Son of a Gun

Son of a Gun is one of those rare restaurants that really wowed me the first time I dined there.  I’ve recommended this place to numerous friends visiting LA, looking to have the best LA dining experience.  After my first visit, I concluded that Son of a Gun was really doing something special here.  So obviously, I was more than happy to come back for round 2.  Quadruple T and his girlfriend were in town for the New Year, so we (Smooth Obturator, Triple T, and myself) made a celebratory evening of our first meal of 2014 (yeah yeah, I’m waaaay behind!)
Uni burrata, button mushrooms, yuzu
I was pretty intrigued by the pairing of uni and burrata, definitely two of my many favorite things in this world.  I don’t think the flavors worked well here.  Both elements have such subtle, light, delicate flavors, that when paired together sorta cancel each other out.  It just all tasted kinda “blobulous” (I totally just made that up).  A creamy blob of that, with a slightly salty sweet blob of this = “blobulous.”  Maybe more yuzu would have made the dish sing a little bit more.

Hamachi galbi vinaigrette, pink lady apple, radish sprout

We weren’t that impressed by the raw stuff, but I did find the galbi vinaigrette to be quite memorable. Packed with umami goodness, I wished I could bottle the stuff up and pour it over everything.

Yellowfin Tuna Tataki white boy kimchi

Is “whiteboy” supposed to imply less authenticity?  Perhaps.  This was kinda “meh.”  Nothing bad, just nothing too special.

Smoked Mahi Fish Dip celery, radish, crackers

With a squeeze of lemon and some saltine crackers, this dish was an interesting smoky yet not too mayo-y fish spread.  The added texture from the celery and radish gave some nice crunch.

Chilled Peel & Eat Shrimp lime mustard sauce

I am glad this dish hasn’t changed much from my previous visit.  I LOVE shrimp, and I LOVE big shrimps even more.  These are so frickin’ salty with some kickin’ herbs and tang.  The meat is perfectly sweet and meaty.  You only need a little bit of the lime mustard sauce.  I guess people don’t like to peel shrimp like this, but I am an expert at peeling shrimps with a fork and knife.  It’s such a gratifying thing to do, so I peeled shrimps not just for myself, but for Smooth Obturator too.  Ain’t I such a good little sister?

Lobster Roll celery, lemon aioli

This thing seemed to shrink since my last visit, but I think I also felt it was undersized then too.  I actually only got a little nibbling of this because there were 5 and we ordered 2 so it wasn’t the easiest thing to share.  This dish is highway robbery for sure, buuuut still so good.

Shrimp Toast Sandwich herbs, hoisin, sriracha mayo

This was definitely my favorite dish last time (duh, shrimp!).  It was still good, but definitely much richer this time.  I mean look at that color.  I think they deep fried it in butter.  Compare how it looked the last time.  We had to order a 3rd one but it was too much.  Sigh…hungry eyes.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts chinese sausage, cinnamon, peanut, egg

Will Brussels sprouts ever go out of favor.  They are probably the most common vegetable you’ll find at any given restaurant these days.  I feel like I’ve hit BS fatigue, yet I always find myself order them.  I guess for a vegetable, they are pretty hearty and carry strong flavors well.  This dish was certainly going for a Chinese twist with the above components.  I think they did a nice job.

Seared Octopus Salad mirapoix, chili

Triple T and Smooth Obturator, especially, have had it up to here with octopus in America.  They claim it is tasteless and never fresh, always frozen.  However, when they were in Greece, they had the BEST octopus.  So I guess they’ll only order it there.  I can somewhat agree with them that octopus can be quite hit or miss, usually miss.  It’s either too rubbery or unpleasantly soft.  I thought the sear was nice, and the lightly dressed salad added some brightness.

Linguine & Clams uni aglio-olio, chili, breadcrumbs

This dish seems to be quite popular and has remained on the menu since the restaurant’s inception.  I can’t really understand why because it’s pretty heavy and tangy without much else going on.  Also the clams are few in number.

Kennebec French Fries malt vinegar aioli

Who in their right mind would order fries?  I think we didn’t think we ordered enough so just threw these in.  Hungry H.o.P. members are unhappy campers!  These were aite.

Kampachi Collar sugar snap, herbs, chili vinaigrette, oyster mushroom

By the time the collar came around I was pretty darn stuffed.  It was a pretty generous collar with tender white meat.  I guess kampachi is a bit more dry and flakey when cooked so maybe not as luscious as say a black cod?  The skin was crisp and accoutrements added an Asian vibe.

Frozen Lime Yogurt graham crumble, toasted meringue 

I think the last time I was here, we had some sort of deconstructed dessert.  This was like a deconstructed key lime pie.  It was good but nothing too special.

Son of a Gun is still a solid place, but I was less impressed this second time around.  Sadly, the place failed to wow me on the dishes I loved most at the first go, except for the peel and eat shrimp.  Not pictured, was the fried chicken sandwich, was still good, but tasted a little heavier, and a little sloppier, kind of like the shrimp toast sandwich.  I’m just being nitpicky, because really the food is still pretty delicious.  I love small plates.  I love the Asian flare.  I love seafood driven dishes.  I love innovation.  Son of a Gun is all these things.  I just think the original “Sons” aren’t in the kitchen as much these days, so the refinement is a bit lost.  Anyways, I would still go back, and tell people to go there.  I think we started off 2014 right!


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