Much like his recent ode to The Bellwether in Studio City, Jonathan Gold seems to feel that Dudley Market in Venice really belongs in this specific time, and this dedicated place. His newest review from today snarks slightly at Venice’s "postmodern mansions crowd[ed] next to crumbling apartment blocks," before building into a crescendo conversation about Jesse Barber’s gnocco fritto, or his sea urchin risotto, which comes served inside the shell.
Mostly, Gold says Barber is working the menu of the moment: a little expensive, a lot sustainable, and tightly wound with flavor. He writes:
What looks like a random pile of endive and pink treviso leaves hides a couple of salami slices and a handful of fried chickpeas, like an Italian aperitif platter disguised as a salad. Nobody in Los Angeles is cooking like this at the moment...
The menu at Dudley Market tends to be pretty seasonal, so the plump, wintry boudin blanc with Brussels sprouts and apples is served with asparagus tips and reduced berry juice in spring, and the seared black bass with beets becomes seared black bass with citrus and avocados. I loved a March vegetable entrée of spring onions with tiny roasted turnips and kale leaves on a rough mash of green peas enhanced with a kind of pea jus.
Ultimately Gold lauds the place, and Barber himself, for serving a kind of food that is "as satisfying to think about as it was to eat." Not bad.