Object of desire: Fried Brussels sprouts
There are many reasons to love Freddy Smalls, including the Mason jars filled with tart homemade pickles, the cashews fried with cubes of smoky bacon, and the billion-calorie deconstructed Reuben plate mounded with Yorkshire pudding, house-made sauerkraut, slabs of corned beef, and a Flintstonian roasted marrow bone. The crowded gastropub has quickly become possibly the finest center of drunk food on the entire Westside. If the damage inflicted by the Eel River Amber or the gin and tonic with celery bitters can't be mitigated by the Baller Board of house-cured charcuterie (there is a lot of craft-project food here), you probably should be calling a taxi home.
But even in this cardiologist's nightmare palace, which you would imagine would be ruled by deviled eggs with chicken skin and flash-grilled steak tartare, the fetish object turns out to be ... the Brussels sprouts. Because it turns out that when you cut Brussels sprouts in half and toss them into a deep-fryer, they puff up like angry hens, becoming crisp and caramelized where the leaves hit the hot oil, and concentrating the cabbagey sweetness of the vegetable in the suddenly chewy core. There is a bit of syrupy boiled-down cider on the side if you think the sprouts need a further jolt of sweetness, and a smear of smoked goat cheese at the bottom of the dish, but you probably won't need them. Freddy Smalls has found a way to make Brussels sprouts as appealing as potato chips.
11520 W. Pico Blvd., West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3000, freddysmalls.com.
Photo credit: Jonathan Gold/Los Angeles Times