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Jonathan Gold Ventures Beyond the Cronut at 189 by Dominique Ansel

The whimsical menu is full of surprises

189 Dominique Ansel
Cabbage soup at 189 by Dominique Ansel
Wonho Frank Lee

This week Jonathan Gold returns to review one of the splashiest openings of 2017, 189 by Dominique Ansel. The respected New York-based pastry chef made huge waves when he opened not only a bakery, but his first full-service restaurant, at tourist hub The Grove. The Goldster notes that “the migration of pastry chefs to the savory kitchen is not common,” but when it does happen, typically brings “a chemist’s precision to the savory kitchen.”

At 189, this translates to dishes that aren’t quite what they seem:

There is that milk bread masquerading as street corn, which may rely on many, many steps or may be as simple as injecting rolls with purée. There are paper-thin slices of tomato moistened with balsamic, laminated onto sliced honeydew melon and sprinkled with herbs. The smack of salty and sweet, the contrast between chewiness and lusciousness, is not unlike what you might expect from a plate of prosciutto and melon, although the dish tastes nothing like it. [LAT]

Unfortunately for the inventor of the cronut, not everything’s a hit:

Some of Ansel’s dishes read better than they sound. Salt and pepper spare ribs, crisp on the outside and sous-vide soft within, are both too bland and over-rich, although the squeeze of fresh pineapple juice at the end does make them resemble something you may have eaten at Trader Vic’s after a cousin’s bar mitzvah. A Chinese New Year special of split and fried Dungeness crab was acrid and overcooked. [LAT]

However, with, as one would expect, outstanding desserts, that exceptional “elotes” milk bread, and a lovely cabbage soup, ”it is easy enough to be happy here.”

189 by Dominique Ansel

189 The Grove Drive, , CA 90036 Visit Website