This week, Besha Rodell reviews Moby's Silver Lake vegan restaurant Little Pine. After giving credit where it's due and praising the space that "feels like the breezy yet cozy home of an impossibly stylish friend" and the exceptional wine list that is "one of the best things about the restaurant," the Weekly critic gets down to business and goes after the food.
Unfortunately for Little Pine, LA already has excellent vegan and vegetarian cuisine, thanks to restaurants like Crossroads and non-vegetarian restaurants that offer plenty of outstanding meatless dishes. With such amazing vegetable-centric fare, "the food at Little Pine suffers by comparison:"
Little Pine's vegetable dishes don't get much more complex than a small serving of intensely lemony chopped wild mushrooms with a little flurry of arugula on top. The dish's description would indicate some kind of medley, but if there was anything other than maitakes, they were impossible to detect. There's a farro salad with pomegranate seeds, walnuts and small cubes of butternut squash, and its simple heartiness made for perhaps the most enjoyable savory dish I had at Little Pine. But still, you could get something similar — and probably more dynamic — from the Whole Foods cold case.
The cooking problems here go so much farther than what can be explained away by the absence of meat or dairy. Many things lack salt or acid or fresh herbs or anything that might brighten a dish, while other things swim in acid, so much so that it obliterates other flavors. [LAW]
B.Rod concludes, "if Moby is setting out to show diners that a vegan diet can be satisfying and delicious — as he's said he hopes to do — the current offerings at Little Pine are unlikely to make that case." Little Pine receives one star.