Rodell Reviews The Parish; Gold Cuts Across The City

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The Parish Photo: Tony Chen

If there's one word in food we'd like to see banned this year, "gorgeous" might be the number-one target, overtaking "amazing" as the latest vacant catch-all in verbiage. Anywhoo, Besha Rodell thinks Casey Lane's The Parish is just that, a "triumph of atmosphere...that embraces you like the romance of an old movie" with less to say on the plate. Like many who came before her, she raves about the cocktails and Epoisses-topped burger, tucking into John Coltharp's "twists on classics" and finding "much of the food...seductive." Then comes the less magical news, as the critic posits, "the Parish's strength lies in elevating grease," finding her confounded over the high prices, the kitchen running out of dishes, somnolent service, and lack of appeal once the meal is moved outside. Missing the fleeting pub touches, she notes, "Take away that room, that grand bar, that view out those long windows, and you're left with some decent food and some less than decent service." [LAW]

Breaking the sprawling megalopolis into two sides, Jonathan Gold offers KCRW listeners suggestions on the East and West sides of Los Angeles. "I've always assumed the dividing line between east and west was the Los Angeles River. Because once you cross the river things are radically different...instead of having Mexican restaurants that are appealing to a non-Mexican crowd you get Mexican restaurants catering to a Mexican crowd, you get Chinese restaurants where the chefs are cooking for Chinese." With this in mind, he points hungry Angelenos to Javan and Tasting Kitchen out West, to Elite and Shanghai No. 1 Seafood out East. [LAT]

Brad A. Johnson takes on the Asian-influenced tapas at Scraps in Huntington Beach (why does every other place in O.C. seem to carry the name of a dive bar?), where Polo Lounge and Bazaar-vet Jamie Ngo is cooking. Her octopus and short-rib bruschetta are the biggest hits around here, though Johnson is just as inclined towards dishes like tuna tartare, Vietnamese pork belly crepes, pig ears, chicken and waffles, and fried chicken hearts, though they lack promised heat. The "kim chili," soft-shell crab, and desserts may miss the mark, and the service gets a drubbing, but Johnson concludes "this young chef is clearly a rising star." [OCR]