Jonathan Gold Comes Straight Outta Comptoir; Goes Cyco at Neptune's Net

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Seafood at Neptune's Net, being "badass" Photo: KThread via Flickr

After dropping science about The Blue Owl and before making one of his suppoedly banned ball jokes, Jonathan Gold drops in on Gary Mene's pop-up, Le Comptoir at Tiara Cafe to find Menes and crew behind the stark counter, vestigial handwritten menus, compressed melon served like ceviche, sweet potato soup poured from a metal pitcher, and a signature similar to something you'd find at Noma. Next, it's time to make the "experimental doughnuts" from the chef's proprietary starter. Dessert makes "an ideal end to dinner at a restaurant I was not sure I would ever see again," he ends. [LAW]

Jonathan Gold prays for surf and cranks the Suicidal for a trip to Neptune's Net, which he paints as a badass biker haunt holding down the PCH. Anyone who likes good food should probably skip the fried stuff, he suggests, before passing you a Sierra from the ice bucket and ordering more live clams and lobsters "at only about twice what you'd pay in the San Gabriel Valley." [Squid Ink]

Where to go in Little Tokyo past 10:00 P.M.? Mr. Gold, who is watching the izakaya scene edge "toward critical mass," suggests The Gorbals, Urbano Pizza Bar, Spice Table, Flying Pig, Fat Spoon, and Josef Centeno's meat at Lazy Ox Canteen. Gold states, "for the first time, the most interesting places in Little Tokyo are not necessarily Japanese." [LAW]

Jonathan Gold sums up the current state of L.A. dining, "we pretty much know what a good, new restaurant is going to look like. There will be an open kitchen, and noise, and a very decent selection of obscure wines by the glass. The eggs and the berries and the carrots -- pretty much everything -- will have shiny farmers market pedigrees, and the meat will be sourced from farmers who have been profiled in Saveur." He still saves some room to talk about Cook's County, "a cheerful place that feels like a wine bar but functions more as a restaurant, with actual appetizers and main courses, as well as Jullapat's aggressively homey desserts." Calling it the perfect first date restaurant, he had us at "nettle fettuccine with chanterelles." Hopefully, he calls the next day. [LAW]