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Sunday, May 29, 2011

A-Frame: Mediocre Picnic Fare With a Twist -- Kimchi Sour Cream, Anyone?

A-frame was disappointing. Perhaps that shouldn't surprise me since I was never a big fan of the Kogi truck food. But the premise of picnic-style food to share was so appealing that I had to check it out.

The Furikake kettle corn didn't have much flavor, and bordered on bland. Different, yes -- unless you're from Hawaii and had it while growing up like someone I know, but not particularly well-executed. I long for the real deal. Like I wrote in my Lazy Ox review, Furikake , the Japanese mix of sesame seeds, seaweed, etc used to sprinkle over rice, is catching on in the fine dining scene. It's everywhere.

Then there was the double cheeseburger. You all know by now that I burger, therefore I am. Granted, I had been warned it'd be two layers of thin meat patties, unlike the chunky, juicy and bloody burgers I like from Houston's and Lazy Ox. This one came with tomato confit, pickled red onions, butter lettuce, hot sauce sharp cheddar and sesame mayo on a brioche bun. While it was a notch up In-n-Out, it was most definitely no Houston's. Ok. I don't think it seeks to outdo the Houston's of the world. But still, if you're going to have a burger on the menu and you're such a pioneering chef, do something more special and keep it bloody, please!

The patties were so anemic that you could barely taste the meat. The bun was good enough and it was messy to eat in a good way. But I won't be ordering it again, if I return, that is, which is uncertain at this point.

The fries were a mix of purple Okinawan sweet potato, yam, and Korean sweet potato with kimchi sour cream as a dip. They were good but nothing to write home about. Ok, the kimchi sour cream was an interesting touch. It could be spicier for sure. I felt like he diluted it a bit for the mainstream audience, which is unfortunate.

Purple sweet potatoes are always a joy to eat. Portions were on the small side so my dinner companion and I only had like three each and we cleaned up the plate.

For dessert, we wanted to be wowed. We ordered what sounded like the most unusual thing on the menu -- black pepper Szechuan ice cream and salted chocolate cookie.

Another disappointment. I like that Roy Choi tinkered with different ideas but I must say they didn't work.

I wasn't a huge fan of Chego either but at least I liked what he did with the pork belly pieces. They were like lacquered pieces of jewels sitting atop the rice with other goodies. The atmosphere was ok and communal tables gave a, well, community feel.

Oh, but I must vent about the poor service we got. It wasn't our server who was the problem. We were eating and a larger party suddenly showed up, saying they would take over the entire communal table we were sitting on the edge. I think it's so tacky for the hostess to pull that crap because it was clearly a way to pressure us to leave. That's SO not cool. That alone made me not want to return. Thank God the food was mediocre.

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