Virbila Finds Room for Improvement at Lukshon; Brad A. Johnson Is No Playa Hater

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Lukshon's roti with lamb Photo: Hadley Tomicki

We never expected S. Irene Virbila to really get Lukshon in the first place and were amazed at how she fell for it in her early peek in February. Now she's complaining that "in many ways it's still a work in progress," though there is "much to be liked." Ugh. She loves the Malpeque oysters, the Spanish mackeral, the chicken pops, and Kurobuta ribs, but elsewhere, she seems underwhelmed by the roti with lamb sausage, the duck popia, and can't explain why anyone would opt for the mouth-numbing dan dan. She makes a good point about the prices contrasting with an early promise that this would be a low-key noodle joint instead of the glossy contemporary space we have today. Still, one-and-a-half stars for Lukshon and a request to turn up the volume on the flavors? Virbila please! [LAT]

"With Playa, John Sedlar has proved once more that hes among the most important chefs of our time," writes Brad. A. Johnson, who urges everyone to go straight for the potato chips, no matter how pedestrian that sounds. Johnson then gives us five things he loves about the place (Julian Cox, the space, the chips, the chipotle tamales, and the chile relleno) and a few he's not so fond of (dessert, el ruido, and the dresses the waitresses wear) As fans of his Latin cooking know well by now, Sedlar "is still at least two steps ahead of anyone else in this genre." [Brad A. Johnson]

Jonathan Gold takes us behind the music at last Sunday's Cochon 555 where he was a judge, which means unlike most of the attendees, he actually got to eat all of the dishes planned that day. Wait, is he implying that Terminator X travels with this "Porkapalooza?" No, maybe not, but we wonder...Oh well, Gold nails the ideal here, a hard-rocking massive pig-out, though the real thing was considerably tamer that the one in Oregon where yet another bro got tased. Hog farmers, while certainly appreciated, were hardly greeted with the applause Tom Morello would get if he suddenly appeared at a System of a Down show. In any case, he calls Brady Lowe "The Don King of Pork," which is highlarious, he appreciates what The Bazaar is doing for a change, finds Tim Goodell's dim sum "stodgy," and surprisesurprise, likes Mozza the best. [LAW]