The Other Critics

J. Gold Feels Back at Home at Huge Pastry Tree; Kuh Crashes Santa Monica Place

Photo: Javier Cabral

Jonathan Gold looks back at high school, when “most of my friends were still obsessed with the orange butter at the International House of Pancakes, I was taking the bus to Chinatown for breakfasts of salty tofu and pork sandwiches.” His beloved Taiwanese breakfast haunt Yi Mei has been reanimated as Huge Tree Pastry, making him feel at home again and riveted by its fried turnip cakes and a just-smoked chicken, with the kind of smell “that causes cats to commit felonies in the better cartoons.” [L.A. Weekly]

“With a name as awful as that,” Brad A. Johnson is surprised to find Meet more booming than neighbor Le Saint Amour. Soon he discovers that the two husband-and-wife-owned restaurants are friends and the similarities at these traditional bistros don’t end there. He’s not charmed by the steak tartare at either place, but loves the charcuterie and main courses at Amour. He finds a polish lacking at Meet, but “there is one area where Meet absolutely clobbers Saint Amour, and that’s with its steak.” In the end, he finds “both bistros are quite good.” [Brad A. Johnson]

Getting married? First of all, our condolences. If you’re in need of a rehearsal space, Mr. Gold recommends Tavern, which “has farm-oriented cooking based on American classics your great-aunts will remember fondly, and is just the right size for your party to neither dominate nor be dominated by the buzz.” [L.A. Weekly]

Jonathan Gold has no beat on where Ludo will pop-up next, but feels his final week at LudoBites 6.0 “started to show not just an imagination but a polish I haven’t seen in his cooking since he left his post at Bastide.” Sous vide egg, snails in mole, and mackerel ceviche wow the critic, while Ludo’s blood sausage shepard’s pie was “one of the best things I have ever had.” [L.A. Weekly]

S. Irene Virbila never made it to Obika in Milan, but she did get to a version in the mall in L.A. Even if certain Italian eating experiences “can’t be replicated in L.A,” she loves the salumi and mozzarella, and finds many of the pasta dishes “better than those at many full-scale Italian restaurants.” She wishes the antipasti had more variation, but overall thinks, “It’s not Milan, but it’s close enough.” One-and-a-half stars. [L.A. Times]

Patrick Kuh visits Ozumo where “As surprisingly nuanced as the food can be…it feels more safe than exciting.” Still, he acknowledges that chef Roman Petry “definitely possesses talent.” Over at Sonoma Wine Garden, Kuh thinks “as concept restaurants go, it’s flawed,” a confusion that spreads to the menu. Still, “There are moments when Sonoma Wine Garden articulates Germanic food in a way that’s pitch perfect.” [Los Angeles]

J. Gold Feels Back at Home at Huge Pastry Tree; Kuh Crashes Santa Monica Place