Besha Rodell Anchors at littlefork; Jonathan Gold Tips His Hat To Tamarind

Littlefork Photo: littlefork

Besha Rodell sails into Jason Travi’s Hollywood port, Littlefork, floating on a wave of nostalgia for East Coast seafood. Though she’s not sure the space “conjures New England in any real way,” she thinks “Travi gets the classics right,” from his lobster roll to the “very fresh, very cold” oysters to the “creamy and soothing” chowder. Of course, there are “places where the finished product didn’t quite live up to its hypothetical promise,” including a ho-hum poutine. Chicago barman Dino Balocchi’s cocktails shine as one of Littlefork’s “great strengths,” she says, which “helps somewhat with the weakness of the wine list but only to a point.” Rodell concludes, “As an act of nostalgia and devotion, littlefork fills its niche nicely. It also fills another (perhaps more important?) niche: that is, an almost low-key place for non-douchey cocktail consumption in the heart of Hollywood.” [LAW]

When pressed to pinpoint Southern California’s best Indian restaurant, Jonathan Gold’s usual quiver of cheap-eats picks falls a little short, while his meals at Tamarind’s Newport location failed to satisfy him like his first visit in London, with the critic calling it “luxury cooking for the Robb Report crowd.” Reeling for answers, the critic endeavors on a few local taste-tastes, skipping between the well-scrubbed Subcontinental cuisine at this fancy O.C. Indian and the less exalted curry shops and tandoor squeezes of Artesia. Finding the ingredients at the latter cheap and the food overcooked and/or one-dimensional, he returns his attentions to Tamarind, finally grasping its curries as “deep and complex…almost regal,” its out-of-season soft-shell crabs going “down like potato chips,” and a quinoa salad “that would have been the star of any meal at Hollywood’s M Café.” Tamarind, by default of its luxury trappings and bigger budget, “may be SoCal’s best Indian.” Which means it also may not be, right? [LAT]