Sunday, May 25, 2014

smoke.oil.salt: Uni Flan !! And Spanish Seafood & Wine Mid-City

After his successes with 800 Degrees (revolutionizing the way and speed with which pizza is served, and making great pizza accessible) and the Umami Burger empire, it was exciting to get the chance to check out Adam Fleischman's next project.

smoke.oil.salt - the multi-sensory equivalent of an onomatopoeia - is concepted as an authentic Spanish seafood restaurant and wine bar.  Helmed by Perfecto Rocher (Lazy Ox Canteen), the menu features the flavors of Spain at a level that I haven't come across yet in LA.

To start our tasting, the deceptively simple Olives amb bitets ($6) olives, toasted almonds, Manchego cheese deftly combines three signature ingredients from Spain in a humble yet delicious plate, mixing briny crunchy nutty-sweet soft, brightened by just a bit of acidity from lemon and pickled onion.

No Spanish meal would be complete without a great tomato toast: and smoke.oil.salt. offers up their version Pa amb tomacca il llagonisses ($6) Catalan tomato toast with homemade white and red sausages.

Then there was the Truita de Carxofes ($11) artichoke omelet, meyer lemon aioli, in a lovely mini skillet.

When sitting at the communal table, the Salpico d'orxata i ostres, clotxines ($17) oyster and mussel cocktail, marinated in tiger nut milk will be an ice breaker / conversation starter for sure.  None of us had ever heard of "tiger nut milk" before, and wondered whether it was some sort of Andrew Zimmern worthy bizarre food, like 'milk' from a tiger's...nuts.  No reason for worry here, our server explained that tiger nut is a nut, and the milk we can think of like almond milk but just made with another type of nut.  Upon further research though, looks like tiger nuts are tubers, that grow in the ground like potatoes.

So I guess you can think of this as the lightest, broth-like cold 'chowder' with shellfish not usually found in soup.  In any case, this dish to me seemed to have thai inspired flavors - perhaps with a bit of lemongrass that did it? - and in looks alone resembled a coconut milk soup.  Very interesting dish, and great for those looking for the unexpected and for excitement in dining out.

Another signature Spanish dish is of course croquetas: smoke.oil.salt makes theirs with cod: Bunyols de Bacalla ($12) cod croquetas, citrus aioli

One of my favorite dishes of the night was the simple breakfast-for-dinner Bravas Trencades ($11) with fried potatoes, Serrano ham, chorizo, fried egg.  The potatoes were perfectly crisped outside and soft inside, served at a perfectly hot temperature, and the shaved-so-thin-you-can-almost-see-through-them ham was deliciously flavor-packed, while the fried egg lent cohesiveness to the whole thing with its lovely liquid sun.
And of course, my ultimate favorite of the night: Flam d'erico ($18) sea urchin flan, caviar, shrimp chili oil.  A gorgeous presentation of rich, smooth uni infused flan in a mason jar, and the shrimp chili oil very well controlled so that it didn't overwhelm the delicate ocean funk of sea urchin, but just gave it a nice bit of a kick, in addition to the briny bursts of caviar.
The Calamars amb mongetes ($15) Monterey Bay baby calamari, warm cranberry beans was addictive as well, and a nice play on surf and turf with the perfectly fried, crispy ocean creatures on a bed of earthy cranberry beans cooked, per our server, in chicken stock.
One of the major show stoppers came at the end: another Spanish meal staple is iberico pork, and smoke.oil.salt serves their Pluma Iberica ($35) as a wood-fire grilled butcher's filet Iberico pork, smoked green onions, with Xato sauce.  The slices shown were just sample size for our tasting, since we'd had so many dishes to try.  Everyone at our table unanimously said that they would without hesitation come back and pay full price for the full sized portion of this mind-blowingly flavorful filet.  It was like the pork equivalent of the best wagyu steak.
Can't wait to return to smoke.oil.salt soon!

*Disclaimer:  This meal was hosted.

7274 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046
Ph: 323.930.7900

Look for reservations (and OpenTable points!) here.


Smoke Oil Salt on Urbanspoon


  1. Hmmmm…intriguing! I wonder if Abe could eat anything there?

    1. Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for reading! The artichoke omelet from the preview tasting is vegetarian - they also had a spring onion plate, and I do see a few dishes on their menu post opening that we didn't try but sound vegetarian friendly.



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