Son of a Gun defies all pre-concieved notions of the Los Angeles food scene. This restaurant could easily fit in with the Brooklyn food scene, with a really cool crowd, delicious fresh food and surprisingly reasonable prices. The only obvious difference in LA was the valet parking offered, since driving in the city is a given.
After leaving our car with the gentleman out front, we made our way inside to the small, nautical themed restaurant. The decor avoids crossing the line into tacky, and instead gives a warm beachy feel. The right side of the restaurant has one large communal table open for walk-ins, while the left side has different sized individual tables, which people reserve in advance.
We were lead to a table on the left side of the restaurant, right against the wall. The individuals surrounding us were both trendy and beautiful, but completely different then the usual LA type. The young, creative, food loving individuals flock to this trendy Beverly Hills restaurant. It didn’t take us long to realize that this was our kind of a place.
A few moments after sitting down, we glanced over the wine list, trying to debate which type to order. We asked the waitress for advice on one of the reasonably priced bottles. Without asking, the waitress brought over the two least expensive bottles for us to taste and decide which worked best. We selected our perfect match and toasted to an amazing first night in LA.
The seasonal menu is broken up into six different parts, three of which are dedicated to their high quality seafood dishes. We decided to steer away from the meats and salad portion of the menu, sticking to focus on the raw, fish and shellfish sections. We had a really difficult time narrowing down our selections, asking the waitress for her help and guidance. She ended up nixing dishes that wouldn’t excite us, even though luxurious ingredients like uni were part of those dishes. We ended up with two raw dishes, one shellfish and one fish dish.
Our first course began raw, starting with a Hamachi Sashimi.
I want to swim in the delightfully light, umami galbi vinagirette. There is a really subtle sweetness and citrus undertone in the sauce. The delicate pieces of hamachi sashimi soaks up the beautiful broth giving new life to the fresh pieces of fish. Each piece of fish topped with a thin slice of radish and radish sprouts with have a similar flavor and texture to baby bean sprouts. Every component on the dish had a purpose and every ingredient added texture and flavor, while keeping the hamachi the star of the dish. The hamachi dish is a must have at Son of A Gun since it was easily one of the best raw fish preparations.
We continued down the raw path with a simple scallop dish.
There is a lot more then meets the eye when it comes to this three ingredient scallop dish. The gloucester scallop is sliced thinly sliced, served in its own shell over ice. On top, the yuzu kosho sauce has a surprising heat the lingers after the sweet and savory flavor disappears. The simply pickled shiitake mushrooms are equally soft, but give an added acidity which helps to develop the flavors of the spicy yuzu and delicate scallop. The restraint used in this dish highlights the freshness of the products that come through the Son of A Gun kitchen. If you want a great scallop, serve it raw and make it simple.
Next, it was time to move onto the move whimsical part of our meal, beginning with the Dungeness Crab wrapped in Daikon.
The dungeness crab salad is mixed with a light mayonnaise to hold the pieces of shellfish together. It’s simply dressed to make sure that the crab remains pure and sweet. The thinly sliced daikon wraps the crab, creating a tube shaped piece which mimics an spring roll. The daikon gives a crunch to the crab salad without compromising the integrity of the fish. The melon balls might seem like an unusual item on the dish, but it adds such a sweet and fresh component. Finally, the yuzu sauce rounded out the dish by having the savory umami flavor running through all of the components of the crab dish. It’s a light, ambitious twist on a crab salad.
Finally, we finished off the savory part of the meal with the Blackened Rock Fish, which turned out to be Son of A Gun’s take on a deconstructed taco.
Crispy Rock Fish sits on top of all of the essential ingredients that makes up a killer fish taco. Each component has been perfected and toned down in heaviness but not in flavor. Rock Fish is a local Pacific fish that’s flakey and delicate. The blackening spices on the outside creates a gorgeous, dark crust giving a lot of flavor to the really simple whitefish. Instead of a taco shell, the crispy pieces of tortilla are buried at the bottom acting as the crunch needed to complete the deconstructed taco. The sweet and slightly spicy tomatillo salsa mixes with the creamy, light avocado. Instead of sour cream, a tangy crema sits on the bottom of the dish to mellow out the spices. Big pieces of cilantro rounds out the high end taco adding a fresh herbacious quality. Plus, I think everything’s better with a little cilantro. The deconstructed taco was easily our favorite dish of the night.
After the delicious savory meal, we realized we needed to end our fabulous dinner on a very sweet note. The dessert menu at Son of A Gun is limited with most dishes including bread. While gluten-free, Leigh decided to take one for the team and allow of us to order the Italian Hamburger, agreeing to eat around the Brioche Bun.
I felt bad, but not that bad that Leigh couldn’t enjoy the Brioche bun, because Woah, Baby! More for me. The Brioche bun soaks up the caramel making it a sticky, sweet, fluffy piece of bread. The Nutella ice cream is as good as you would think, with the hazelnut and chocolate adding decadence to the brioche. Point Blank, get this dessert, you won’t regret it.
Son of A Gun gets everything right. Beginning with the fabulous service to the whimsical dishes and finally with the ridiculously good dessert, we couldn’t have left any happier. Seeing Food Network Star, Adam Gertler at the table next to us was another great sign that we had picked a fabulous restaurant. Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, the owner’s of the Son of a Gun and famed sister restaurant Animal have a winning formula. The quality of product is top notch, while the environment is casual cool and essentially Brooklyn in LA.
When you’re in LA, or if you live there now, make a reservation or walk-in for a really great meal. Everything will be better then the last, and if you’re like me, you’ll already be planning a flight back to the West Coast to not just only visit my sister (hey, Leigh!) but also to get a taste of Son of A Gun’s next seasonal menu. If it’s anything like the Summer, it will be out of this world.
Son of A Gun – 8370 West 3rd Street – Los Angeles, CA
Son of A Gun
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Perfect For: Quality Seafood, Special Occasions, Authentic Dining, Impressing Foodies
Reservations: Recommended via Phone Call (323) 782-9033
Favorite Dishes: Blackened Rock Fish Taco, Hamachi Sashimi, Italian Hamburger