The Other Critics

Virbila Lured to Cube by Market-Driven Tweets; Gold Reconquers Cacao’s Carnitas

Pizza at Cube
Pizza at Cube Photo: Hadley Tomicki

S. Irene Virbila is hanging at Cube, lured by many a market-driven tweet from the chef. She writes what you might already know, saying, “Cube is a great little neighborhood restaurant, warm and familial, with honest seasonal cooking.” Weekly regional Italian menus, pizzas, veal Milanese, fresh mozzarella, country cooking, Piedmontese steak, and “a great energy” net two stars for the market. We think she would have added at least one more star if she ate the chicharrones from 4505 that they stock. [L.A. Times]

Mr. Gold has many suggestions for great carnitas even if he misses the “long-simmered chunks of shoulder” that used to dominate a departed grocery store in Pasadena. His current favorite is the duck carnitas at Cacao Mexicatessen, “a shotgun marriage of traditional and European cooking techniques splitting the difference between carnitas and confit.” [L.A. Weekly]

While paying tribute to Border Grill’s 25 years, Jonathan Gold calls Casa’s take on Mexican cuisine “louche.” That’s not a good thing. [L.A. Weekly]

Jonathan Gold finds Pasadena’s Daisy Mint to be a different animal in the nighttime, while in the day it’s a standby for Asian-fusion cooking that can be spoken in the same breath as Pie ‘n Burger or Smitty’s. Occasionally dying for an Asian restaurant “where you can order waterfall pork without pointing at the menu and your elbows probably won’t stick to the table,” he finds that “this is fusion without the pretension — and without the exotic cocktails.” [L.A. Weekly]

While impressed with its space, Los Angeles magazine finds the cooking at Mani’s on Maple to be “the kinds of rustic dishes that one could make at home on an ambitious evening or relish in a small corner café.” Even more pointedly, it writes, “the simple food is overwhelmed” by the space and libations. [Los Angeles]

Merrill Shindler feels at home at Sophie’s, where the beer list is huge and the food comes out a little too “crispy.” If that somehow has you chomping at the bit, he warns, “you do need to approach the place with a certain degree of…patience.” Translation: The service kinda sucks. [Daily Breeze]

Virbila Lured to Cube by Market-Driven Tweets; Gold Reconquers Cacao’s Carnitas