Fat Cow is in the Grove. It carries a horrible name. It’s owned by Gordon Ramsay. That’s three strikes before the menu is even furbished.
Yelp reviews bitch about the service, Fat Cow serves a Kobe burger, they also charge $9 for a Blue Moon (MillerCoors). That’s 2 batters sent back to the cages. Can an LA gastropub get worse than this? Well, yes, because Fat Cow has Brit Matthew Woolf, former the Chef de Cuisine at FIG — hello, we love Fig to bits and pieces — and before that, Chicago’s Trump Hotel). And he can cook. He can cook off the menu, so don’t just order from Ramsay’s industrial menu. Follow Woolf and his specials.
Look at this striped bass
Certainly that HAS to taste good.
If the chef specials aren’t any good, the monthly “beer n bangers” designed by Woolf was, bar none, the best mouthful of wieners I’ve ever had in LA. The beer & cheddar soup (top left above) tasted like all cheddar and no Pilsner Urquell. Translation: it’s good. The reinterprted toad in the hole (top right pic above) tasted like a nicely braised sausage with local carrots, all deconstructed into something that’s not very sausage-in-the-hole. The duck sausage on mash, dressed with pungent mustard glaze, was, bar-none, the best stuffed meat of the evening. But the beer braised sausage in onion gravy matches anything that has come out of Gorge’s kitchen.
I haven’t the slightest clue if the beer n banger dinners at Fat Cow are still going on. It was supposedly a monthly appearance, but Fat Cow’s facebook mentions nothing else of it. Alas, tourists hitting the Grove will have to settle for the regular menu, and some say the burger stands on its own. Alternatively, follow Woolf’s twitter stream and go straight for the specials (and cocktails — which were pretty darn decent for not being “mixologist” driven”, and not any pricier than that “other” mixologist house also in the Grove.)
What can be said about Le Ka that hasn’t already been said? A few things: chefs can’t be faulted for a restaurant attracting an attractive crowd. Beautiful women should be able to enjoy Frenchy food after work just as the next ugly CPA. Does the late night Asian clubbing crowd mean Le Ka isn’t serious about food? Perhaps. But there’s Remi Lauvand helming Le Ka as a corporate chef. The last time I had the opportunity to taste a Lauvand menu was back in ’10, and it was chock full of porky gloriousness. The dude is super French and he tweets of massive French truffles and making jam with SoCal produce. What more can a Francophile want in DTLA. How about David Feau as the new executive chef. Yah, that David Feau.
So now there are apparently two Frenchmen hanging out at Le Ka’s kitchen. Le Ka is owned by a bunch of Chinamen. There are two French chefs planning menus at a fancy million dollar restaurant funded and operated by a bunch of Chinese guys. In Hong Kong, this would be a recipe for a Michelin star, perhaps multiple-Michelin stars. In LA, where we’re all racist as hell, this just means a bunch of swanky Taiwanese girls hanging out at Le Ka’s bar because an LA Times food critic has reviewed the place.
Instead of coming for cocktails, go for the jugular at Le Ka. Aim for the charcuterie, the cheese, the saucisson. Skip the pizza, the kampachi and seek out whatever might be remotely Froggy. After all, David Feau worked at Guy Savoy. It’s worth repeating that a Guy Savoy alum helms a kitchen at a Chinese owned clubby-restaurant in the middle of Downtown’s financial district, slinging coquillage for $23. If you go during lunch and order a chicken salad or a burger, the onous is on you simply because there’s a fantastic grilled octopus, and a house-made merguez sausage. Skip the over fried Jidori chicken sporting a nebulous spice mix.
Earlier on, I wished Le Ka would gain a bona fide pastry chef after repeatedly sampling the same desserts
before late night clubbing binges. Well, the Le Ka team telepathetically hired Kristin Feuer, previously of Joe’s, even earlier of Providence. Her new desserts are simple and elegant, and she apologizes on behalf of her plating team if someone forgets a topping at the pass. A strawberry shortcake recently appeared just for those few special who don’t give a hoot about watching their weight amongst the pretty crowd.
I love this place; I love its gaudiness, I love the patio that’s really a highrise’s second foyer, I love the kitchen, I love the fact a bunch of Asians have finally decided to NOT cook crappy European food and let y.t.s into their kitchen for some old fashioned continental food driven by Californian produce. I love it so much I actually paid for multiple visits here, before and after the restaurant PR’s invitation. Now can someone figure out how to get me into the restaurant from the lower parking level? Drago Centro figured out, I can’t imagine a bunch of restaurateurs, all supposedly really good at math, not figuring this out sooner.
Happy Hour Menu
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