The Other Critics

Gold Shines Another Spotlight on Kang Ho-dong Baekjong; Rodell Rebel Yells at Animal

Son of a Gun's fried chicken sandwich salute
Son of a Gun’s fried chicken sandwich salute Photo: KevinEats

Everybody’s talking Kang Ho-dong Baekjong these days, and today Jonathan Gold breaks down the barbecue spot owned by a South Korean “alpha-wolf extrovert who convulses with laughter at his own joke” who just got his groove back. Enduring the two-hour wait for a table at this pseudo “Korean Hard Rock Cafe,” and finds the food is “of surprisingly high quality.” Counting six replays of “Gangham Style,” Gold notes, “Sobriety is not considered a virtue here” and recommends getting the shaken dosirak, “a Korean kid’s lunch box” that “the waiter whangs…around until its contents rearrange into a crude bibimbap.” Slipping into his favored, oft-imitated Jay McInerney narrative mode, the critic concludes, “A glazed look overtakes you — beer and meat and soju…You are going to be feeling this in the morning.” LAT]

Besha Rodell gives a big ol’ howdy-do to Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, reminding inquiring minds that the Floridian chefs behind Animal and Son of a Gun are cooking some of the most authentically successful Southern cuisine in L.A., with an influence “both subtle and explicit.” Dotolo concurs and though you will find “Asian influences on [their] menus and Middle Eastern touches,” the dudes also offer chowchow on pig’s head, country ham with hush puppies, and chicken-fried sweetbreads among their dishes. And of course, “a kick of vinegar” is at the heart of so many of the duo’s recipes. Spitting at Sassafrass one last time, Rodell writes, “My wish for…the whole country, is that comfort, hospitality and a love and respect for American foodways are our takeaway, not false nostalgia and a simple, wrongheaded idea of what it means to be Southern.” Well, dang! [LAW]

Tony Chen takes the piss out of Hyperion’s brunch, asking the Silver Lake restaurant to “please, for the love of…hungover hipsters, get a new chef, fire the kitchen staff (save the dish washers, I’m sure they’re doing a great job), and design a new weekend brunch menu. In fact, probably re-design the dinner menu as well (really, a Mac and Cheese menu? Are we still in the last decade?).” [SinoSoul]

Gold Shines Another Spotlight on Kang Ho-dong Baekjong; Rodell Rebel Yells at