The Other Critics

Brad A. Johnson and Virbila Scope Scarpetta; Gold Entranced by Salt’s Cure

Jonathan Gold labels FarmShop’s french fries worthy of cult-like devotion. Fortunately, the flower-vase arrangement, “not much bigger than a small order at…McDonald’s” is not $10.50, as originally stated, though that didn’t seem to be stopping him for a glowing endorsement. He also spells Jeff Cerciello’s name wrong, which overpaying for french fries can easily do to a man. [L.A. Weekly]

S. Irene Virbila notes the recent invasion of imported chefs to L.A., “suddenly as attractive as Las Vegas to restaurateurs with satellite restaurants to shop.” After digging into Scarpetta’s crudo, she seeks comfort in al dente pasta and finds, “this kitchen excels at it,” much as they handle her white truffles and ash-spiced venison with great skill. “Not everything works as well,” she writes, slagging off the $24 spaghetti for missing its soul, calling a sirloin tough, and a duck breast boring. She finds the execution on point, but wonders if this link in the empire will ever have its own personality separate from the rest. Two and a half stars. [L.A. Times]

We say, old boy, must we shoot our own pheasant to get a proper preparation in this town? Mr. Gold claims that while it’s hard to find on the city’s menus, it’s “practically a specialty at Drago in Santa Monica and Drago Centro downtown.” [L.A. Weekly]

Brad A. Johnson dispels the notion that Scott Conant’s “beautiful” spaghetti has supernatural powers, though he understands the allure of “a towering beehive of carbs whose every strand is slobbered with a thin sheen of bright red, almost orange tomato sauce…whose tomatoes taste like they might have been grown…in the backyard of someone’s grandma in Puglia, picked just a few hours ago, still warm and bursting with sunshine.” No wonder his date won’t let them skip it on a return visit to Scarpetta. The salads wow him, with every leaf as perfectly positioned as “Justin Bieber’s hair,” and the city’s “most exquisite burrata.” The ash-rolled venison and kitchen’s superb way with fish cement his excitement. Three stars. [Brad A. Johnson/Angeleno]

Salt’s Cure confuses Jonathan Gold as to whether it’s more of a restaurant than a butcher shop. That still hasn’t deterred him from spending a lot of time here, where “charcuterie really is at the center of the place” and mostly everything else “you get here is meat.” They have a gargantuan supply and from the New York strip to the bacon to the pork shoulder to the burger, it’s all prepared with the care befitting a half-butcher shop. [L.A. Weekly]

Brad A. Johnson and Virbila Scope Scarpetta; Gold Entranced by Salt’s Cure