This week, Besha Rodell reviews Wolfdown, the Silver Lake eatery by Jason and Chrissy Kim, the proprietors of nearby Forage. The former Nicky D’s Pizza space is just another example of the gentrification of the area where now “Moby has a vegan restaurant on Rowena. Around the curve, Whole Foods 365 has replaced one of the crappiest Ralphs the world has ever seen.”
But the Kims have done a beautiful job with the interior, capturing “the magic of a treehouse, of climbing up off the street and into a woody, leafy world above it all.” Served in that lovely space is a menu that “is international in scope, with lots of Asian influence and the same focus on showcasing produce that gave Forage its reputation,” as is exemplified by the steak tartare:
There are dishes that could easily act as the subject of a graduate dissertation on modern American food and its cultural signifiers, such as an "Ethiopian-style" steak tartare served with crackers the shape of the Wu-Tang logo. This isn't much like kitfo, the traditional raw-beef Ethiopian dish, but is delicious with its curry-like collection of spices that bleeds yellow onto the plate. Why the Wu-Tang crackers? I'll leave that to the status and symbol academics to decipher. [LAW]
The Weekly critic does take issue with the larger plates “in part because it's not clear why these plates are larger. The fun of a menu like this is built on the ability to taste a ton of stuff, and the portion and prices on the lower half of the menu limit that ability, mostly with dishes that would work just as well at half the size (and half the price).”
Ultimately it’s a fine review for a restaurant that has largely flown under the radar by anyone who lives outside of Silver Lake. B-Rod concludes:
There's no doubt that, like Forage, Wolfdown represents an evolution for the neighborhood. The wine, beer and sake lists are pretty great, the space is beautiful, and the food is mostly smart, creative and on-trend without being too derivative. If I'd never been priced out of Silver Lake, I would have been able to walk to Wolfdown from my house, and I'd have been happy for that opportunity. [LAW]
Wolfdown receives two stars out of five.