Gold Canuckles Under Littlefork's Poutine; Rodell Revels in Highbrow, "Slutty" Tex-Mex at Bar Ama

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Little Fork: "One of the better cocktail bars in this part of Hollywood at the moment..." Photo: Hadley Tomicki

Calling Littlefork "one of the better cocktail bars in this part of Hollywood at the moment," Jonathan Gold considers A-Frame and Sunny Spot owner David Reiss's new concept to be a "1950s New England seafood joint crossed with grungy Montreal bistro, a boozy small-plates restaurant with [Jason] Travi in the Roy Choi role and almost inexpensive unless you let the cocktails and the crunchy oyster sliders add up." After giving approval to the lobster roll, the writer posits that Travi is more obsessed with the Montreal influences here and deems the poutine "a nice thing to power through on a chilly winter night, a concoction of French fries, cheese curds and 40-weight gravy dense enough to stop rifle bullets, enhanced with cubes of that smoked meat." [LAT; Earlier]

Besha Rodell rationalizes Tex-Mex to a bunch of Angelenos raised on the stuff, drinking in Josef Centeno's take on "giddily delicious cheese and meat glop" at Bar Ama. She splits the restaurant into two halves: one with "slutty Mexican-American food made with better ingredients...but with the same emotional underpinnings: salt, fat and a touch of delicious sleaze" and "the other one of slightly higher ambitions and...next-generation riffs on Mexican ingredients and California produce." We're happy to see her break ranks with the dozens falling in love with the chef's queso, revealing it as base "liquid cheese," while going bonkers for Nana's Frito Pie and hoping some of the recipes' constant transmogrifications will cease. Rodell sees Bar Ama as "an extremely fun downtown restaurant that feels like both a love letter to [Centeno's] youth and a testament to his present status as one of L.A.'s most engaging chefs." Three stars! [LAW; Earlier]

Brad A. Johnson loves The Ranch in Anaheim, declaring its giant bone-on cowboy rib-eye to be "quite possibly the best steak in all of Orange County." With much of the staff coming from Disney's Napa Rose, he finds the two-step of excellent service, great cooking "I didn't know cowboys ate snails, but the escargot are sublime"), privately-grown produce, and tasteful cowboy chic to be worthy of three-and-a-half stars of his four allotted stars this week. [OCR]

One self-titled "Show Queen" puts his or her critical eyes on Don't Tell Mama this week, opining "it was inevitable that the Times Square attraction make its way to Los Angeles. What baffles me is how they got the rights to use the name Don’t Tell Mama." Basically, the Queen is not impressed and predicts "I can assure you Don’t Tell Mama will have a very short lifespan." [LA Mag]