Monday, May 25, 2009

Second Chances at BoHO: Hits & Misses But Overall Redemption

6372 W Sunset Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 465-8500

This weekend a large number of my posse gathered in Los Angeles for one of our semi-annual events. We meet face to face, talk, drink, and bond while enjoying all sorts of activities in the early summer sunshine. There is such an immense amount of group love among these people, that although I always end these weekends feeling physically depleted, my insides feel nurtured for a long time to come.

Staying in a house in Beachwood Canyon, we needed somewhere to dine conveniently located but also offering very good food and a certain amount of flexibility. One obvious choice was used at a previous LA meet up to unsatisfactory affect, and one other easy choice only offered a prix fixe option for a party of ten. I decided on BoHo, not just despite the Mother's Day incident but partially because of it. The service issues on Mother's Day brunch 2009 got BoHo a pretty bad, but accurate, write up at Food, She Thought. Because I loved the atmosphere and my food tasted fantastic, I thought they deserved another shot at my business.

One member of the posse commented on my level of forgiveness despite Mother's Day. I don't consider this an act of forgiveness, I consider it an act of fairness. After reading and agreeing with the major tenets of Food Woolf's Food Blog Code of Ethics, I thought more than twice about my original review of BoHo and have been wanting to go back again. Here are the results.

We arrived 10 minutes late for our reservation, but all 10 of us were in tow. Funnily, they had the reservation under the wrong name with the right phone number and the hostess handled it with good humor and grace. We were shown to the family table in the middle of the main dining room and were well taken care of. EKD and I ordered a beautiful Alabarino at the extremely reasonable price of $36, served ever so slightly too close to room temperature and promptly put in an ice bucket.

In very early reports of the change from Charcoal to BoHo, Food GPS commented that the plan was to have no menu item priced higher than $19. Although some of the initial plans changed, Suaya ended up calling the spot BoHo not Circa 19 and Guerrero is cooking standard style menu instead of family style, the items on the menu illustrate the initial concept. Pulled pork, pizzas, pork chops and so on. The food tastes good.

Our table started with lots of appetizers. My choice was the charcuterie, because I loves. For $16 we were served generous portions of the following...

Whiskey chicken liver mousse. Delightfully flavored, it was way too smooth. I would prefer this a little thicker. But just a hair.

Rabbit rillette, fantastic. Perfect texture, light flavor.

Pork rillette. Probably my favorite item on the plate. Grainy, a little salty like it should be, meaty.

Two kinds of cured ham and a salami. All very nice, sliced paper thin and falling apart slightly as we shared them out. Toasty ciabatta (methinks), olives and cornichons accompanied. Everyone was delighted.

This was my favorite dish of the evening. This could be a destination dish. People are chattering about this on Chowhound. Fried oyster Po' Boy sliders. We ordered a couple plates of these and we could easily have done another couple more.

Succulent oyster lightly breaded and deep fried. Served between a gougeres, with arugula, a swipe of tartar sauce and a little applewood smoked bacon.

Absolutely divine.
French fried perfection. Medium sized, crispy on the outside, soft, warm and potatoey on the inside. Served with a very BBQ sauce tasting housemade catsup and a garlic aoili.You can't really tell from the photo, but I thought the size was far more generous than the photo shows.

This messy looking dish is the burrata and heirloom tomato dish. With red bell peppers, eggplant, and basil in vinaigrette on a crostini. I thought the texture all around was a bit mushy, I would prefer to see the tomato in larger chunks. The flavors were fresh, bright and acidic. It was good., despite the textural issues.

There was some debate at the other end of the table about the flavors in the three bowls of piping hot French onion soup that came out. CT thought it was too sweet, and a couple people thought it was perfection. SP said it had too much cheese. Is there such a thing? She is a self proclaimed cheese whore. Too much cheese? She may get demoted to cheese slut. HM loved all the cheese and I am pretty sure all the bowls went back to the kitchen empty.

The beets were universally adored. Dark red and golden beets that turned hot pink from being baked with the red beets with lots and lots of goat cheese and a lemon onion confit. Served hot, this was earthy, goatey goodness in a cast iron pan.

Next came the entrees. I caved on the oxtails even though VV right next to me ordered them also. Very generous portion, I couldn't even finish half so I shared mine with HM. Oxtail Catalana, with roasted peppers, peas, sherry vinegar that added a lot of sweetness to the juice, simple boiled potatoes and baby carrots.

Really worth eating, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys this level of luxurious fatness in their meat. Oxtails aren't for everyone, but I love them.

HM ordered the short ribs, and luckily for me she loves to share. Braised in Rogue chocolate stout and guajillo chiles, this had just a trace of sweetness, much less than the oxtails. I loved the pearl onions and carrots. In the back of the photo you can see the buttered spaetzle making an appearance. Yum.

GJB just had the Caesar salad with ciabatta croutons. We were a little disappointed in the lack of zing in the dressing. Not enough garlic, and not enough anchovy. Happy with the generous shaving of Reggiano-Parmesan, though.

EKD & JTD were sharing the garlic spinach. Simple and done well.

JTD and CT both had pizzas for entrees, and we all agreed they were undercooked. I am not the world's biggest pizza fan. But when I do like pizza I like it constructed like this, with a low topping to crust ratio. Crusted thinly with a nice puff of crust at the side. But the bottom needs to be brown and crispy. Above is JTD's Delux pizza with mushrooms, sausage and salami.

Above is CT's Margherita, with tomato, basil and mozzarella.

Above is the sadness that is the underbelly of the undercooked crust.

I am not a blogger who gives stars or ratings of restaurants. I prefer to share what I eat and what I/we thought and let readers come to their own conclusions There were a few small misses and some differences of opinion on a couple dishes. All in all though, I would call this redemption for BoHo. I would eat here again, not because they deserve a second chance but because I want to eat their food again. I will know better what to by-pass, definitely considering the charcuterie and most likely never ever passing on the Po' Boy Sliders.

PS: The chef was very amiable about SP's intolerance to gluten and prepared the pulled pork sandwich with no bread and/or gluten products. She was happy, and that pulled pork, while sadly unphotogenic, is delicious.

Boho in Los Angeles


MyLastBite said...

Am so wanting the Fried oyster Po' Boy sliders NOW.

Especially after drooling over that close-up shot!

Kristine G said...

word to the hole to the O. :)

Anonymous said...

"SP said it had too much cheese. Is there such a thing? She is a self proclaimed cheese whore. Too much cheese? She may get demoted to cheese slut" I would suggest "Cheese-Tease".

It's With A K said...

I'm in complete agreement on the Po' Boys and the charcuterie. Those two plus the burrata, which I loved, with some wine would make a nice meal for two.

Cara said...

I thought this was a great overall meal as well. Please don't demote to to cheese slut! In my opinion, it was just a little too much for the portion size - probably because I was adoring the oxtail broth and soup itself...and would have loved a bit more of that instead.

I also give them a shout-out for being sensitive to my gluten-free diet and serving my pulled-pork sandwich as a simple serving of pulled pork without the bread. Block-rockin' delicious.

Momma said...

wontz to try the Fried oyster Po' Boy sliders ASAP. *Hunts for copycat recipe now* Love love love the internets.