The Other Critics

Shoemaker’s Savory Scores With Virbila; Gold Throws a Taco Party

Photo: Tatiana Arbogast

S. Irene Virbila visits Paul Shoemaker’s Point Dume restaurant Savory, after recounting the chef’s brief stint at Bastide. Finding “every detail is just right” in the room and relishing “the small and seasonal” menu, she suspects “his smart contemporary cooking is going to entice Westsiders…to his new address,” despite its locals feel. Eating the best steamed mussels she’s had in a while and naming Shoemaker’s fish dishes as “the most outstanding,” Virbila opines,”Nobody is cooking seafood of this quality, really, west of Providence.” Two and a half stars. [L.A. Times]

Jonathan Gold celebrates National Taco day, recommending Arturo’s Puffy Tacos in Whittier, clandestine pastor, Mariscos Bahia Ensenada’s fish tacos, organ meat tacos in H.P., and Nina’s “salsa de semillas” on just about any taco. [L.A. Weekly]

Mr. Gold deems Musso and Frank “a rare conservatory of early-20th-century American cooking,” which includes jellied consome, “how genteel Los Angeles refreshed itself on hot summer afternoons” long before he introduced the city to ice noodles. [L.A. Weekly]

XIV has finally found it groove, thinks Patrick Kuh. An early trip here revealed “the demarcations between modern-day nobles and the rest of us were too vividly realized.” Worse, the restaurant “mixed tastiness with tastelessness and seemed generally confused.” Now Kuh finds fun and flavorful reward in the restaurant’s lighter touch that showcases Mina’s attention to detail, despite a little unevenness. [Los Angeles]

S. Irene Virbila visits SBE’s new Cleo at the Redbury, finding it “much more welcoming” than the black-and-white photo of Theda Bara that greets her at the door. Dissing Momed and their epic duck schwarma a little bit, Virbila states, “It’s about time somebody did a hip Middle Eastern restaurant” before she melts over chef Danny Elmaleh’s piquillos served with feta, the wood-fired artichoke leaves, flatbread, kebab, and lamb sausage. She warns it’s being overrun by “the lemmings who follow everything trendy.” Perhaps a glance into why she sticks to reviewing so many ancient restaurants? [L.A. Times]

This week Merrill Shindler loves Mottainai Ramen and calls it “a wonderfully savory restaurant.” he suggests the “red bomb,” warning that “Your mouth will burn, but and you won’t be able to stop eating.” [Daily Breeze]

Shoemaker’s Savory Scores With Virbila; Gold Throws a Taco Party