Rank #1: Jonathan Gold finds breathtaking fare while dining in Tokyo
“What’s the closest I’ll ever come to drinking a tree?” An answer to this question isn’t what Jonathan Gold expected to find at Narisawa in Tokyo. Alas, the LA Times food critic found himself sipping from a wooden jigger filled with oak-flavored water just before dining on what Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa calls “Satoyama Scenery,” a plate made from raw wood, topped with moss-like garnishes, accompanied by small speakers playing audio from the nearby forest. Before this innovative chef made his way to California for the LA Food Bowl, Gold thought he should fly to Tokyo and try Narisawa’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant. Gold was also moved by the exquisitely aged fish at Sushi Kimura, an eight-table sushi house south of Tokyo.
“Satoyama Scenery” is one of the Japanese mountainside-inspired dishes
available at Yoshihiro Narisawa’s Toyko restaurant. Photo courtesy of Narisawa.
May 25 2018
Rank #2: Jonathan Gold praises Travis Lett's dive into Japanese gastropub fare at MTN in Venice
These temaki (hand rolls) are among the stars of Travis Lett’s
Izakaya menu at MTN. Photo by Ashley Randall.
Travis Lett is credited with defining Venice’s culinary identity with his modern Californian restaurants Gjusta and Gjelina. However, the James Beard Award-nominated chef recently turned his attention to Japanese izakaya fare with his latest Venice opening, MTN. LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold believes that Lett’s rigorous attention to craft and tradition is authentically Japanese. Although he says the temaki, Dungeness crab ramen, and expertly poured beers are not to be ignored, he was most impressed by Lett’s deft touch with vegetables.
MTN: 1305 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 | (424) 465-3313
Jun 29 2018
Rank #3: Jonathan Gold steps into David Chang's orbit at Majordomo
Jonathan Gold calls David Chang’s galbi-seasoned smoked short rib a remarkable
dish, though “a commitment” for the diner at $190. Photo by Andrew Bezek.
Majordomo is Momofuku founder and chef David Chang’s first restaurant in Southern California and possibly LA’s most talked-about opening of the year. Jonathan Gold prefaces his review of Majordomo by noting that he and Chang have a prior history. For instance, he’s been featured in multiple episodes in Chang’s Netflix series Ugly Delicious and once even wrote for Chang’s now-defunct food magazine, Lucky Peach. Gold nonetheless puts his game face on, recounting the highlights from Majordomo’s Korean-inspired menu.
Hear more about David Chang's inspiration for Majordomo in our special extended interview from March 31, 2018.
Majordomo: 1725 Naud St., Los Angeles | (323) 545-4880
Apr 20 2018
Rank #4: Jonathan Gold tries the second coming of Marché Moderne
Amelia and Florent Marneau, the power couple behind
Marché Moderne courtesy of Florent Marneau.
One year ago, the closest thing Orange County had to a neighborhood French restaurant shuttered its doors at the South Coast Plaza. But recently, it resurfaced directly across from the Newport Beach shoreline. Jonathan Gold finds quality consistent with Marché Moderne’s original location but in more elegant digs. The exquisite roasted rabbit and coq au vin guarantee that hungry eaters will travel the distance for authentic French classics.
Marché Moderne: 7862 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach | (714) 434-7900
Feb 03 2018
Rank #5: Remembering Jonathan Gold's favorite food flicks
In movies, food can represent many things. The documentary “Udon” depicts noodle making as an all-consuming obsession. In the 1995 rom-com “Christmas in Connecticut,” two unlikely lovers are brought together in the kitchen. And in the Wes Anderson film “Grand Budapest Hotel,” a baker uses her patisserie as an opportunity to help a love interest escape prison. In each of LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold’s recommended films, food is the active ingredient that brings people together. Find out what else made the list!
*This segment originally aired on June 8, 2018. KCRW is re-sharing it this weekend to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Jonathan Gold's passing.
Jun 08 2018
Rank #6: Jonathan Gold finds magical nostalgia at Freedman's in Silver Lake
Siblings Amanda and Jonah Freedman, chef Liz Johnson, and co-owner
Nicholas Papadatos in front of their east side delicatessen. Photo by Louis DeCaprio.
When LA Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold first stepped into the new eastside delicatessen Freedman’s, he was delighted to find modern, inventive takes on Jewish staples from head chef and Noma alum Liz Johnson. The tableside sliced brisket, fried chicken skin sandwiches, cured fish on bagels, and what Jonathan describes as the “only good black-and-white cookie” he’s ever eaten will keep him returning for more.
Freedman’s: 2619 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 | (213) 568-3754
Sliced tableside, the brisket at Freedman’s is unbelievably luscious.
Photo by DYLAN + JENI.
Jun 01 2018
Rank #7: Jonathan Gold dishes on his favorites spots in LA's Koreatown
A scalding hot pot of soon tofu soup is a must order
when visiting Koreatown. Photo by T.Tseng.
The Los Angeles Times’ “Ultimate Guide to Koreatown” covers everything the 2.7-mile neighborhood has to offer: spas, restaurants, markets, bars and more. Jonathan Gold notes that Los Angeles has the largest population of Koreans outside of Korea. Which means there’s no shortage of destination-worthy restaurants in this area serving up specialty dishes like soft tofu soup and short rib stew.
Mar 03 2018
Rank #8: Jonathan Gold dines at The Hearth & Hound on Sunset
April Bloomfield boasts a vegetable-centric menu with standouts like the
cabbage with oyster emulsion. Photo by Sierra Prescott.
Jonathan Gold visited The Hearth & Hound in Hollywood four times before writing his review for the LA Times. Even though the food is craveable, dining at an establishment co-owned by Ken Friedman forces diners to make a difficult choice. Should eaters support a talented woman chef, something the industry needs more of? Or should they vote with their wallets and refuse to support someone accused of misconduct? For Jonathan, Chef April Bloomfield’s rare talent and culinary perspective are reasons enough to go. Her menu revolves around open-fire cooking and surprising vegetable dishes like charred chicories with fromage blanc and cabbage with oyster emulsion.
Hearth & Hound: 6530 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028 | (323) 320-4022
Feb 24 2018
Rank #9: Jonathan Gold dines at Longo Seafood in Rosemead
Crab steamed with garlic. (Photo courtesy of Longo Seafood)
Jonathan Gold reviewed Longo Seafood Restaurant in Rosemead for the LA Times and found out that the array of pork buns and rice noodles are just as noteworthy as their fresh seafood. Pro tip: Check out the Chinese dramas playing on the restaurant’s gigantic TV.
Longo Seafood Restaurant: 7540 Garvey Ave, Rosemead, CA 91770 | (626) 280-8188
Feb 17 2018
Rank #10: Jonathan Gold turns up the heat at Killer Noodle on Sawtelle
A bowl of spicy tantanmen ramen, sans broth. (Photo courtesy of Killer Noodle)
Usually it’s best to avoid restaurants that have signage reading, “Please take care of your bottoms when you complete your meal.” But Jonathan Gold recently completed his third visit to the latest restaurant from beloved Tsujita Ramen. Killer Noodle serves up three kinds of tantanmen, something Gold describes as “a perfect cult object, occupying the space where chile freaks and ramen obsessives intersect.” But for the spice-averse, have no fear. Even the non-spicy noodles are palatable and delicious.
Killer Noodle: 2030 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025 | (424) 293-0474
Feb 10 2018