Showing posts with label shrimp. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shrimp. Show all posts

Friday, March 11, 2011

Croquer: Son Of A Gun


It's no secret that I sort of worship Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook.
Their gut-busting ode to tasty carnage Animal is basically ChocoMeat's Shangri-la. So despite my slow growing love for devouring sea critters, I was still enthusiastically biased going into their new joint Son of a Gun. Hand me a bib and shell-cracker or whatever, I'll eat anything these guys can throw in a pot.


The 3rd street storefront (formerly Restaurant 3, and Cynthia's before that) has been gussied up the likes that Animal has never seen. Marine and boating gear fills most of the wall space whilst plaid-shirted servers circle a monolithic communal table (always open for walk-ins), and bartenders stir cocktails under a print of a monkey about to kill a parrot. The scene is set for beautiful food consumption.


While we waited for our table, Michael, Andy and I sipped on a round of dry Sazeracs. Upon moving to our table we were alerted that the kitchen was out of Alligator Schnitzel! I almost walked out right then! Considering the options we picked pretty easily, well prepped for the menu thanks to some previews we had read. But regardless, starting is always a given - Oysters.


S.O.A.G.'s Malpeque Oysters on the Half Shell with classic condiments were sweet, fresh and supple, nary a lick of grit.


Our second plate out was new to the menu, a Smoked Steelhead Roe with Maple Cream and Pumpernickel. After one smoky-salty-sweet-creamy-crunchy bite, an audible sound resonated in each of us. Very impressive and sophisticated dish. Highly recommended.


We couldn't finish these two items without some proper bubbly, and S.O.A.G. is stocked for just that. Michael picked out the Saint-Chamant a Epernay Blanc de Blanc Brut, one of the most bone-dry, delicate and handsome Champagnes I've ever tasted. A stunning compliment to the entire meal.


A modest Squid Salad with Garbanzo, Mirepoix, and Radicchio surprised our palates with complexity, character, and the perfect amount of spice. A silent warrior.


The Lobster Roll with Celery and Lemon Aioli is dinner roll size, topped with the tiniest potato chips ever made. Tasty, but fell under the radar with only a single bite. Dare I say too small to share?


The Mussels with Tarragon, Pernod, Fennel, Toast arrived in a deep bowl sans-shell - to get right to the point. The soupy pastis-kissed cream sauce was pure elegance. One of my favorite mussel preparations to date.


This is where the meal began showcasing some really unexpected surprises. An elevated classic, the Shrimp Toast Sandwich with Herbs and Sriracha Mayo was incredibly toothsome, and a collective highlight. Crispy, buttery, herby, spicy, and satisfying, we seriously considered ordering another...


Luckily the Fried Chicken Sandwich with Spicy B&B Pickle Slaw and Rooster Aioli appeared just in time to distract us, a large mound of non-oceanic awesomeness begging to be taken quickly. I have to say our entire table may agree with KevinEats that this is possibly the best chicken sandwich. Ever. Tender, juicy, piquant... perfection.


Now, as a blogger I am always embarrassed to admit that I am not a huge fan of fresh water fish. Maybe it was all those trips to the mountains as a kid, watching the trout we fished getting their guts removed by my uncles, occasionally dangled in my direction. I am happy to report that I'm recovering from these issues however and beginning to really enjoy a well prepared fish. The Idaho Trout, Carrot, Potato, Caper Dill Butter made me a believer. The flaky sweet flesh eased off the skin effortlessly and blended nicely with the roasted root vegetables. Somehow this seemingly straight forward dish was one of my palate's favorites.


By now we were pleasantly pickled but ready for one more drink to take us into dessert. We giggled at the "Temperance" (non-alcoholic) section heading of the drink menu, and found the bubbly cocktails. Andy and I opted for the Air Mail while Michael perused the digestifs. A twist on the classic Air Mail (rum, lime, honey, bubbly), S.O.A.G. spikes the bubbly with Chartreuse Green VEP and just a kiss of lime. Went well with our first dessert...


Incredibly simple, the Frozen Lime Yogurt, Graham Crumble, Toasted Meringue didn't need frills, it was balanced and refreshing.


Skeptical of the Flourless Chocolate Cake, Banana, Peanut, Coconut Ice Cream description, I actually quite enjoyed the deconstruction. The banana was brûléed, the peanuts glazed in a heavy caramel beside sprinkles of coarse sea salt. Sometimes deconstruction works, and a swipe of a spoon across this plate did it for me.


Speaking of skepticism, after asking what the Hoboken Special was, the table shared a guffaw over the answer - frozen chocolate custard and... Pineapple Fanta. But who am I to turn down a challenge? Bring it on, we said. And son of a gun, we actually enjoyed it quite a bit. All of it.

8370 W. 3rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90048; 323.782.9033
sonofagunrestaurant.com
Son Of A Gun in Los Angeles on Fooddigger
Son of a Gun Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 31, 2010

Croquer: Brenda's French Soul Food

The rain was relentless. Somewhere across the Tenderloin, a sponsored brunch was well underway for attendees of Foodbuzz Fest. But Catherine and I stood under an umbrella, Philz Coffees in hand, patiently waiting amongst several other umbrella'd folk for our name to be called from the warm and dry doorway of Brenda's French Soul Food. I wasn't shocked when Windattack texted me, finished with the sponsored brunch and ready for a more substantial meal. "We're standing here in the rain. At least a half hour to go.. Join us," I said. "I'm told it'll be worth it."
A solid hour after our arrival, Catherine's name was called and the three of us filed into the cramped single room to our counter seat facing a mirrored wall. It was loud, cozy, and perfect. The sugar cane syrup cans holding silverware, Crystal hot sauce bottles, and Community Coffee bags lining the shelves above the register took me instantly back to New Orleans. I was so ready for this.
With a piping chicory coffee in front of me the menu became more manageable. The three of us decided to start with the flight of beignets.
The flight came in four selections: Plain, filled with molten Ghirardelli chocolate, Granny Smith apple with cinnamon honey butter, and crawfish with cayenne, scallions and cheddar. The only problem was that they came out at the same time as the rest of our food so we had to hurry to enjoy them warm. The savory crawfish beignet powdered with cayenne was my favorite.. as sultry as the South itself.
Catherine and Andy both ordered the Creole Veggie Omelette - filled with corn maque choux, tomato, onion, peppers, spinach, and cheddar. The star may have been the huge homemade biscuit on the side. Fluffy golden deliciousness.
I ordered one of the specials scrawled on the mirror in front of us - Shrimp & Grits. Here the classic was dressed up with loads of cheddar cheese and smoky bacon jam. Words cannot describe the pleasure derived from savoring each bite! And after the hour out in the rain I took my time to do just that. Well, and dork out with my fellow bloggers.

652 Polk St. San Francisco, CA 94102; 415.345.8100
frenchsoulfood.com
Brenda's French Soul Food on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Croquer: Lüke

World class celebrity chefs are to New Orleans what roach coaches are to Los Angeles; A prideful culinary infestation. A James Beard Award-winning NOLA restaurant group heavyweight, John Besh takes a fresh local approach to his menus, each inspired by a different period or aspect of the city's history. Domenica acknowledges the influence of Italian immigrants on New Orleans cuisine, American Sector (in The National World War II Museum) updates Americana classics, and La Provence is a bona fide country farm & kitchen that produces both livestock and produce for his restaurants.
For brunch on Saturday, we were swayed by the menu at Lüke, Besh's homage to the French and German brasseries of old New Orleans. We hailed a cab to the Central Business District's Hilton New Orleans St. Charles Avenue Hotel where Lüke resides off the grand entrance hall.
The ceiling was the first thing I noticed inside Lüke, with gleaming gold tin tiles and an impressive set of belt and pulley driven ceiling fans. The massive wooden bar filled half of the space, an ice bed on its corner filled with fresh raw oysters. We started with a round of Hendrick's gin bloody marys, an herby twist that may have to become my standard.
I had been looking forward to consuming a big plate o' cochon and eggs since landing in NOLA. And it was time. The smoky cochon au lait was scattered over an open faced biscuit, topped with two soft-poached eggs, southern greens, and tasso hollandaise. Flavor explosion! The greens were succulent and salty, the cochon tender and rich, Tasso hollandaise simply a sin. The eggs were undercooked for my taste (gelatinous whites), but overall a delicious and filling dish.
Larry favored the Croque Madame, a French classic of grilled ham and Emmenthaler cheese sandwich topped with a fried organic egg, served with a cone of crisp twice-cooked frites.
Michael ordered my second choice, the Louisiana shrimp and grits, with McEwen and Sons grits, Poche’s andouille, and two poached yard eggs. My allegiance may still lie with Mr. B's as far as NOLA shrimp & grits go, but still quite a satisfying Southern breakfast.
We attempted not to overstuff ourselves, it was apparently Besh Day for us, with reservations at his signature restaurant August just hours away...

333 Saint Charles Ave. New Orleans, LA; 504.378.2840
lukeneworleans.com
Lüke Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Voyager Bien: Sanibel, FL

Our crazy week at Walt Disney World ended blissfully on the Gulf Coast for a couple days of hardcore R&R. I loved the sleepy vibe of Sanibel, a skinny island community off of Cape Coral. We stayed at the Sanibel Inn, situated a few steps from the white sand, shell-filled beach.
We decided to prepare dinner at the hotel, so hit up Jerry's Foods for local shrimp and steaks for surf 'n turf and Florida Beer Company's Key West Southernmost Wheat, a Belgian style witbier kissed with key lime and spice. Summer perfection!
Despite the heat, I think I could have hung around Sanibel's beaches a bit longer, taking in the beauty and silently praying for its shores to be spared from the oil spill the news had just begun covering...
sanibel-captiva.org

Sanibel Inn
937 East Gulf Dr. Sanibel Island, FL; 239.472.3181