We are in Silver Lake, a part of town where you will soon be able to travel from bar to bar by skimboarding on a shallow lake of artisanal ale. And we are at Black Hogg, the newest of the gastropubs, although as yet you will have to settle for ginger beer and Mexican Coke. Black Hogg's owner and chef, Eric Park, is a veteran of New York's Spotted Pig, ground zero for the gastropub thing, as well as for the current fixation with pork in all of its various and glorious manifestations. And so we are in the middle of a pig explosion here, table littered with pork belly tacos, longaniza hash, and a wonderful, sweet-fleshed chop from a Duroc-breed pig, rubbed with salt and pepper, draped over a berm of Cuban-style black beans and rice. (Cafe Tropical, the oldest Cuban coffeehouse in this part of town, is only a few yards away.)
Are there accommodations for customers not quite down with the idea of bacon lardons battered and fried like popcorn shrimp? Sure: There are slices of toasted baguette smeared with fresh uni and herbs, platters of Bluepoint oysters with pickle juice mignonette, and thick slices of brioche stuffed with sauteed wild mushrooms. Park reinterprets the famous St. John (and Spotted Pig) marrowbone by serving the split, roasted bone with sharply dressed cilantro instead of flat parsley and tortillas instead of toast –- it's different enough to become another dish entirely, a dish that tastes like Silver Lake instead of the London abattoir district. And if the idea of driving a mile down the road to Salina's churro truck seems too arduous, the hot churros served with a little cup of walnut-oil ganache will more than suffice. Eric Park understands L.A.
2852 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, (323) 953-2820, blackhogg.com
Photo credit: Jonathan Gold/Los Angeles Times