Jen: For our first entry on Corned Beef and Rice, we are starting off in a big way with something little and small, as in littlefork and their thoroughly impressive small plates. Rarely do you pop into a new spot and find yourself completely charmed by the trifecta of food, décor and service.
Starting off with first impressions, the space was awash with subtle, pleasant patterns, including a cut out dot ceiling, faux painted wood grain wall panels and whimsical garden printed wallpaper. To balance the playfulness in the patterned interior, the dining space was appointed with clean and modern furniture including Aero Saarinen knock-off tables and Eames-inspired chairs, with small taxidermy animals hanging on the walls. The solid wood floating booth seating that rimmed the edge of the restaurant was an interesting and inviting touch.
Upon seating, our amiable server placed a jar of pink pickled radishes on the table. After seeing my meal-mates gnaw on the radishes like cows chewing cud, I passed on the pickles.
For appetizers, we ordered the Maple Kettle Corn and Maple Eggs. The kettle corn was the perfect balance of sweet, salty and spicy, with a kick of pepper. My only complaint is that the popped corn kernels were deflated from the maple glaze. The Maple Eggs…I am getting excited all over again just thinking about this dish—from presentation to delectation, it was simply…perfection. The egg dish comes out in a ceramic egg carton and matching ceramic trompe l’oeil eggshells. Demitasse spoons help you to scoop out the two or three bites of perfectly soft scrambled eggs and a tiny bit of egg custard at the very bottom. This is all garnished with a slim piece of caramelized bacon that had the perfect ratio of chewy cured meat to fat.
Armed with the opinions of our knowledgeable server, we ordered: pork belly, brisket, kale salad, smoked salmon on leek fritters, apple cider braised brussels sprouts, smoked cauliflower. The pork belly was good though it was not as fatty and succulent as I usually like—it came out in slices on top of a lentil salad. The tender, juicy brisket was also in thin slices and adhered coincidentally to our blog namesake, as it was served corned beef style, with buttered rye bread and hearty seeded mustard. I was excited for the hot smoked salmon on leek fritters, but they literally fell flat—they were more like a tiny pancake than the fluffy fried fritters I was expecting. The cauliflower was smoky and caramelized with giant, plump raisins.
From first impression to final imprint—lastly, but most importantly for my sweet-tooth palette, was the dessert. I had purposely saved room for the apple cider donuts touted on the menu. This is a food item typically reserved for quaint farmer’s markets and roadside outposts in the Midwest—you really can’t get apple cider donuts anywhere in LA. The fried rings came out doused in cinnamon sugar, and, with their thick fried crusts were more reminiscent of a churro than a donut. In any case, they were delicious and definitely worth ordering and savoring.
We will definitely be back to littlefork, and I’m angling for a seat at the floating wood benches and ordering the oyster sliders and buttermilk maple pie next time.
(*Update: I have been back to littlefork at least four more times, including a couple of happy hours at the very accommodating, full-menu bar, since this first entry. The maple pie was silken and sweet and, like the apple cider donuts, a dessert you can’t get anywhere else in this city. And, unlike the more popular oyster po’ boys at other establishments that end up being deathly torpedos of fatty sludge, the oyster sliders at littlefork were tiny and delicate and just ever so slightly breaded. We were there again this past Friday night and I finally got to sit at the wood bench!)
David: it’s rare to find a trendy new restaurant in hollywood that you walk out saying “i can’t wait to go back” and then actually find yourself making the trek back again. littlefork is the place across town that i find myself returning to time and time again (3 times in 2 months).
The interior is unlike any other in los angeles. In a city known for it’s uniqueness i’d say this place holds its own. not industrial, minimal, over-the-top, or pretentious…just comfortable. complete with an inspired drop ceiling, wallpaper, wood paneling, a bit of hockey memorabilia, and taxidermy scattered throughout, it has the feeling of a rec room mashed up with a baby nursery.
The menu is built of all sharable dishes, a thing i was once tired of but now fully embrace as the only way to enjoy a menu. I recommend going with at least 4 people, that way you’ll have the chance to experience more. they also have a full bar complete with a lengthy spirits menu and original mixology concoctions.
Here are the things you can’t miss:
maple eggs. Just start with this. Get one per person. They are tiny and over in 3 mini spoonfulls. The presentation is worth it alone but they also happen to be delicious.
smoked meats poutine. this fancy version of chili cheese fries is another great starter. Order on their own at the bar with a cocktail or as one dish of many. Either way, just order it.
beef brisket. los angeles deli isn’t much to brag about but i must say this deconstructed beef brisket at littlefork is a pretty solid substitute: a stack of rye bread placed next to 3 large strips of brisket corned beef (as stated in the “about us” page, i’m a jew! i love my deli meats.) all contained on a plate decorated with dollops of 3 unique mustards. it costs the same as a stacked sandwich at the deli but with this dish you can leave room for other goodies on the menu.
lobster roll. Perfectly contained within a buttery parker house bun, this my favorite lobster roll i’ve ever had (without having ever been to maine). it’s pretty rich (and pricey), so one for the table is enough to share.
another staple is the steak frites (served with maple onion rings) which i hadn’t tried till my third visit to littlefork. I was turned off from the larger plates because they seemed to stray from the shared plate mentality. Not the case. This flavorful cut of cow was sliced into 5 ready-to-stab-with-your-fork portions. Perfect for any carnivore. Please do yourself a favor and order the potato puree to go with it. It’s listed under vegetables on the menu but plays more like a dessert when it hits your lips.
Finish the meal off with an order of the deep fried cider donuts accompanied with the only thing you don’t share on the menu- your own French pressed pot of coffee.
For a top notch dinner and all-around great evening out, Littlefork will do as little or as much damage to the wallet as you choose. walk out satisfied and a tad bit tipsy for around $65 per person.