This week, Jonathan Gold reviews The Cannibal, the Culver City eatery that was nearly eaten alive by an LA Weekly review. The Goldster describes the menu as offering "riffs on the usual New York/L.A. small-plates tropes," with New York-sourced cured meats "at a time when so many kitchens are making their own charcuterie." Ultimately, the critic explains, "The Cannibal is an easy place to dismiss."
However, credit is given where it is due, with J. Gold appreciating the kitchen's creativity:
But whatever else the Cannibal team may be doing, they are giving themselves permission to be weird: sausages given the flavor profile of root beer or breaded and fried like chicken parm; hot dogs topped with tripe chile; bar-snack skewers of beef heart, juicy bacon and salty halloumi cheese instead of chicken and steak....A 60-day short rib, sawed into lateral slices like Korean-style L.A. galbi, was seasoned with little more than salt and age. I loved a simple terrine made by layering butter and thinly sliced beef, which had a luxurious fattiness that not even A5 Japanese Wagyu beef quite approaches. [LAT]
Unfortunately, the same success was not achieved with the General Tso's pigs head, which kind of creeps the Times critic out:
And yet we are back with that pig's head on its huge iron plate; uncomfortably full but unwilling to give it up for good. We snap off the ear, or at least its sweet burnt edges, and we scrape strips of chewy meat from the muzzle. We dig along the jaw, and are bothered by the horrible contorted grin of the charred skull more than we are perhaps supposed to be. I am not a stranger to pigs' heads – I have prepared my share of testa, Italian head cheese – but there is a presence, a sense of being about this head that I have experienced in no other. [LAT]