This week Jonathan Gold finally drops his review of Gwen, Curtis and brother Luke Stone’s Hollywood temple of meaty pleasures. The Times critic admires the “display of Victorian lavishness” that is the restaurant’s retail butcher counter, and drops some high praise for meat he cooked himself:
The last time I was in, I picked up a beautifully trimmed rack of wild venison — salted, seared and finished for five minutes in a hot oven, it was one of the most profound things I've ever eaten, all the brooding, wintry flavors of the woods concentrated into a few soft mouthfuls of flesh. [LAT]
J. Gold then focuses in on the dining room situation, which he likens to a “world of anxiety” due to the mandated $95 tasting menu and pricy wine list. He describes the meal as “pretty straightforward, much closer to what you might expect to eat at a fancy dinner party than at a tasting menu restaurant” before honing in on that incredible steak:
But you’re going to want steak — everything about the restaurant primes you for steak. That 12-ounce Blackmore Farms New York strip you have your eye on is an extra $185. You start to think about when your car payment might be due, or the pair of Yeezys you’ve had your eye on, or the price of a discounted Jet Blue ticket to New York. But you bite. And it’s a … really good steak, not as concentrated as the A5 Japanese Wagyu from Cut perhaps, nor quite as salty and compelling as that two-bite Wagyu at Urasawa used to be, but mineral-rich, just chewy enough, tasting of an animal’s life well-lived. The Yeezys will wait. Gwen is kind of designed around the idea of Fear of Missing Out. [LAT]
J. Gold ultimately comes away impressed with the place, even in its most ambitious moments.