Thursday, April 7, 2011


In an effort to keep our blog well rounded, we want to post a variety of interesting food related topics, not just recipes.  Since we're an LA based blog, forgive us for not being able to focus on many restaurants outside of the LA area.   As much as we'd like to jet set around the world to review all the cool new restaurants, unless someone wants to foot the bill (Travel Channel?), we're keeping it close to home.  But hellooooo, LA has SO many cool spots.  And we're selective with the restaurants we choose,  so please keep reading!

This restaurant, Son of a Gun, recently opened with rave reviews...which is very difficult to do in fickle Los Angeles.

Son of a Gun was started by chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo.  Not only were they awarded Food & Wine's Best New Chefs of 2009, they've appeared on the Food Network's Iron Chef, and now have their own show, Two Dudes Catering.  They still operate a full service catering company, as well as run the ever popular Animal (opened in 2008 to widespread acclaim), where it's sooo hard to get a reservation that's before 10pm.  Such is the case with Son of a Gun.  Great for them, not for us.  

So I went with some friends this past weekend.  We had 11pm reservations and we still had to wait.  Good thing they closed at 1am!  Since Animal is one of my favorite restaurants in LA, when I heard chefs Jon and Vinny were doing a spin-off with a seafood themed spot, I knew I'd have to check it out. Their dishes are quirky and daring, sometimes making even the most adventurous eaters hesitate.  Picky eaters won't have a good time.  I could never date a picky eater.  What a snoozefest that would be!

When we arrived, we were ushered to the back bar, where there's a great specialty drink list and a hot bartender (a dark haired beauty).  But between being pressed up against the wall where the busy waiters push past you on their way to the kitchen or else hovering over the shoulders of people eating dinner at the cramped bar, there really wasn't an area to chill and have a drink.  I was so glad when they finally seated us because I felt like I was in everyone's way!  Which I was.

My pretty and refreshing St. Germain Champagne Cocktail
Walking to our table past the large communal table, I thought how the concept of the community table was becoming more and more popular. Walk-ins get to sit at this table, which I don't particularly prefer because of limited privacy, but if you're single, what a great way to casually meet someone!

The decor is very kitschy with mostly nautical themed items on display: buoys, fish nets, model ships, helms.  Not my style, but it really works here.  I felt a great energy from all the patrons, as if we were part of a secret club where you could only be a member if you were bold and adventurous with your food.  Sorry if I sound like a food snob.  I'm not.  I'm just so in love with food and trying new things that sometimes I'll dare myself to try a new food (not as daring as Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel) just so I can say that I've tried it.  Yes, at times, it's gross.  But you end up laughing with your friends and talk about it for days after!  What's so bad about that??

Since we ate so late, the kitchen was out of 1/3 of their menu.  Sad!  So we told our waiter to bring out whatever he thought were the must-have dishes of the items that were available.  Our dinner was still incredible.

Oysters on the half shell

Benton's Country Ham, Honey Butter, Corn Bread

Colombia River King Salmon Crudo, Beets, Pickled Ramps

Albacore Tataki, Sesame Seeds, Radish, Citrus Soy

Clams and Linguine, Spicy Fennel Sausage, Ramp Tops

Frozen Lime Yogurt, Graham Crumble, Toasted Meringue

What they were out of that we so desperately wanted to try: 

Smoked Mahi Fish Dip, Celery, Radish, Crackers

Portuguese Sardine Escabeche, Parsnip, Habenero

Smoked Steelhead Roe, Maple Cream, Pumpernickel

Neiman Ranch Hangar, Fried Oysters, BĂ©arnaise, Fries

I'll make our next reservation for earlier in the night to ensure the above items are available.  I highly recommend Son Of A Gun for a great night out, whether you're on a date or just out with friends.  Your lives will be a much better place having been there!