Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fat Cow - 09/30/2012

189 The Grove Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 900-8080

After an unexpectedly strong meal at Gordon Ramsay Steak in Las Vegas I was excited to try Fat Cow, Ramsay's new gastropub at The Grove. Though I would have preferred something upscale, but the name Fat Cow pretty much guaranteed that this would be a more casual restaurant. Though Ramsay owns the restaurant he doesn't actually have much to do with running the place. Instead the kitchen is under the leadership of Mathew Woolf, though he was a last minute replacement after investors forced out the original chef.

Chupacabra - dos manos blanco, lime, jalapeno, ginger beer, shaken and served tall with a chile-salt rim
Smoke and spice and everything nice... the drink has a Mezcal-like flavor with plenty of verdant spice. After the initial assault of smoke and heat this drink reveals an tart effervescent balance making this my favorite of the three opening cocktails.

Elderflower Spritz - cocchi americano, elderflower, soda, served over ice in a wine glass with an orange slice and lemon wedge
With the relatively low alcohol of the cocchi americano and elderflower liqueur, this was almost like a vinous floral soda. Perhaps a splash of gin with its aromatics would give the drink some weight without disrupting the drink's floral grace.

Fat Cow "Manhattan" - bulleit rye, byrrh grand quinquina, stirred and served up with cherries and an orange peel
A clever play on a timeless cocktail, the Fat Cow variation maintains the classic flavor profile but replaces the vermouth and bitters with Byrrh, a red wine-based aperitif mixed with botanicals and spices.

Branzino Ceviche - avocado, horseradish, ginger dressing
Both the cut of the fish, and muted acidity make this dish more of a crudo than a true ceviche. I enjoyed the creamy avocado and sting of the horseradish but I thought the coating of oil gave the fish an unnecessarily slimy texture.

Chilled Tomato & Red Pepper Gazpacho - cucumber, olive tapenade
In true gazpacho fashion, the creamy soup is delightfully cool and refreshing while the bounty of fresh vegetables underneath provide crystallizing accents of texture and flavor.

Mini Beef Sliders - short rib & kobe, cheddar
Fairly boring at first glance, the blend of short rib and kobe is both juicy and flavorful. The heady char of the patty is deftly tempered by the classic vegetable accompaniments.

Mac & Cheese - elbow pasta, cheddar cream, truffle
Though not quite as impressive as GR Steak's preparation, this Mac & Cheese was no slouch. The essence of truffle dances on the edge of the palate obscured by the blue cheese essence of the cream sauce. The peas provide a sharp verdant counterpoint to the otherwise weighty side.

Charcuterie & Cheese - cured meats, farm house cheese
A relatively safe but enjoyable plate of meat and cheese that featured coppa, prosciutto, and a duck salami as well as two cheeses.

Brown Cow - vizcaya dark rum, lime, mint, angostura bitters, sparkling wine, shaken and served up with a mint sprig
A fairly tasty rum drink, the burn of the alcohol is hidden beneath a ripe tartness akin to suan mei or preserved sour plum.

Perfect 10 - ketel one, hangar one buddha's hand, passion fruit ice tea, mint, lemon juice, built and served long
The one sip I had of this drink tasted like what I can only describe as Skittles. This might be a good choice if you like sugary drinks but it wasn't for me.

Fish & Chips - cod, beer batter, tartar sauce
I've never been a huge fan of fish and chips but considering where we were, it felt wrong not to order it. I found the batter a bit thick for my tastes but the underlying cod was tasty enough especially with the tartar sauce.

Coppa Picante, Figs - fontina cheese, roasted garlic, roasted figs
I almost always order Margherita pizza when I see it on the menu. This time around we opted to try something a bit more interesting. The figs burst with ripe sweetness but the plentiful slices of salty fatty coppa and the astringency of the Fontina provided a sufficiently savory counterweight.

Gordon's Shepherds Pie - braised lamb, yukon potato mash
It would have been a travesty had the kitchen gotten this one wrong. Fortunately the pie was spot-on, melding the hearty stew- like warmth of the lamb with the creamy starchy heft of the potato.

Warwick "First Lady" Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, South Africa
I don't have too much experience with South African wines but the "First Lady" certainly made a good impression. Nothing remarkably deep or complex, but the wine has the classic elements of a cab, medium-to-full body with lush fruit and oaky vanilla.

Flat Iron Steak, Haystack Fries - grass fed beef, bleu cheese butter
The Flat Iron, a relatively new steak that comes from the shoulder muscle, has been gaining popularity at upscale restaurants around the country. The shoulder typically has lots of connective tissue running through it but the Flat Iron is cut from in such a way that eliminates the gristle leaving a cut of beef that is second to the tenderloin in terms of tenderness. The flavor is on the delicate side, but the funk of the bleu cheese was more than made up for it.

Pepper Crusted Wood Roasted Long Rib - waldorf salad, minted fingerling potatoes
Though already satiated, my curiosity demanded we try this. The meat was fork tender and came free of the bone with little more than a quick shake. The fat-laden rib meat is slightly alleviated by the aroma of lemongrass or some other herb and the minty kick of the fingerlings. Unfortunately the salad, which should have been the most effective moderating element, was completely ineffective thanks to the mayo dressing.

Cookie Milk Ice Cream Sundae
It was hard to go wrong with this combination of two classic desserts. Chunks of cookie hidden within the rich chocolate ice cream provide a vivid textural contrast.

Treacle Tart
This was my first experience with this traditional British dessert. The buttery crust is topped with a richly sweet filling made from a sugar syrup called golden syrup or light treacle.

Sticky Toffee Pudding
Like the Mac & Cheese, the Toffee pudding was a lesser version of a dish that we had at GR Steak. Fat Cow's preparation lacked the brown butter ice cream but still had an overwhelming caramelized sugariness.

After GR Steak I was hoping that Fat Cow would offer a contemporary spin on pub fare though perhaps the restaurant's traditional take is better suited to the clientele at The Grove. Our meal was enjoyable enough but with so many "gourmet" gastropubs in the city, Fat Cow doesn't do enough to warrant a trip back.

1 comment:

Sam C. said...

Nice! Thanks for the coverage and I'm glad this isn't a re-run of the London.