This week, Garrett Snyder is back at it to give his take on The Cannibal, the New York-born beer-and-butcher concept in Culver City's sleek new mixed-use complex the Platform. After giving credit where it is due and mentioning the restaurant's exceptional beer and wine list and nicely curated cured meat selection, G. Sny states, "that's where the excitement ends."
Unfortunately, many of the "intriguing" nose-to-tail dishes "don't live up to their food-geek descriptions." The "gooey, salty" cochinita pibil headcheese is described as a flavorless endeavor, with the matcha chicken liver mousse sounding like an experiment gone awry:
With other dishes, the tweaks are too clever for their own good. Silky chicken liver mousse comes blended with matcha, which lends an odd, greenish hue yet fails to deliver the earthy, grassy flavors you might expect from the green tea powder. Unless it's St. Patrick's Day, why turn your liver green for no reason? [LAW]
The Weekly critic goes on to criticize the vegetable dishes, the large-format leaning menu ("it is irritating to find yourself at a butcher-themed restaurant as a party of two and be practically limited to a thick-cut pork chop and a roasted half chicken"), the poorly executed sausages, and the foie gras cherry pie.
There's little doubt the L.A. version of the Cannibal has the potential to develop into a great restaurant. The service is wonderfully polished, and the raucous, cool-kid vibe is something most operations spend years trying to cultivate. But there's a palpable sense that the kitchen is still trying to find a balance between what its creative impulses are saying and what the average person wants to eat at a meat-centric restaurant, which would be less troubling if the prices didn't leave such a thin margin for error. Until that is worked out, you might consider meating elsewhere. [LAW]
Ouch. The Cannibal earns two stars out of five.