Saturday, December 23, 2023

Angry Egret Dinette (Los Angeles, CA) [2]

Angry Egret Dinette at Mandarin Plaza
970 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012
213-278-0987 /
Sat 12/23/2023, 07:55p-09:20p

Angry Egret Dinette Exterior

I last checked in with Chef Wes Avila not too long after he opened Angry Egret Dinette in Chinatown as a pandemic-era, takeout-focused, daytime-only spot. The place was initially supposed to be merely a temporary operation, but eventually turned into a more or less proper restaurant, with dinner service commencing in September 2021. AED even snagged a nomination for James Beard's "Best New Restaurant" award in March 2022. But despite this apparent success, it was announced in mid-December that the eatery would be closing at the end of the year, and thus, I made it a point to come out for one final meal.

Angry Egret Dinette Interior
Here we see the interior, which sports a decidedly tropical theme appropriate for the concept. Note that the space was formerly home to Becky Reams and Yeekai Lim's daytime café Lately.

Angry Egret Dinette Beverage List Angry Egret Dinette Menu
As for the menu, it's a pretty casual affair, with some of the same dishes served during the day. Beverage-wise, you get a handful of easy-going beers, wines, and cocktails. Corkage is $10, but was waived tonight, probably because I shared my booze with the staff (which also resulted in a 10% "Neighborhood" discount on my tab). Click for larger versions.

Esquite [$9.00] | Queso cotija, negra aioli, togarashi, scallion, lime
The esquites was one of the better versions I've tried. The sweetness of the corn was on point, and I really enjoyed how that played with the scallions and the salty, lactic weight of the cheese. If that wasn't enough, the lime did a nice job perking things up, and I liked the undercurrent of heat from the togarashi to boot.

Swordfish Torta
Swordfish Torta [$18.00] | Panko fried swordfish, chipotle aioli, cabbage, pico de gallo
I've never had swordfish in torta form before, but it worked out tonight. The fish itself showed off a crisp, panko-coated crust, along with subtly saline-n-sweet flavors. I also appreciated the brightness imparted by the cabbage and salsa, as well as the soft bread, while that spicy aioli tied it all together.

2009 HORAL's Oude Geuze Mega Blend
To drink, I brought along a bottle that I'd been cellaring for a while, the 2009 HORAL's Oude Geuze Mega Blend. This was a union of young and old lambic from eight HORAL (Hoge Raad voor Ambachtelijke Lambiekbieren) members (3 Fonteinen, Boon, De Cam, De Troch, Hanssens, Lindemans, Oud Beersel, Timmermans), first created to celebrate the 7th biannual Toer de Geuze festival in 2009 (thus making this a "batch one" release). The ale showcased a wonderful nose filled with juicy apricots and peaches, supported by layers of florals and earth. Taste-wise, the gueuze displayed a soft, sophisticated sourness undergirded by more stone fruits, a touch of honey, and hints of barnyard. The beer was drinking beautifully tonight, and still has plenty of life left in it--I wish I had another bottle!

Ceviche Tostada
Ceviche Tostada [$16.00 + $5.00] | Yellow tail, yuzu vinaigrette, tomatoes, avocado, salsa china, sesame seeds + Add Uni
Yellowtail combined easily with contrasting elements of scallion, sesame, and soy, though the sea urchin didn't add all that much. Great crunch from that tortilla, too.

Chicken Satay Tacos
Chicken Satay Tacos [$16.00] | Curry marinated chicken, with peanut sauce, herb salad, salsa china
The tacos were a surprise standout thanks to the aggressive sear and smoke on the chicken. I enjoyed the dish's assertively sweet-spicy notes as well, all while the veggies lightened things up.

2013 Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin
Next to imbibe was another "batch 1" release, the inaugural 2013 Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin, a bourbon barrel-aged oatmeal stout that just celebrated its 10th birthday. The beer smelled strongly of black licorice tinged with coffee-esque and metallic nuances. On the palate, the ale was thin but silky, its base of malty sweetness joined by plenty more licorice, as well as bourbon, cacao, and coffee.

Duck Bahn Mi
Duck Bahn Mi [$18.00] | Seared duck breast, herb salad, chipotle aioli, hoisin sauce
A generous portion of duck displayed the deep, almost funky flavors I was looking for, offset by veggies, herbs, and the creeping heat of that chipotle-boosted aioli. The suppleness of the bread was once again appreciated, but I found the bird a bit tough in certain spots, making the sandwich somewhat difficult to eat cleanly.

Oxtail Frites
Oxtail Frites [$33.00] | Braised oxtail in a guajillo sauce, salsa negra aioli, served with fries
Oxtails possessed the dark, sticky flavors I was expecting. They were perked up by the green onions, and also demonstrated a nice peppery finish. As for the French fries, I had no complaints. They helped moderate the heft of the beef, and also paired well with a dab of that zippy aioli.

I'm glad that I made it out here one final time. It's a shame that AED is closing, but apparently Chef Avila has bigger plans in mind. Of course, he already debuted Ka'teen in Hollywood back in December 2021, a vibe-y spot inspired by the food of the Yucatán (which I still need to check out). However, his next venture is an upscale northern Mexican steakhouse in WeHo called MXO, so that's definitely something to be on the lookout for coming up.


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