This week, Jonathan Gold visits Chris Feldmeier and David Rosoff's homage to southern Spain, Moruno. The Times critic describes the Original Farmers Market restaurant as feeling "comfortable and lived-in, more like a 20-year-old place everybody takes for granted than like the hot new restaurant on the block."
As for the fare, the Goldster digs the simple dishes like anchovies with Normandy butter that pair exceptional well with Rosoff's housemade vermouth, and the restaurant's vege-centric small plates:
But as at many Arab-influenced restaurants, a substantial number of the best dishes tend to be vegetarian, like slivered artichoke leaves sautéed with garlic, or French fries dusted with powdered lentils and spices, or a blackened roast squash buried under a heap of the nutty Egyptian spice mixture dukkah crisped in brown butter. Roasted cabbage slathered with a tart, mushroom-flavored yogurt is a cabbage that eats like a steak. [LAT]
Surprisingly, J. Gold finds that Moruno doesn't excel in its namesake dish:
Oddly, the morunos themselves, both chicken and lamb, may be the least of the offerings here, OK tucked into a sandwich with mint and onion perhaps, and satisfactory with a drink, but wet, bland and a little mushy, as if they had been overmarinated but underseasoned. [LAT]
The review concludes with high praise for dessert by Feldermeier's wife Dahlia Narvaez, paying special attention to the ethereal deep-fried biscuits with vanilla ice cream and tangerine marmalade.