The Other Critics

Craft Casts A Spell on S. Irene Virbila; Gold Talks Taco Town at Tinga

Tinga Photo: Tatiana Arbogast

No, no new restaurant being reviewed again this week. Instead, L.A. Times’ critic S. Irene Virbila visits Craft, which half of the Westside could already tell you is awesome and worth going to. After getting its connotations of celebrity chefdom out of the way, she writes that Craft “continues to be a serious restaurant with seriously good food.” She’d even “go back on my own money (rather than the paper’s) in a heartbeat.” With one or two grumbles about “overreaching for effect,” Virbila loves the cooking of chef Anthony Zappola and team, who are “strongest on meat…of the highest quality and expertly cooked.” She quickly catches on that Shannon Swindle “doesn’t miss a beat” and sums it up by saying, “We’re seriously short on grown-up big-city restaurants run with passion and professionalism. Craft is one to treasure.” That’s not all we’re short on. Craft gets three and-a-half stars stars! [L.A. Times]

“When we move to New York or Paris, it is tacos that haunt our dreams” Jonathan Gold says about about Taco Town U.S.A., that is, our own beloved L.A. He gets all Aztlán on our aztes, reminding the youth that “tacos existed on this land long before it was conquered by the United States” and that they’re “as much a part of the landscape here as… the saber-toothed tigers that moulder beneath tar.” After reasoning upon the current resurgence in local taco inspiration, Gold takes us to Tinga, who take “the garnish of the taco as seriously as it does the meat.” He feels the passion here and you should too. He even allows you to enjoy these slightly upscale tacos and the pastor ones at Tacos Leo without being a big old sell-out to the Taco Lifestyle. [L.A. Weekly]

Where oh where to get obliterated on a night of izakaya action without needing to secure a safe ride back form Torrance? Mr. Gold knows about a dozen he’d recommend from Downtown to Sawtelle, and yes, Torrance. Since izakaya are ragingly popular, he’s been chowing down at Korean Izakaya, of which he makes a few good recs before busting out a push towards Dan Sung Sa. [L.A. Weekly]

J. Gold almost, hypothetically sounds beschnozzled on Piedra Almas Mezcal as he confusingly spills a rumor that the Palms Guelaguetza we’ve been eyeing for months could return with the chefs from Supper Liberation Club and a host of hot ideas from restaurateur-around-town Bricia Lopez. This would be a very good thing, especially after hearing about SLC’s “chile-rubbed monkfish tails that had been sprinkled with toasted grasshoppers.” [L.A. Weekly]

Though Darioush’s food is a “sometimes at-odds mix of French and Middle Eastern flavors,” Los Angeles magazine admires its bravery. Still, the chef is better when sticking to the former, as “The kabobs are exceptionally juicy, and Danesh’s deft use of spice stops just short of overwhelming the meat.” [Los Angeles]

This week, Merrill Shindler loves Chelsea Pub and Lounge, deeming it “the most laid-back drinking establishment in Hermosa Beach.” [Daily Breeze]

Craft Casts A Spell on S. Irene Virbila; Gold Talks Taco Town at Tinga