitter cold.
Of course the belly of Los Angeles waxes poetic about a gloriously charred cabbage wedge because, that's what the BoLA (Belly of Los Angeles, esq.) does in his reviews. Back to the meat:
The meat is likely to be brushed with chimichurri or sweet barbecue sauce, in the manner of backyard barbecue, except for the slices of 35-day aged lamb shoulder, tough and a little dry, although tasty, which are brushed with honey and coriander instead.
If the duck is offered, you should probably go for that — the crunchy, salty, charred skin is delicious, almost completely rendered of its fat, and the flesh of the dry-aged animal is as bloody, dense and full-flavored as you've always wanted duck to be.
The best line of the review? "A soundtrack that veers toward dad rock." Which means, take your pops, especially if they live on the Westside.