The Other Critics

J. Gold Finds A New Home at Pal Cabron; Virbila Probes Providence’s Tasting Menus

Providence Photo: Hadley Tomicki

Jonathan Gold hits the new Cemitas y Tlayudas Pal Cabron in KTown, comparing the mulleted dude on the wall to “the Mexican equivalent of a regular on Jersey Shore.” The new shop isn’t quite “the Sistine Chapel of macho-pig kitsch” that the Huntington Park location was, which makes it a little more kid and in-law-friendly. The luscious cemitas remain the same, and he approves of the tacos arabe. Even if he misses being close to the paletas at Los Alpes, he relishes in having the restaurant’s connected juice and ice cream bar, Natura, close in hand. [L.A. Weekly]

S. Irene Virbila puts The L.A. Times’ expense account to work on tasting menus at Providence, one of our very best. Reaching its fifth year, Virbila deems it “one of the last bastions of fine dining left in a restaurant scene obsessed with bistros, trattorias, food trucks and pop-up restaurants.” She describes Cimarusti’s striking levels of nuanced flavors and sensations, but admits that the decision to go a la carte or prix-fixe tortures her. Sounds like the tasting menu wins, as she has been disappointed by menu dishes that “suffer from too many ingredients, and look clumsy…as if no one in the kitchen remembers how to plate a full-sized portion.” Before laying down three stars, she writes, “Almost 15 miles inland, the kitchen…is consistently turning out the best seafood cooking in Los Angeles — and some of the best in the country.” [L.A. Times]

Dying to induct your kids into the taco lifestyle? Mr. Gold knows the landscape has changed in the last two years, with regional specialties complicating the once simple question. After discussing such matters with a loncheros association lawyer, Gold discovers high esteem is expressed for “Arturo’s, also known as El Gallito, also known to generations of Pasadenans as the Yellow Truck,”since it opens at 6:00 P.M. and does asada, buche, lengua, and cabesa right. [L.A. Weekly]

Ever battle with your food? Literally? We’ve been scuffed by a particularly juicy Thai crab, while Jonathan Gold gets burned, scraped, and smell at Jae Bu Do, which “may seem a bit extreme the first time you visit.” After fighting with grilled Manila clams, tiny sea snails, scallops, and abalone, he approaches hagfish, the “slimiest creature in the sea” that pops out of its prey’s stomach like Alien. His true scars are internal after watching the skinned “eel-like fliets” wriggle on the grill. “You wish that you were anywhere else, eating anything else.” [L.A. Weekly]

Merrill Shindler likes Long Beach’s La Palapa del Mar, a “stylized, almost elegant reimagining of a palapa,” with chupacabra cocktails and an eclectic menu with lobster benedict, Spanish omelets, and beer-battered shrimp with guava sauce. They’re a little too sweet with everything, but have some of Belmont Shores best views. [Daily Breeze]

“The ethnic mishmash” at Sonoma Wine Bar, “may not be graceful,” writes Los Angeles, “but it’s delicious.” The wine list, which lacked any acceptable values when we were there, is deemed “thoughtful, eclectic.” [Los Angeles]

J. Gold Finds A New Home at Pal Cabron; Virbila Probes Providence’s Tasting