This week, Jonathan Gold heads to Studio City to review The Bellwether, chef Ted Hopson and Ann-Marie Verdi's perpetually packed gastropub. The Times critic describes the "aggressively on-trend" menu; with dishes like charred Brussels sprouts with bacon-maple gastrique, roasted carrots with hazelnuts, and scallop crudo; as "the instant soup mix for a modern restaurant."
But at The Bellwether, those dishes are done right:
That scallop crudo — thinly sliced raw shellfish with green apple, chile and soy — is impeccably fresh, arranged in a manner that recalls an expensive Chinese banquet, and zapped with a bit of celery whose piercing green flavor lingers through the next sip of wine. Those roasted carrots are flavored with chamomile and carrot juice, sprinkled with hazelnuts, and strewn with a salad of what turns out to be their own tops, a treatment that falls somewhere between Northwest bistro cooking and Ducasse. [LAT]
Ultimately, the Goldster concludes, "unlike most of the chefs who put stewed chickpeas or flatiron steaks on their menus because they've heard that's what they're supposed to do, Hopson can actually cook."