Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Cannibal (Culver City, CA)

The Cannibal Beer & Butcher
8850 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
Wed 06/22/2016, 08:15p-11:10p

The Cannibal Exterior

Not long ago, we paid a visit to Loqui at Culver City's Platform complex, which was joined recently by The Cannibal. Named after cyclist Eddy Merckx, the New York transplant combines a butcher shop and restaurant, the former bowing on May 16th and the latter a week later. The place is the work of Christian Pappanicholas (Resto) and operating partner Cory Lane (a Momofuku and Nobu FOH vet), who operate two other Cannibal gastropubs in Manhattan: one in Midtown East (est. 2011) and one in Hell's Kitchen's Gotham West Market (est. 2013). In charge of the menu is Executive Chef Francis Derby (King, Shorty's.32, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Solex, Tailor, Gilt, wd~50, Atlas), who also heads things in NYC. Running the day-to-day, though, is Chef de Cuisine Jude Parra-Sickels, a Momofuku alum who also worked at Roy Choi joints A-Frame, Sunny Spot, and POT.

The Cannibal Interior
The Cannibal was penned by Studio MAI (Hinoki & The Bird, Gjelina) and exudes that "rustic-yet-refined" feel that's all the rage these days. There's room for about 120 people inside, and even more if you include the decently-sized patio out front.

The Cannibal Menu The Cannibal Draft Beer & Cocktail List The Cannibal Wines by the Glass List The Cannibal Beer List: Pilsners & Lagers / Whites & Wheats The Cannibal Beer List: Saison-Farmhouse / Traditional & Altbiers / Blondes, Goldens & Tripels
The Cannibal Beer List: Pale Ales & IPAs / Ambers, Reds & Ryes / Brown Ales & Dubbels The Cannibal Beer List: Quadrupels & Dark Ales / Scotch Ales / Porters & Stouts / Flanders Red & Oud Bruin The Cannibal Beer List: Lambics, Wilds & Sours / Smoked / That's a Huge Bottle / Cider / Gluten Free The Cannibal Wine List: Sparkling Wine / Champagne / White Wine The Cannibal Wine List: Rosé Wine / Red Wine
As for the menu, it's heavily biased toward charcuterie, as expected. You'll also find heftier meat plates and a healthy dose of veggies as well. To imbibe, beer is very clearly the focus here. You get 12 beers on draught (in a "flux capacitor" setup, as pioneered by Beachwood) along with a hundred-plus in the bottle, all managed by Beer Director Julian Kurland. It's probably the largest beer list I've seen in Los Angeles, though at this point it comprises just the usual suspects. In addition, there are about a dozen or so cocktails on offer and a pretty good sized wine list. Click for larger versions.

Cacio e Pepe Chips
Cacio e Pepe Chips [$3.00]
Our table wasn't available at the stated reservation time (we were seated around 9:00 for an 8:15), so the hostess graciously set us up at the bar and poured us some complementary bubbly, which was a nice touch. In addition, we were given these chips and the pork rinds below, which were also supposed to be gratis, but unfortunately we ended up getting charged for the snacks. That being said, the chips were quite tasty, with a great crunch to 'em, though I could've used a tad more pepe in there.

The Learned One
The Learned One [$14.00] | single malt, amaro montenegro, ginger, lemon
We also ordered a few cocktails while standing at the bar. This first one was all about that ginger, which provided a zesty, acerbic contrast to the bittersweet and boozy notes in the drink.

Pork Rinds
Pork Rinds [$4.00] | lime aioli
Chicharrones were delightful: perfectly crunchy and just salty enough, with the aioli adding a welcomed creamy element to the dish.

A Rhum with a View
A Rhum with a View [$14.00] | canne bleue, j.m. 80, lime, pink guava, sparkling wine
This next cocktail went down easy, with tangy, tropical, lingering flavors of guava over a base of rum.

Cochinita Pibil Head
Cochinita Pibil Head [$12.00] | tostada, pineapple
This take on cochinita pibil was a favorite of mine thanks to its super tender cuts of well-spiced pork paired with the brightness of the veggies and crunch of that tostada.

Philippe's Fire
Philippe's Fire [$14.00] | el silencio mezcal, campari, grapefruit, jalapeno, citrus
The mezcal cocktail also hit the mark with its balance of smoke and spice, all set against light, fruity hits of citrus.

Cannibal Jerky
Cannibal Jerky [$10.00]
Jerky made for a gratifying chew and showed off some strong soy-powered flavors.

Medley Bros House Old Fashioned
Medley Bros House Old Fashioned [$10.00] | Medley Bros 102, Whiskey Barrel Bitters, orange peel
One of two available draft cocktails, the Old Fashioned was a viscous one, with an intense bittersweet flavor profile layered over the booziness and burn of the bourbon.

Grilled Fava
Grilled Fava [$5.00]
Fava beans were fun, coming out well-charred and satisfying to the bite.

Chicken Matcha Mousse
Chicken Matcha Mousse [$11.00] | roasted plum, almonds, oats
At this point our table was ready and we moved into the dining room proper. A matcha-infused mousse did a nice job playing the bitterness of the tea against the richness of the bird, all while plum added a hint of sweetness and the oats a welcomed crunch.

Country Pate
Country Pate [$12.00] | rhubarb mostarda
The pâté de campagne was classic, a gritty, rustic preparation that was all about the pork.

The A.C.C.
The A.C.C. [$13.00] | bonded rye, lime, house grenadine, rosetta
Our next drink was on the bracing side, displaying plenty of tart, almost astringent notes cut by the sweetness of grenadine while the rye provided a spicy underpinning to it all.

Charred Carrots
Charred Carrots [$8.00] | walnut romesco, carrot tops
Carrots arrived soft and sweet, with a smidge of char and a noticeable nuttiness from the walnuts.

Roasted Cauliflower
Roasted Cauliflower [$7.00] | chili, basil, parmesan
The cauliflower was a standout, coming out well-charred and imbued with a deep, chili-fueled savoriness that I found utterly satisfying.

Brouwerij West Dog Ate My Homework
Our first beer was the Brouwerij West Dog Ate My Homework [$7.00], a saison with blackberry juice added. I found this fairly restrained in its jamminess and berry qualities. Rather, I got a dry, slightly funky presentation with subtle fruit but an almost candied quality toward the finish.

Cannibal Dogs 2.0
Cannibal Dogs 2.0 [$15.00] | "tiger style", spicy tripe chili, scallion, chinese mustard
Hot dogs were meaty and snappy, augmented by the chili while the mustard provided a huge blast of heat all up in your nose.

36oz Ribeye
36oz Ribeye [$120.00]
Our large format dish of the night was the 60-day dry-aged rib eye, a nicely charred, particularly deeply-flavored preparation that conveyed a very concentrated beefiness. I definitely appreciated the counterpoint offered up by the mushroom and arugula salad on the side too.

Tahoe Mountain Evolution of the Barrel
Next was the Tahoe Mountain Evolution of the Barrel [$14], a gueuze-like brew composed of 1/2/3-year old barrel-aged ales. I found it quite acidic, vinegar-y even, with lots of oak and lemon on top of barnyard and a surprisingly large amount of roasty malt. Definitely not as finessed as its Belgian counterparts.

Cured [$18.00] | selection of 3
Next up was a threesome of cured meats:
  • Salumi: Bresaola-biellese, NY - Super deep, sticky, with boatloads of flavor.
  • Salumi: Petit Jesu-biellese, NY - A classic salami that was easy to enjoy.
  • Country Ham: Johnston, NC - An unabashedly salty, rustic preparation that lived up to its "country" moniker.
Cheese [$16.00] | selection of 3
With the charcuterie, we had to have cheese as well:
  • Surfin' Blu-Buffalo, Italy - Affinaged with an IPA, this one showed off a marked fruity character, which I'm assuming was largely due to the hops from the beer.
  • Kunik-Cow & Goat, NY - Tart and creamy, with punch and pungency.
  • Moses Sleeper-Cow, VT - Brie-inspired; think rich and ripe, with a great mushroom-y sweetness.
Algonquin [$12.00] | bonded rye, blanc & dry vermouth, house pineapple gomme, bitter lemon
The final cocktail of the night delivered with its marriage of abundantly sweet, spicy notes joined by the complexities of the vermouths.

Pavlova [$7.00]
Two desserts were offered tonight, and naturally we went with one of each. The pavlova was properly light 'n' airy, with the meringue playing off of the stone fruit in classic fashion.

Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Cake [$7.00]
The chocolate cake, meanwhile, was also sort of old school, but kicked up a notch by the nuts up top.

Culver City looks to have landed another notable spot with The Cannibal. The place serves up a fun, meat-focused menu, but the veggies held their own as well. The cocktails were quite good too, and I do commend the team for striving to put together a large bottle list. The billing was wonky though. In addition to the supposedly complementary chips and pork rinds mentioned above, we were also charged for a squash & peach salad and some guanciale, both of which we ordered but never received.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Filthy hipster.

Thursday, July 21, 2016 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like you and the L.A. Weekly's critic don't see eye to eye on this one.

Whereas he is, you know, a journalist with the requisite vocabulary to accurately describe flavor profiles and presentation...and you literally use the phrase "all about that (blank)" TWICE to describe the food you were served...I'm going to disregard your review.

For the love of God, if you're going to pretend to be a food critic and not a new-money dork with a blog, take a basic writing class. Clearly you can afford it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 10:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Always enjoy your reviews and wonderful photographs of the food, you're the best! Don't listen to the haters.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 8:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin, journalist degree or not, thanks for your hard work and supreme attention to detail. Your photos, menus and history of the restaurants/chefs is always greatly helpful and appreciated. Keep up the good work!

Thursday, July 28, 2016 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not weed out the spammers by using login filters?

Monday, August 01, 2016 6:51:00 PM  
Anonymous *** SUPERGIRL *** said...

Have loved your blog for years. Always the first place I check for LA reviews since I can count on you to order a lot of things on the menu and to include prices and pictures.

Monday, August 15, 2016 6:29:00 AM  

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