Friday, April 20, 2012

Black Hogg - 04/17/2012

2852 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 953-2820

For a restaurant opened less than 2 two months, Eric Park's Black Hogg has made quite a name for itself and its blend of heavier Old World cuisine with lighter New World flourishes. The restaurant is so new they have yet to secure their liquor license so BYOB is a must until this is remedied.

I'll be the first to admit I knew little of Park, though the LA native ran a local sandwich shop for 10 years. His first forays into more serious cooking took place in New York, with formal training at the French Culinary Institute as well as stints at Eleven Madison Park and more importantly The Spotted Pig. It seems Park took his experience at the latter restaurant to heart, when designing his own modern gastropub.

Naked Cowboy Oysters - Spicy Pickle Juice
Stony Brook Oysters - Spicy Pickle Juice
Both types of oysters were from the Blue Island Shellfish company in New York. The Naked Cowboy Oysters were named for Robert Burck, a street performer from NYC, deliciously plump with a slightly funky salinity. The Stony Brooks began with a salty tang that transitioned to a delightfully sweet finish.

Popcorn Bacon - Maple Crema
I've heard that Park cures and smokes his own bacon and the rewards are well worth the effort. The "bacon" is reminiscent of a perfectly braised pork belly intertwining succulent flavorful lean meat with heart stopping rendered fat. The salty batter surrounding the porcine treasure has a light peppery kick reminiscent of BK chicken tenders. Naturally the delicious cuboids are on the heavy side but a dip in the hauntingly sweet maple crema fixes that right up.

Spicy Chicken Liver - on Toast with Chicken Cracklin'
This looks suspiciously like the amuse Ludo served during 8.0 though Park's blog references Animal and Pizzeria Mozza as his inspirations for this dish. The creamy chicken liver possesses the characteristic offal-y tang enlivened by a racy spicy verve. The cracklin offers a potent salty kick while the soft toast helps restrain the overall intensity.

Uni Toast - Scallion Vinagrette
I had high expectations for this course and for the most part it didn't disappoint. The uni did have a hint of bitterness on the finish but the bold accompaniments of scallion and sesame more than made up for it. Like the previous course I appreciated the way the bread added some substance to the quivering mass of urchin roe.

Pork Belly Tacos - Fuji Apple Slaw, JalepeƱo Relish
After the popcorn bacon I was eager to get my hands more of Park's pork. The richness of the belly is apparent but well balanced with broad strokes of acidity and spice from the slaw and relish.

P.E.I. Mussels - Smoky Bacon
I've never been a mussels fan but the inclusion of more bacon won me over. The mussels themselves were plump, tender, and carried a faint salinity. The bacon itself was also quite mild, but the heady broth was redolent with its smoky salty smack as well as rich aromas of butter.

Chai Spiced Churros - with Warm Walnut Oil Ganache
The restaurant's lone dessert is a plate of freshly fried churros flavored with the fragrance of chai to give the dessert some distinctiveness. The crisp fluffy pastry was so good alone that I didn't even need the ganache dipping sauce.

Rich and robust are the watchwords of the day when it comes to Park's cooking, but the food is not without some finesse as well. The result is a menu that appeals to those who favor indulgent meat-centric "dude food" as well as those who appreciate a bit of subtlety and balance.


Meeru said...

Bacon fat isn't heart stopping if it came from a pastured pig source. Alot healthier than those heavily processed manufactured canola oils that's for sure.

bunniecakes said...

I love dude food.

TMR said...

This really looks amazing... Gonna have to try it, for sure!

Epicuryan said...

I'll keep that in mind. Consider it more of a description of the dish's richness.

Lol is there any food you don't like?

You definitely should they even have your namesake oysters.