The Other Critics

Gold Blown Away by Shanghai No. 1 Seafood; Patric Kuh Reflects on Red Medicine

Red Medicine's spring rolls
Red Medicine’s spring rolls Photo: KevinEats

Jonathan Gold starts his review today: “Let’s get this out of the way: Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village is the most ambitious Chinese restaurant to open in Los Angeles in a decade — maybe ever…” If you’re not immediately sold, he himself was hooked by “the magnificence of the restaurant’s menu, a thick, glossy document stuffed with glistening pictures of spiked sea cucumber, elaborately produced photo essays (in Chinese) on Shanghai neighborhoods and old movie actresses, and more dishes than the human mind can contemplate…” Needless to say, he’s blown away, with several of his “best-of” nods going to dishes like the stone-pot fried rice, red-cooked squid, and a Cousin It doppelganger dish, in one of those really, really good Gold reviews that will probably take home an award nomination like that one on birria. [LAW]

Linda Burum looks into the building blocks of Chilean cuisine at Canoga Park’s Chilenazo, where eating a pastel de choclo is like “hitting culinary paydirt.” “Chilean cooking may be barely a blip on L.A.’s foodie radar,” she writes, “but little Chilenazo, with its something-for-every-appetite menu and talented team, may soon be changing the landscape.” [LAT]

We figured Jonathan Gold’s life was one constant, roaming exploration, but apparently, even he gets to indulge in some guilty pleasures from time to time. When not on the clock, Gold goes to Burrito Express in Pasadena, the city he calls home, ending up there, “end up there once a week,” for the “old-fashioned L.A. burrito: honest beans, a bit of cheese and a spoonful of stew.” [LAW]

After giving XIV and Sam Nazarian perhaps a little too much praise for perfectionism at the deceased West Hollywood Michael Mina project, Partic Kuh notes Jordan Kahn’s “swooping, curling fantasies” that “seemed to be rubbing up against the boundaries of the pastry discipline.” Now running Red Medicine, Kahn is “cooking at a level to dispel any misgivings about whether his version of the [Vietnamese] food is neo, ersatz, or authentic,” the critic writes. Kuh ends, “He’s not attempting to dumb down Vietnamese food; he pays his respects to the canon without trying to reinvent it or, for that matter, adhere to it. The effect can be transporting.” [Los Angeles]

J. Gold hits Sun Valley’s Moles de los Dioses, the solo throw-down from Casita Mex, Moles La Tia, and La Huasteca-vet Rocio Camacho, “renowned as a mole diva of distinction, a chef who takes the classic moles only as a jumping-off point for her fantasy moles made with things like coffee, white chocolate, pistachio nuts, hibiscus and rose petals.” Mmmmm! They serve a lot of great stuff besides the insdpired moles, he says, including a pork dish that translates into “monkey meat,” making us want it all the more. [LAW]

One Eric Beteille asks Mr. Gold the inevitable question about why there are so many beer pubs popping up in town when it’s so “Denver 1991.” Without mentioning that there has never been a better moment to be drinking beer in Southern California as right now, Mr. Gold recalls the story of some ass-head bartender who recently called him out on mispronouncing Pliny the Younger. He points the way to KTown’s Beer Belly and gets in a beautiful last swipe at The Mile-High City in writing, “If there were beer pubs approaching Lazy Ox, Night + Market, Gorbals, M.B. Post, or Waterloo & City in Denver in 1991, you probably wouldn’t be living in Los Angeles.” Burn! [LAW]

Gold Blown Away by Shanghai No. 1 Seafood; Patric Kuh Reflects on Red Medicine