After a ten year run, Canele closed in Awater Village earlier this year to give way to Journeymen. The new restaurant from Gjelina vet David Wilcox and a company of seasoned industry vets (hence the moniker) builds on the same neighborhood feel that both Canele and its predecessor Osteria Nonni brought to the block. Jonathan Gold takes a look at the small shoebox eatery with praise for the duck and earthy small plates:
One night there was a big, delicious stack of herby chanterelle mushrooms sparked with dates and crunchy almonds..,Another night saw ham with goat cheese and grilled pears; chickpea salad with curls of grilled squid; and slices of smoked amberjack with mouse melons, which taste like cucumber but look like watermelons that Barbie would encourage Ken to bring along to the picnic.
Unlike LA Weekly’s review from Karen Palmer, Gold doesn’t focus too much on the service issues, though perhaps it’s because the Times critic is fairly well known at this point. Still, Gold does mention the all-inclusive prices and the team-oriented service model that helps Journeymen stand out. He goes on to praise the homey, approachable cooking:
Wilcox’s cooking, rooted in country French cuisine, hews closer to the old-school Julia Child-style aesthetic than any restaurant I’ve been to in years, even though dishes like crunchy-skinned grilled daurade with roasted tomatoes or seared scallops with a cheesy Mornay sauce may not be anything Child would have dreamed of making
Oh, and on the subject of Journeymen’s duck, here’s what the Goldster has to say about that:
When Wilcox comes across a resource as precious as Liberty ducks from Sonoma, he tends to use all of it. There is something admirable about that.
And if there’s anything even slightly negative in the review, it’s this line:
The vegetable-centered cooking is presented with competence rather than genius.