REVIEW w/ pics: A-Frame Gets a Solid B+
Although A-Frame has been open for awhile now, it's only recently that I've been able to pay it a visit. Having experienced Owner/Chef Roy Choi's food through Kogi here and here and having loved it, I knew I was going to enjoy my meal at A-Frame. Although it didn't get an A,there was more than enough great food to have me wanting to come back for more. Our meal started with the Heirloom Pickles with creamy dip and extra virgin olive oil. I love pickled vegetables so this was a definite hit with me.
For awhile now, I've been hearing from fellow blogger, Tiffin Unboxed (http://tiffinunboxed.blogspot.com/2011/01/recent-finds-frames-furikake-kettle.html) about how wonderful the Furikake Kettle Corn with buttered Blazin’ J’s Hawaiian style is and after my first handful, I was in complete heaven. I just loved the sweetness, the saltiness and the ocean flavors of the seaweed all combined together. A whole bowl wasn't enough since I had to share. I could have easily eaten a whole bowl just by myself.
Next up was a Filipino-inspired dish in the form of a 5-Grain Pan de Sal served hot and crusty with Plugra butter and sea salt. As a Filipina, this dish just didn't connect with me. Filipino pan de sal are usually like dinner rolls, not a shaped into a loaf, but it was more than just the shape. I didn't care for the the sunflower-seeded embedded crust and I also felt that bread itself lacked a bit of sweetness that I usually associate with pan de sal. Funny, if this dish was called anything but Pan de Sal, I might have been okay with it.
Next up was Chef Roy's version of Clam Chowder, which was made with green curry, lemongrass, pancetta, coconut milk and came with toasted sourdough. This dish was a home run. I enjoyed the herb-y, sweet and salty flavors of the combined ingredients.
Needing some greens, we also ordered the Island Famous Market Salad with shaved Maui onions, tofu, fried garlic, seasonal fruit and ginger shoyu vinaigrette. The sweetness of the onions and the strawberries paired well with the slightly bitter greens while the fried garlic added a hit of pungency as well as a crunch component that I definitely appreciated. I also like the balance of sweet-savory notes when it came to the dressing.
The Kitchen Fries which were made up of purple Okinawan sweet potatso, yams, and Korean sweet potatos were good at the time, if not necessarily memorable. What was memorable was the Dyn-O-Mite, which was a butter and sour cream twice baked duchesse potato with chives and parmesan crust. The cheesy crust was amazing with a potato filling that was soft, with an almost creamy texture.
Our next dish was The Classic with grilled pencil asparagus, crispy pancetta lardons, fried egg, shaved Parmesan Reggiano, and lemon. I absolutely couldn't get enough of the grilled asparagus and any dish that is smart enough to have crispy pancetta and a fried egg definitely has my stamp of approval.
Being a sucker for crispy chicken skin, we had to order the Cracklin Beer Can Chicken with kimchi, century egg, salsa roja and verde. While the chicken skin had a beautiful golden brown color to it, I was disappointed because the skin wasn't as crackling crispy as I would have liked or as it claimed to be. Also, I didn't really taste any beer in the chicken meat itself.
Following the chicken, we had the Knuckle Sandwich, which was a bowl of braised oxtail, tendons, knuckles and other forgotten pieces served with soy chili dipping sauce and toasted bread. This is definitely a must order. The tenderness of the oxtail and the tendons and the meatiness of the broth are really tasty. It's even better when you put a little bit of the meat on the toasted bread and drizzle the soy chili dipping sauce before taking a bite.
Now on to the sweet portion of our meal where we tried 5 different desserts, starting with their Thick Ass Ice Cream Sandwiches. The first one was a salted chocolate cookie with black pepper Szechuan ice cream. Of all the desserts we had, this was my favorite. I liked how the black pepper added that hit of spice and heat to the ice cream and salt and chocolate always works for me.
The second Thick Ass Cream Sandwich we had was the oatmeal cherry cookie with cinnamon ice cream. I liked the tartness that the cherries added to the cookie and the combination of cinnamon and oatmeal has always been a good pairing.
Our third dessert was the Beachcomber Cake, which was carrot cake, whipped coconut cheesecake, praline pecans, strawberries and roasted pineapple and mango. For me, the star was the whipped coconut cheesecake. If all I had was that in a bowl, I probably would have inhaled it. It was just that good.
Next was the Chu-Don't-Know-Mang which were pound cake cinnamon churros with malted chocolate milk and vanilla ice cream. The pound cake had a nice crispy texture to it and I could taste the cinnamon, but I'm a fan of the more traditional churros, especially, if they're filled with caramel.
Last was the Fried Apple Pie with Southern Comfort caramel and cheddar ice cream. I thought the pie itself was fried too long. Visually, you could see that by how the outer edges were a tad too brown; however, I liked the pie filling and the cheddar ice cream was something I'd order again just by itself.
Except for 2 to 3 dishes, I thought the food at A-Frame was delicious and it's a place I could easily be a regular at, if only it was in my part of town. However, it's good to know that I have a go-to place that won't disappoint, if needed, if I happen to be around the Westside.
12565 Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
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Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA
12565 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066
I actually got there about half an hour before they opened, which was at 4:30 pm on a Saturday. So once they opened their doors, we were able to be seated right away. Within 30 to 45 minutes after the restaurant opened, it was packed. No, they don't take reservations and the service was great.