Restaurant Reviews

Smoke.Oil.Salt

June 6, 2015
Sorry for the delay in posting a blog post, I have been traveling (packing, unpacking and repacking <– super fun) a lot lately and haven’t really had a moment, until now, to sit down and write.
The Shut-Up-and-Give-it-to-Me-Quick Version: 
Good not Great.
Tasty, but with claims such as “25 best restaurants in the nation”, I expected much more. Very heavy and all dishes were very similar in flavor.The I-Like-to-be-Wrapped-Up-in-All-the-Details Version:

I was super excited to try this restaurant, not only was it recommended to me, but it made its way to the top of some impressive lists.

I visited with my mom and dad last week in LA and we dined at around 9:30. We sat at the chef’s counter and while we didn’t have to share it, the restaurant was full. I loved the atmosphere, the red walls made it feel cozy and the rather small size made it homey. Everyone was very nice, but I will point out that I felt very watched. There was one waitor who kept looking at me and everytime I even thought I needed something he had already called someone. The attentiveness was nice, albeit slightly overbearing. Besides this lady who had too much to drink (and was therefore speaking 5 notches above normal tone), the restaurant was lively, but not loud (appreciated).

What we ate:

  • Pa amb tomaca i llangonisses caseres ($12)
  • Braves trencades ($15)
  • Valencia callos ($16)
  • Sipia a la brasa ($24)

Thoughts?

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I’ll be honest there was a lot I wanted to try, but couldn’t order because there was only three of us. However, I do regret letting myself get swayed by the chef’s favorites (you would think that you can’t go wrong) because, in retrospect, I probably would’ve and should’ve ordered a little differently.The toast was good, but as my dad pointed out, nothing out of the ordinary. The bread was top notch and the tomato sauce was really flavorful, but it was simple. I liked that and can appreciate the simple pleasures, just know it’s not super different than a bruschetta you could find anywhere else.

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This was my favorite dish of the night … the sauce and the mix of potatoes and chorizo was delicious. The potatoes were crispy on the outside with a decadent, soft inside and an egg just makes everything that much better. I would definitely recommend ordering this dish!

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This dish is very traditional and very different, a lot like menudo, you have to be adventurous to eat this. I liked it and thought the flavor was great, but by the time this dish came I found myself full and overwhelmed with flavors (all heavy and very rich) that I don’t think I enjoyed this the way it was intended.

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The cuttlefish was the chef’s favorite dish and while delicious it was great for a bite or two. It wasn’t anything that wowed although I really liked the sauce and stuffing. The cuttlefish was also very well cooked. I liked the combination, but I won’t be thinking (or dreaming) about this dish anytime soon.

Overall, their dishes are very heavy and very different. It’s not for everyone and I would be cautious to call it “one of the best in the country”. Smoke. Oil. Salt is tasty and very innovative, but I wouldn’t say it’s a must-try if you’re only in LA for a period of time. I would however love to go to their wine bar next door to have a few apps and some wine.

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