After schooling us on “The Rules” and offering a few barefaced accounts of what a particular restaurant looked like at a specific hour of the day, shiny new L.A. Weekly critic Besha Rodell drops her first full restaurant review today, looking at Post & Beam. It ain’t easy being the new kid, of course, and one may question how deep her local expertise extends when she breaks down Baldwin Hills, ribs our repetitive “farm-to-table” rap, or spins a short bio of chef Govind Armstrong, but overall, the critic demonstrates an impartial new voice that can be trusted to speak freely. Coming straight outta Atlanta, it’s also hard to argue with her relish for Southern-influenced cooking. Rodell appears to be charmed by the restaurant’s energy and ambitions, and understands the mountain it’s climbing. But it feels a little all over the place, she notes, with hits and misses scattered in equal proportion.
The critic notes that the restaurant’s grow-your-own approach is a grand-slam, writing, “At Post & Beam, the veggies are where it’s at. Those long-cooked greens have exactly the right amount of acid and base, and are tender without succumbing to mush.” Later she writes, “Plant-based dishes win out in the appetizer department as well.”
She’s less enchanted by the pizza, watching her “first-rate” ingredients slide right off of the char-less pie. Cocktails are deemed “slightly watery” and the meatballs “forgettable.” Rodell then notes the “straight-up disappointments,” including mussels that shatter out of their bootless broth and a strawberry dessert that is just too dense.
Overall, the critic senses potential here, but would like to see the restaurant take a firmer shape, veering off of simpler proteins to stretch its wings with more confidence. She expounds, “I get that comfort is the name of the game here, but comfort doesn’t always have to equal safe.”