In order of appearance:
Buratta with Uni (Sea Urchin)
Lobster roll with celery and lemon aioli
Amberjack crudo with galbi vinaigrette and pink lady apple
Octopus confit salad with mirepoix and chili
Mussels with tarragon, pernod, fennel and toast
Sean giving the mussels the sniff test
Shrimp toast with herbs and siracha mayo
Brandade with soft egg, arugula and grainy mustard
Fried chicken sandwich with b&b pickle slaw and rooster aioli
Linguine with clams
Warm scone with macerated strawberries and cream dessert
Son of a Gun has been one of my most anticipated restaurants to review on Two Forks Up. This popular LA restaurant has been buzzing since its’ opening a little over a year ago. Not only did I have to make my reservation 2 weeks in advance, but to get a decent time I had to make it for a Tuesday! Needless to say this restaurant has taken off in the LA dining scene. Similar to its meaty counterpart Animal (both restaurants have the same owner) all of the dishes are designed as small plates to share. We ordered a ton of dishes all of us enjoying the “main-course-ish” more than “appetizers” (They are in quote because that is the order in which the dishes were served).
The first dish that was brought out was the buratta with Uni. I think buratta is one of the most over used ingredients in Los Angeles. It is literally on the menu of every single restaurant. This variant was served with sea urchin, aka Uni. This was my first time eating Uni, and I really enjoyed it. It has a little grittiness as well as a little saltiness but in the end the flavor was mellow and not too fishy. The buratta and the Uni played nicely off each other. The portion was a little small and I finished the dish wanting more.
The lobster roll with celery and lemon aioli was the biggest let down of the night. The lobster salad was overpowered with the flavor of mayonnaise and contained no large chunks of lobster whatsoever. Without the squeeze of lemon on top it would have been too heave of a dish for me. Luckily the lemon brought a much needed acidity to the overly thick lobster salad. I guess when you’ve eaten a lobster roll at Lunch in the Hamptons (said in snooty voice), nothing else compares.
Next came the amberjack crudo with galbi vinaigrette and pink lady apple, which was nice but not especially memorable. A sweet ginger dressing coated the fish that ALMOST overpowered the flavor of the amberjack. The pink lady apple was a noteworthy addition as it added the crunch to the dish but it wasn’t too crunchy that you missed the smoothness of the perfectly sliced fish.
Ironically, the best part of the octopus confit salad with mirepoix and chili was the mirepoix (a celery carrot and onion mixture). While you might be thinking “Duh Lauren, it’s a salad the lettuce is supposed to be the most important component,” however, at Son of a Gun I was expecting the octopus to be the star. Instead, the octopus was fried into an unrecognizable piece of chewy something. If I hadn’t seen the tentacles I would have sent it back citing that they substituted calamari. I was looking forward to the heat of the chili infused into the salad however it was served as slices and the taste was pretty much non-existent. The lettuce and mirepoix were perfectly dressed with a simple lemon vinaigrette.
The mussels with tarragon, pernod, fennel and toast was the crowd favorite. While were similar to a mussel dish I ate at Meet, this mussels dish was baked in a delicious cream sauce that did not resemble its broth-y counterpart. While the cream may give you the impression that the dish was thick and heavy in actuality the flavors were bold and playful. You could taste every component of the dish, especially the fresh and tender mussels.
“Where’s the shrimp?” We found ourselves asking when the shrimp toast with herbs and siracha mayo was delivered to the table. After further inspection we realized that it was baked into the bread, a decision that left our table a little dazed and confused. This was the number one dish I was told to order by friends, websites and the wait staff, yet was not exciting in any way shape or form. The overall sandwich was buttery and yummy but, if you are looking for a strong shrimp flavor you aren’t going to get it here. Would I order this again? No. Did it taste good because it was fried and covered in butter yes.
The brandade (Brawn-Daud) with soft egg, arugula and grainy mustard was a last minute addition to our order but ended up being one the top dishes of the night. Brandade is an emulsion of salt cod and olive oil mixed with whipped mashed potatoes. It had the look of cream of wheat but was infinitely more flavorful. On top of the brandade sat a perfectly poached egg that we punctured and mixed with the rest of the dish. Each ingredient added a special something to each bite. The arugula gave it peppery lightness while the grainy mustard gave it a mustard flavor without being overpowering. The yolk gave the dish a thick creamy quality that when spooned onto the buttered toast soaked into the crevices, giving each bite a crunch covered in salty, creamy goodness.
The fried chicken sandwich with spicy b&b pickle slaw and rooster aioli was an interesting order for a fish restaurant but it turned out to be quite the eye-opening experience. I have never tasted chicken quite as perfectly fried as this. The outside was thin and crispy while the inside was bursting with juice and tenderness. Alongside the chicken was a pickled slaw with jalapeños that added a vinegary and spicy addition to every bite. Tasting those two things together made me want to instate a law that all fried chicken must be eaten with this perfect slaw counterpart. It was summer in a sandwich and would make a great lunch dish if you are looking for a quick bite in the area.
The linguine with clams was my personal favorite however, the cheese stands alone on this one because no one at the table shared my sentiments. Not too thin and not too thick, the sauce on the pasta was the ideal balance of heat and spice. Each and every bite, including the spoonful’s of sauce at the end melted in my mouth. I was told it could have used a few more clams but that is because I probably ate them all.
We ended the night with the warm scone, macerated (marinated) strawberries and cream dessert. The scone had a hard shell with a soft and spongy core. The typically dry breakfast treat was neutralized with the fresh strawberry juice in which it sat. The cream on top was infused with lavender which gave it an herbaceous finish at the end of each bite. It was the perfect dessert if you don’t want anything too heavy and filling.
All in all, Son of a gun was a GOOD meal. The restaurant has a great ambiance, the people who work there are friendly and the food is different and delicious. I would have to say that the hype of Son of a Gun got the best of me and I was expecting more than what it turned out to be. I won’t be going back to Son of a Gun in the near future, opting to try a new restaurant instead. Son of a Gun you earn One and Three Quarters Forks Up from me! And the quest for mouth melting food continues.