Waterloo & City (3)

From 6/30/12 dinner:

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Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Armagnac Prunes, Brioche

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House Made and Imported Charcuterie – Prince

Smoked Salmon Terrine, Fried Egg, Sauce Gribiche
Chicken Liver & Foie Gras Mousse
Duck & Walnut Country Pate, Orange Marmalade
Rabbit & Pistachio Terrine, Piccalilli, Brioche
Cured Meats Selection, Cornichons, Pickled Onions

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Roast Quail, Bacon Farce, Fried Green Tomatoes

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Magret Duck Breast, Bing Cherries, Peruvian Potatoes, Fennel

From 7/20/12 dinner:

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House Made and Imported Charcuterie – King

Smoked Salmon Terrine, Fried Egg, Sauce Gribiche
Waterloo Chicken Liver Mousse
Smoked Tongue & Carrot Terrine, Sweet & Sour Chilies, Mustard
Pig Trotters, Sweetbreads, Salsa Verde
Duck & Walnut Country Pate, Orange Marmalade
Rabbit & Pistachio Terrine, Piccalilli, Brioche
Pork & Truffle Pate, Madeira Jelly, Toasted Brioche
Wild Boar Terrine, Harissa, Brioche
Cured Meats Selection, Cornichons, Pickled Onions

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Truffle Pasta, Brown Butter, Parmesan

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Chicken Pot Pie

DineLA menu x2

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Beet & Watermelon Salad, Zucchini Blossoms, Goat Cheese, Walnuts

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Thai Gazpacho, Peekytoe Crab

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Nova Scotia Halibut, Clams, Peas, Potato, Bacon, Champagne

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Waterloo Wellington, Benton’s Asparagus, Onion Marmalade, Red Wine

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Sticky Toffee Pudding, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Ice Cream

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“Twicks”, Chocolate Panna Cotta, Butterscotch Mousse, Shortbread

Chris Hei grade: A-

Waterloo & City
12517 Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 391-4222

Waterloo & City (2)

I had a wonderful dinner my first time at Waterloo & City last August, so it’s a bit surprising that I hadn’t been back since (before last Friday). While planning a dinner to catch up with Alex and Danno, Alex asked if we can go to a gastropub, and immediately Waterloo & City came to mind. Thank you for suggesting a gastropub, Alex, or else who knows how much longer it would’ve taken for me to make a return visit. And boy, had it been way too long…

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House Made and Imported Charcuterie – Prince ($28 + $10)

Smoked Salmon Terrine, Fried Egg, Sauce Gribiche
Chicken Liver & Foie Gras Mousse
Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Armagnac Prunes, Brioche (+$10)
Rabbit & Pistachio Terrine, Piccalilli, Brioche
Cured Meats Selection, Cornichons, Pickled Onions

Last last time, my group of three started with the Prince size chacuterie platter. And like last time, it was more than enough to satisfy the party. This time around, we had: the smoked salmon terrine, the chicken liver & foie gras mousse, the foie gras, the rabbit & pistachio terrine, and the cured meats selection. I had the second, third, and fifth varieties on the first visit. The chicken liver & foie gras mousse, this time presented in a jar (as opposed to being a cut of terrine the last time) was just as good as I remembered; went really well with the accompanying (sweet potato?) jam and brioche. The rabbit & pistachio terrine was actually an improvement; the terrine wasn’t as tough, and the pistachio flavor was a bit more pronounced. The quality and variety of the cured meats was great as well. I ate lots of the beef fat drippings with the meats (fatty heaven w/ a nice horseradish kick).

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Manchester Quail Farce w/ Duck, Wild Mushrooms, Fava Beans, Jus ($14)

The two new types of house-made chacuterie varieties that I tried this time around were good as well. The smoked salmon terrine was nice, but I’m not too crazy about the potato filler within the terrine. But the standout (next to the mousse) was the foie gras; presented in a jar, it was just straight-up foie in all its fatty glory (not in terrine form). Well worth the extra $10 to add to the Prince selection. By the way, while they’re always nice in refilling the accompanying brioche, I usually like to try the pates/terrines with their variety of house-baked breads as well. Delicious! Overall, I believe that Waterloo & City has the best chacuterie platter in Los Angeles.

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Indian Butter Chicken Pizza, Murgh Makahni Sauce, Mozzarella ($14)

Beside the gigantic platter, we split an appetizer and a pizza. The appetizer was a special: the Manchester quail farce (stuffed) w/ duck pate. There was a wonderful jus with the quail, and the sauteed mushrooms and fava beans were nice complements. Alex, seeing brown, had to get the Indian-style pizza. It was a pleasant surprise; not a traditional pizza by any sense (as is the case with just about all of their pizzas – think more ethnic versions along the lines of CPK pizzas), but flavors were on point, and the raita-esque sauce served as a good balance. For dessert, the sticky toffee pudding was a must-order. As good as I remembered it.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding, Milk Ice Cream, Salted Caramel ($9)

I actually thought that this meal at Waterloo & City was better than my first one, although when I compared them side-by-side, they seem fairly identical. Maybe I just miss this type of food, or maybe it has taken me this long to truly appreciate the intricacies of a top-notch gastropub. It has the essence of a traditional one, but incorporates other cuisines and techniques very successfully. Credit to Chef Collins. My next meal here will be much, much sooner.

Chris Hei grade: A-

Waterloo & City
12517 Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 391-4222

Waterloo & City on Urbanspoon

Lazy Ox Canteen

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A group of us went to Lazy Ox Canteen the Friday before my birthday early last month as a celebration of sorts, since I wasn’t planning on doing anything special this year due to my much-anticipated trip to Urasawa the next day. Little did I know that it would become the last Friday in the Josef Centeno regime at the restaurant, as announcements about his departure came out the following week. Good timing, I suppose. Even though Chef Centeno wasn’t in the kitchen that night (he was probably at Baco Mercat), I expected great things out of this kitchen.

We arrived promptly for our reservation that night, but the party before us refused to leave, even ordering another round of drinks apparently after our arrival. But the FOH was great at keeping us informed on the status of that party, and even combined a couple of the small tables on the patio for us while we waited to be seated inside. In the meantime, we ordered drinks and a couple of dishes to get us started. It’s a bit hard to describe what type of restaurant Lazy Ox Canteen is. I guess it qualifies as a gastropub. But as far as cuisine is concerned, it really doesn’t restrict itself to any particular one. There are touches of American, Spanish, Japanese, and other cuisines, often coexisting on one plate.

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Roasted Poblano Soup w/ Pork Belly Chicharon, Autumn Grapes, & Creme Fraiche ($8)

This was very nice. The soup was thick and creamy, as if it was just purely pureed poblano peppers. The pork belly chicharon was a nice contextual contrast, as the grapes were nice tart contrasts to cut the creaminess of the soup.

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Braised Short Ribs w/ Cream of Wheat ($25)

Another winner right out of the gate. The short ribs were braised perfectly, and the cream of wheat was smooth and creamy like a polenta.

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Chicken Liver w/ Bacon, Cracked Mustard, & Mascapone ($11)

However, this was quite underwhelming. Very lifeless compared to the previous two dishes, as the liver was deli-generic.

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7 oz. Lazy Ox Burger w/ Cantal Cheese & Whole Grain Mustard ($15)

We ordered two of these so everyone could try some. The meat blend was nice and juicy, cooked a perfect medium-rare on the first one. The second one, however, was less successful.

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Lace Battered Surf Clams w/ Lime & Caper Pickle Aioli ($13)

A bit tough, and heavy on the batter. Couldn’t really tell if they were anything but basic fried clams.

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Caramelized Cauliflower w/ Chile, Mint, & Pine Nuts ($9)

While $9 for a veggie dish is meh, this was a great dish. Everything together tasted like a tom yum soup of sorts.

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Brussels Spouts w/ Bacon & Pecorino ($10)

Another great veggie dish. The bacon in this looked and tasted like pancetta, and gave it a nice savory flavor.

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Heritage Pork Rillette w/ Marcona Almonds & Castelvetrano Olives ($8)

Judging from this and the chicken livers, it appeared that these type of dishes aren’t really the restaurant’s forte. Underwhelming like the liver.

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Shredded Lamb w/ Coleslaw & Salsa Verde ($12)

Very gamey (which I like) and was cooked well. Kind of like a lamb carnitas of sorts. Solid, but not spectacular, dish.

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Bouillabaisse ($48)

The restaurant has a different large, family-sized, dish featured each day of the week. On the Friday we were there the featured dish was a bouillabaisse. I was a bit sad it wasn’t the famous fried chicken or something more exciting, but held my head high as I tried this. It was actually very good! Nice and homey, with plenty of seafood. But I don’t think I would pay $48 for this again…

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The bouillabaisse came with a salad, which went largely untouched.

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Polenta w/ Creamed Mushrooms & Curry ($11)

This was recommended by our server. It was a great pick. The creamy polenta went really well with the mushrooms, and the curry powder wasn’t overpowering, giving it just enough of the flavor.

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Rice Pudding w/ caramel & pine nut crumb ($9)

We were really stuffed by this point, but had to get one dessert. Of course, we got their most popular one. Looked pretty boring (okay, very boring), but it was delicious! Mix it with the caramel sauce and the creme fraiche, and I’ll beat up any senior citizens who get in my way of this.

When I’m asked to describe Lazy Ox Canteen, I often find myself telling people it’s similar to Animal, only more worldly. However, I realize that these two restaurants are fairly different (other than the small plates concept). Lazy Ox Canteen doesn’t really focus on one particular cuisine, and in doing so, is able to have a nice variety of dishes on its menu. And man, can they cook veggies. However, not everything was a hit, and I wasn’t able to try some of their more famous dishes (pig ears, fried chicken). But I had a great meal, and I consider myself fortunate to be able to experience the last remnants of the reign of Centeno. Now, if only the new kitchen can keep up…

Chris Hei grade: B+

Lazy Ox Canteen
241 S San Pedro St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 626-5299

Lazy Ox Canteen on Urbanspoon

Waterloo & City

Photo credit: Trippy Food

I didn’t realize that Waterloo & City was right next to A-Frame, which I found out when I went to the latter a couple of Wednesdays ago. After hearing glowing reviews of the restaurant from coworkers, I felt that I had to make a visit before I moved out of the area at the end of this month. So when Jeannie and Joseph came over to help me move and have dinner around the area last Friday, I took this opportunity to finally visit the British gastropub, named after a short underground railroad line in London.

PhotoOur draft beers. Jeannie also ordered a glass of red. What an alcoholic.

PhotoThree varieties of bread, deliciously fresh out of the oven.

House Made and Imported CharouterieHouse Made and Imported Charcuterie – Prince ($28)

If there is one thing to order at Waterloo & City, it has to be the charcuterie platter. For the three of us, our server suggested the prince (medium) one. I really liked this idea of the platter, since I really wanted to try a variety. From this, we got to taste around half of what the restaurant had to offer that night. I definitely want to try some of the other options on possible future visits, like smoked tongue and carrot terrine.

Duck & Walnut Country PateDuck & Walnut Country Pate, Orange Marmalade

Nice combination of sweet from the marmalade and savory from the pate, with a nice hint of nuttiness from the walnut.

Chicken Liver & Foie Gras MousseChicken Liver & Foie Gras Mousse

Very creamy and smooth. The soft texture was like cream cheese. Went really well with the toasted brioche that came with the platter.

Rabbit & Pistachio TerrineRabbit & Pistachio Terrine, Piccalilli, Brioche

My least favorite of the selections, but it was good nonetheless. I think it’s because the texture was a little tougher, and the pistachio didn’t add much flavor or contrast.

Wild Boar PateWild Boar Pate

This was actually one of the specials of the day, and we decided to choose it as one of the platter selections. Arguably my favorite of the bunch, with a slight kick of spice.

Cured Meats SelectionCured Meats Selection, Cornichons, Pickled Onions

Nothing noteworthy, just a tasty combination of prosciutto, salami and capocollo(?). The pickled veggies were a nice complement to all the salty meats.

Veal FiletVeal Filet ($27)

I really didn’t know what to order, since the menu seems to vary from traditional British pub fare to bistro fare to even a little Italian. Our server, who was very helpful throughout the night, suggested this dish, which was one of the specials that night. The veal was so juicy and tender. I wasn’t sure how the croquettes and leeks would fit in, but they were delicious as well.  This was probably my favorite dish of the night.

Tomato TerrineTomato Terrine ($13)

With all the meats we ordered, I felt that we had to get some veggies. Nonsense! Well, I had heard good things of the tomato terrine, another one of the specials. It was a nice contrast to the other things we ordered, cool and refreshing.

Sticky Toffee PuddingSticky Toffee Pudding, Milk Ice Cream, Salted Caramel ($9)

I already had my heart set on ordering this famous dessert of theirs, but it was brought to our table before I had a chance to look at the desserts menu. The rabbit and pistachio terrine had a piece of plastic wrap on it. I didn’t say anything, because it didn’t deter from the dish and it wasn’t a big deal. But our server was apologetic, and comped us the dessert as a result. We really appreciated it! The dessert was extremely sweet, but the ice cream provided a nice balance. Overall, an awesome dessert.

It’s unfortunate that I didn’t have a chance to visit Waterloo & City more often, now that I’m moving out of the area. I would definitely come back to try some of the other charcuterie and more traditional British pub dishes like shepherd’s pie and the medium-rare pork chop with black pudding that I’ve heard so much about – didn’t remember seeing either on the menu that night though (my coworker also suggested the tuna tartare – but come on, tuna tartare…at a gastropub? we’ll see). This was my first time at a gastropub (I don’t really consider Ford’s Filling Station or even Father’s Office as such), and it alleviated any doubt I had about the fare being boring.

Chris Hei grade: B+

Waterloo & City
12517 Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 391-4222

Father’s Office

Father’s Office, you elitist, inconsistent, snobby jerks. You sit high and mighty on your throne of lies as having the best burgers in L.A., and deny the peasants and serfs known as your customers the right to use ketchup. You arrogantly charge $14 for the burgers and think you’re giving the commoners a bargain. And for all your hoity-toity attitude and service, I’ve gotten a significantly different experience from the same burger on each visit. What gives?

Anyways, I have to admit, despite all the ranting from the previous paragraph, the Office Burger was pretty damn good on this visit. There was a time not too long ago when I was amongst the believers of this burger being the best in L.A. Then the quality went down the next two visits. The it went up again. Then down. I just didn’t know what to believe in anymore. But back to this visit – the patty was a perfect medium rare, the caramelized onions were delicious, and the cheese was just the right amount. It’s definitely on the right side again, but I reserve judgment on the Office Burger being in the upper echelon of burgers until it becomes more consistent. For this visit, however, it was very good.

Chris Hei grade: B+

Father’s Office
3229 Helms Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 736-2224

Note: credit LAist for the first photo. Also, this review subsequently moved Fatburger down to a B.