Have you seen the cover of the new Bon Appetit yet? I just got mine in the mail and I was bowled over all over again by the gorgeous fried chicken sandwich on the cover - which I recognized from dinner last week at Son of a Gun. It was one of those things that everyone in the restaurant was ordering, and we had to have one too as soon as we laid eyes on it. In fact, everything on the menu sounded so amazing it was hard to choose - so we made it as easy for ourselves as we could by ordering almost everything on the menu.
We didn't have a reservation and the restaurant is tiny - with about ten tables on one side and a small bar and communal table on the other, so we so we got there right at six to get a spot. We weren't the only ones - when we first drove by, about five people were in line but by the time we walked up, it was at least three times that many.
We happened to be seated next to an adorable couple out on a date - below is a photo I snuck of their order of the King Salmon with jerk spice, kiwi, palm sugar vinaigrette and habanero. They said it was delicious and they also recommended the Burrata with Uni. We didn't try either one, but I'll take their word for it. You can also see a bottle of the house fermented shandy sitting on the table here - drinks are as big a deal as the food here and they have a killer cocktail menu.
It was apparent that the male half of the couple was absolutely smitten with his date, and when we started chatting with them we learned this was only one of many stops they would be making, as they were doing a progressive dinner. When I asked where else they were going he showed me his list. (I had to keep it a secret from her because each stop was a surprise.) This was in fact their second stop - the first had been Osteria Angelini, and they were on their way to Fig & Olive, then Spago and on to Craft, with a last stop at Mozza to pick up Butterscotch Budino *to go.* The date had been going since 9 AM - it started with croissants at Proof bakery, then there was a trampoline session at Sky High Trampoline Park, and a stop for a massage at a day spa before their dinner began. Quite a day!
The Kale Caesar salad - below left, was another dish that practically everyone seemed to be ordering -showered with finely grated parmesan and tossed with crisp toasted walnuts. The avocado and citrus salad was refreshing and delicious too - nothing unusual but it's hard to go wrong with a combination of tangy, sweet citrus and buttery avocado.
This was the smoked mahi fish dip with celery, radishes and crackers - it came with club crackers on the side. This is the kind of thing I should make at home but never do. The shaved celery and radish was a nice refreshing touch and it had great flavor - lots of horseradish.
Next up came their justly famous lobster roll. I was already aware that it was pretty small - but it is really tiny - just a couple of bites. They use potato chips to hold the lobster salad in. The sweet lobster salad and buttery roll were delicious, but hard to share.
My personal favorite dish was the Shrimp Toast sandwich - pictured below. Shrimp toast is usually a crisp buttery slice of bread topped with a mixture of chopped shrimp and mayonnaise and baked until golden brown. This was turned into a sandwich with the addition of a top layer of buttery crisp bread and accented with a Sriracha sauce and a bit of cilantro. It was insanely rich, but I could have easily eaten another one. It would be the perfect couple of bites with a cocktail.
Soon after that came the famous fried chicken - topped with a sharp vinaigrette based slaw spiked with jalapenos and red onion and served on a toasted brioche bun smeared with a rooster sauce mayonnaise. It was probably the best fried chicken sandwich I've ever had - and though I haven't tried Bake Sale Betty's up in the Bay Area, I've had a few. Here in San Diego they serve a credible one on a biscuit at Tiger Tiger, and the MIHO Gastrotruck dishes up a similar version - but this one was special. I definitely prefer the lighter bun, and the combination of the sharp coleslaw & fried chicken provided a nice contrast.
There were a few other dishes in between that were ok, but not something I'd order again. The brandade with "grainy mustard butter" arugula and fried egg was not as flavorful as it should have been, and the BBQ shrimp with warm potato salad and pickled bacon did not live up to its imaginative sounding name. One surprise stunner of the evening though was this brussel sprout dish, with chinese sausage, cinnamon, peanut and egg. The crispy brussel sprouts mingled with the broken egg and sausage, and accented by the sweetness of the peanut and cinnamon became one of the best tasting and most original dishes we tried - very David Chang.
We didn't have room for dessert, but the few options on the menu sounded good - especially the house made tin roof ice cream. Some ladies next to us recommended the lime frozen yogurt, which was served in a bowl with a graham crumble and a smear of torched meringue on the side. Reservations are hard to come by because of the size of the place, but if you get there early or late, or have time to wait, it's pretty easy for a small party to get seated at the bar or communal table. To my way of thinking, the ideal way to spend time here would be to sit at the bar with a friend or a date, have a few cocktails and graze on some of their more interesting small bites - in fact I'm planning to do just that as soon as I can!
Son of a Gun
8370 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
open for lunch & dinner M-F
dinner only on weekends.