The Other Critics

Gold and Rodell Revel In Southern Glory at Hart & Hunter; Damon Gambuto Shreds Juicy Lucy

AHT calls Shoemaker's creation a
AHT calls Shoemaker’s creation a “sad burger” Photo: Javier Cabral

Reminding us (again) that she has Southern roots after her stint in Atlanta, Australia’s own Besha Roo’dell finds that the biscuits aren’t the only “revelatory” item being served at Hart & Hunter, the country roots restaurant under Joe’s-alumni Kris Tominaga and Acheson-acolyte Brian Dunsmoor. Pinpointing many of their dishes as “on-the-nose Southern,” Rodell veers more towards “the in-betweeners…dishes with Southern roots and modern sensibilities” like the acid-hued salady serving of chicken livers and smoked trout in a jar with avocados. “Where Acheson’s restaurants…look to put Southern food in a fine-dining context, the Hart and the Hunter is playing in the casual, small-plates genre, and doing a damn good job of it,” the critic writes, chortling in a weird mash-up of down-home hee-haws and Down Unda’ guffaws while the servers have a towel-snapping fight. Three stars! [LAW]

After a few weeks of our principal critics circling each other’s same picks, Jonathan Gold lands on the same restaurant as Besha Rodell for this week’s Counter Intelligence review, making us miss the days when he plucked a sticky tabled gem from our cherished sprawl. Anyway, he also likes the biscuits (a lot) and is apparently a biscuit-making maniac himself, ultimately bowing to the version at Palihouse with the accolade, “I’ve never tasted biscuits like these.” He drops the usual “South filtered through the not-South,” this-is-not-an-X-restaurant-but-the-idea-of-an-X-restaurant jive, and seems to be generally fond of the place, we guess, if a comparison to Mumford & Sons and drummerless bands signals approval. [LAT]

A Hamburger Today’s Damon Gambuto is disappointed by Juicy Lucy, Paul Shoemaker’s new burger joint. “The problems here are the component parts,” he writes, citing an “embarrassingly large brioche bun,” “overdone” toppings, and “wholly unnecessary slathering of aioli,” while saving his real savagery for a patty that “didn’t betray any proper browning” or “any distinct seasoning,” with “that refrigerator burn taste of commercial beef” and “a surprisingly uncheesy center.” Ouch! Considering the craptastic stuff we once posted on the same site, we won’t quarrel with the insightful burger critic’s assessments, which we’ve come to trust. But saying that “Shoemaker can feel more like a brand than an actual chef,” is misguidedly discrediting this dedicated craftsman, no matter whether his “sad” burger blows or not. [AHT]

Gold and Rodell Revel In Southern Glory at Hart & Hunter; Damon Gambuto Shreds