The Other Critics

Jonathan Gold Go Bragh at Tom Bergin’s; Bill Esparza Explores Little Belize

The kale bed of Colcannon
The kale bed of Colcannon Photo: Tom Bergin’s

“How do you even begin to rehabilitate a cuisine that for most people begins and ends with fish ‘n’ chips, soggy pies and St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage?” Basically telling Eire institutions like Paul Rankin and Ross Lewis to pog his hon, Jonathan Gold treats the Emerald Isle’s culinary contributions with roughly the same respect as Irish culture was given by the producers of Leprechaun. Taking a look at the remake of Fairfax legend Tom Bergin’s Tavern, the critic mostly seems to praise chef-owner Brandon Boudet for his work at Little Dom’s and Dominick’s, though he concedes the reinvention of colcannon salad is refreshing at this “Ireland of the mind,” a phrase he uses twice while maintaining that Boudet’s competition is “mostly…faded memories of bad steam-table food.” “The corned beef is a bit bland,” Gold writes, in one of those reviews that hardly makes clear whether he really feels the place, though he dubs the jambalaya-out-of-water “easily the best in town.” [LAT]

Bill Esparza checks in with the “dozen-plus Belizean” places on offer in South Central’s Little Belize, doting on both Maya and Kriol creations. He susses out “smoky, spicy chirmole” at Mar’s Caribbean Gardens, sups on snacks at small Ella’s, and macks on conch fritters and meat patties at longstanding Joan & Sisters. [LAT]

And speaking of Esparza, Besha Rodell recolonizes Gish Bac, the South L.A. Oaxacan he put on the map last year. She appreciates the “ramp-up of flavors” and appearance of “an unexpected ingredient” in the moles and–how could one not?–flips a switch over some of the best goat and lamb barbacoa to be offered in a local sit-down restaurant. [LAW]

Jonathan Gold Go Bragh at Tom Bergin’s; Bill Esparza Explores Little