73: Wood-Roasted English Peas at Tar & Roses
73: Wood-Roasted English Peas at Tar & Roses.
Andrew Kirchner's Santa Monica restaurant excels at small bites -- which is saying a lot during time in which most new restaurants have a section called "small bites." Tar & Roses also excels at smoky wood-fired cooking, which you could probably discern from the menu's description of what variety of wood the oven is burning that day.
The best dishes, of course, occur at the point at which the two characteristics meet. Balsamic-glazed ribs sticky with chili and garlic. Chicken "oysters" -- moist sections cut from the thigh -- basted with tamarind paste. At any point during the year there are at least three dishes with the prefix "wood-roasted" on the menu. From late spring to the last days of June, the dish in high style was a wooden bowl of roasted English peas, the tiniest bit of brown char marking their stringy tips, tossed with olive, rough sea salt, and a bit of chopped mint. It was a messier than the edamame you'd find at the yakitori restaurant down the street, but the fragrance of smoke and mint that enveloped your senses when you popped the earthy-sweet peas from their pods was enough to inspire fits.
English pea season is now over, unfortunately. You'll have to make due with something like the roasted corn with goat cheese, lime and Basque peppers, which isn't the worst fate in the world. And besides, if Kirchner was the kind of chef who deemed it kosher to serve an out-of-season vegetable, Tar & Roses would probably be a much less exciting place.
Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.
100: Lukshon's Dan Dan Noodles
99: Cemita de Milanesa at Cemitas Poblanos Elviritas #1
98: Chichen Itza's Cochinita Pibil
97: Tsukemen at Tsujita L.A.
96: La Cevicheria's Bloody Clam Ceviche
95: Duck Shawarma at Momed
94: Peruvian Chicken at Pollo a la Brasa
93: Squash Blossom Quesadilla at Antojitos Carmen
92: Thai Boat Noodles at Pa-Ord
91: Baco Mercat's Bazole
90: Furikake Kettle Corn at A-Frame
89: Live Santa Barbara Spot Prawns at Providence
88: Fried Pig Tails at Night + Market
87: Egg Salad Sandwich at Euro Pane
86: Galbi Jjim at Soban
85: Truffle Honey-Laced Fried Chicken at Manhattan Beach Post
84: Mool Naeng Myun at Yu Chic Naeng Myun
83: Chicken Vampiro at Mexicali Taco & Co
82: Sooo Cali Dog at Dog Haus
81: White Anchovy, Tomato and Fresno Chile Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza
80: Shu Mai at Elite Restaurant
79: Tandoori Chicken at Al-Watan
78: Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding at The Hungry Cat
77: Agedashi Tofu at Izakaya Bincho
76: Pork Chop at Salt's Cure
75: Porcetto at Sotto
74: The Sea Urchin Tostada at La Guerrerense
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