Saturday, November 14, 2015

Dune (Los Angeles, CA)

Dune Restaurant
3143 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039
Sat 11/14/2015, 09:15p-10:10p

Dune Exterior

The last time I was in Atwater Village was for Canelé back in '09, I'm pretty sure. What brought me back was Dune, a falafel-centric Middle Eastern eatery that soft-opened in mid-January. Named after Frank Herbert's epic novel, the restaurant comes to us from the guys behind Echo Park's Elf Cafe: Chef Scott Zwiezen, Astara Calas, and Evan Haros.

Dune Interior
Dune resides in the tiny former home of Atwater Grill. Seating comprises just a few stools along the wall and window, as well as the public tables outside.

Dune Menu
The menu features variations on a few core items, the signature falafel joined by lamb and your usual Levantine goodies. Click for a larger version.

Iced Moroccan Mint Tea / Rosemary Lemonade
A couple drinks to start. The Iced Moroccan Mint Tea [$2] had a subtle astringency to it, finished by a layer of sweetness and minty undertones. The Rosemary Lemonade [$3], meanwhile, was tart and refreshing, though I didn't get too much of the actual rosemary.

Bocquerones Toast
Bocquerones Toast [$10.00] | Served on Bub and Grandma's sourdough with Moro Bay avocados. With preserved lemon and pepper salsa, kalamata olives and micro greens
We began with the boquerones toast, which was lovely. Excellent base of creaminess from the avocado to pair with the anchovies, moderated by the sweetness of the salsa while sprouts provided a delightfully bitter accent. I have to give specials props to the bread here too, baked by Andy Kadin of Bub & Grandma's using Grist & Toll whole grain flour. It was one of the best breads I've had in a while: crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, slightly tangy with a great, countering nuttiness from all the sesame.

2015 Almanac Saison De Brettaville
BYOB time, starting with the new 2015 Almanac Saison De Brettaville, a Brett ale aged in white wine barrels. This smelled great, with lots of juicy, tropical, stone fruit, citrusy notes backed by an undercurrent of tartness. The taste was more sour, more funky, more vinous, with an oaky, Brett-y quality to it.

Pickled Beets Sandwich
Pickled Beets Sandwich [$9.00] | Bub and Grandma's ciabatta, toum, pickled beets, capers, kalamata olives, marinated onions, Bulgarian sheep feta, 8 minute egg, shoestring potatoes, seasonal greens
The sandwich was even better, despite having beets. The root vegetable was beautifully presented, its earthy sweetness evened out by the pickles and olives along with the lactic tang of that feta. I loved the additional luxuriousness provided by the egg, and those crunchy-salty potato bits were spot on too.

2015 Oskar Blues Death By Coconut
The 2015 Oskar Blues Death By Coconut was an Irish porter made with desiccated coconut and dark chocolate. The nose was full of sweet, but unfortunately artificial-smelling coconut and slight chocolate-y malt. On the palate, I found the beer thin and lacking in body, with a noticeable tartness and smoky quality; there was less coconut, and it still didn't taste quite right. Doesn't even come close to Funky Buddha's Last Snow or Perrin's No Rules, two benchmarks of the coconut porter style.

Hummus & Lamb Plate
Hummus & Lamb Plate [$14.00] | Served with a side of house flat bread, house pickles, marinated cabbage and onions, olives, seasonal greens
The lamb delivered, arriving super flavorful, slightly herby, and well-charred, meshing swimmingly with the lines of lemony yogurt on top. The hummus, pickles, and flatbread were all on point as well, making for a gratifying plate indeed.

2014 Avery Rumpkin
Our final beer was the 2014 Avery Rumpkin, a pumpkin ale spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger, then aged in rum barrels. I found it apropos for the season, all spicy and sweet and malty and oaky, with a huge boozy backbone.

Organic Green Herb Falafel Sandwich
Organic Green Herb Falafel Sandwich [$8.00] | House flat bread, hummus, house pickles, marinated cabbage and onions, tahini sauce, shoestring potatoes
We ended with the signature sandwich, and it didn't let us down. The falafels themselves were just as you'd want: crunchy on the outside, well-textured, gritty, but moist on the inside, with a great nutty-herby savor. They worked beautifully in the sandwich, serving as a base for all the creamy, bright, tangy, minty flavors at play. Delicious and superbly integrated.

Dune managed to exceed expectations, serving up some pretty flawless, robustly-flavored, deeply-satisfying Middle Eastern-inspired fare. And the falafels, yes, just might've been the best I've had. Finally, another reason to come up to Atwater.


Anonymous Kevin v. the ABC said...

Good God, it's like an entitlement pathology for you to illegally consume alcohol in places you shouldn't. Dune now on notice as well.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 9:24:00 PM  
Blogger mattatouille said...

You really think ABC is gonna read this blog and hit the business for illegally serving alcohol? Actually...on second thought..

Thursday, December 17, 2015 9:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the poster is implying that they are using this blog to MAKE complaints to the ABC, thus bringing heat on the restaurants. It's actually a pretty risky thing.

Thursday, December 17, 2015 3:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad you enjoyed Dune as much as I do. It's crazy how consistently delicious it is, love it!

Thursday, December 17, 2015 4:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the difference between bringing booze into a restaurant and bringing your own food into a beer market? You bring food into a beer market and sits and get time temp abused and you get sick. The health departments not coming in! Haters will Hate!

Love your posts Kevin, keep up the great writing your inspiring!

Sunday, January 24, 2016 11:37:00 AM  

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