Haven't seen too much written on Roy Choi's new restaurant, Sunny Spot yet. A quick reflection...
The Cuban sandwich was great. The meats used it in made it different than others I’ve tried without being too gimmicky on the “nose to tail” front. I would have liked it spicier than it was, to bring out some of the flavors more, but it was still quite tasty. And I’ll definitely order it again.
I was underwhelmed by the “greatest of all time” goat. I know it’s been talked up a lot, but the sauce lacks complexity, and it was hard to even tell it was goat (some ppl might consider this a good thing, I guess) but I like my goat where I’m battling bones, and where it’s obvious to everyone it’s not beef or pork. I’ll take Tigeorges goat over this.
That said, I’ll eat Roy Choi’s pickled mangoes 7 days a week. Maybe I’m a sucker for pickled produce, as I dig his pickled pears and carrots at A Frame—those mangoes that come with the goat were rockin.
The Squid and coconut dish was fantastic—could have used a lot more heat. For some reason, this, along with the sandwich held back on the spice. They were still great, but this could have been something that would bring me back again and again if the spiciness were allowed to play off that coconut sauce. (I’ll order it again and just ask them to not be shy about the spiciness).
I’m trying to think about how to describe the plantains—I guess they were like candied plantains, slightly hard, not in a stale way, but reminding me a bit of candied ginger—not the taste but the feel. I like a more traditional plantain far better than this. Straight ahead versions at a typical Cuban, Haitian or Salvadoran spot work better, imho.
The server brought us an order of the cole slaw, as he said it went great with the goat. It was solid—super fresh with almost a hint of fruit in it, but not overly fruity, just fresh, I’d almost call it refreshing—which is, of course, the opposite of what I usually think of for coleslaw.
Sweet Potato with cookie and ice cream, and salted caramel squares for dessert were solid, if not the most memorable desserts in the world.
I’ll be back to try more. Would love to hear others’ thoughts…
I put a post on here opening night and got no comments - seems like there is little interest - and I don't get it!
I loved the squid - really enjoyed the sauce. I also had the plantains, and found that in my order there were some pieces that were harder than others. I preferred the softer pieces, but again, really liked the seasoning. Also had the pineapple lollipops which were skewers with pineapple sprinkled with a chile salt. Very refreshing.
For dessert it was the sweet potato souffle with marshmallow ice cream - the ice cream was amazing! I would have bought a pint to go.
I am looking forward to my next visit!
Be sure to try the burger, it's pretty amazing. I liked the seasoning and flavors of the goat but wasn't too crazy about the taste of the meat. Guess I'm just not a goat person. The hamachi collar had a nice flavor, but wasn't out of this world. I definitely want to return to try more dishes.
My wife and I went recently on a Saturday night wo here are some thoughts:
We had a reservation, made on Open Table. Arrived on time and they had a table for us in the "reservation room" which is a large room towards the back of the restaurant. The hostess gave us a choice between that table or a table in the bar room (those tables were higher tables with bar stool chairs) or outside on the patio. We chose a nice spot outside, under a heater. The outside patio is totally open (no roof), when this space was Beechwood it was a covered patio. The fire pit is gone. It was a really nice night and with the heater outside was great. The reservation room seemed a tiny bit more cramped, no more so than at other places, but I prefer a bit more elbow room.
We were served by a very attentive staff. We had one guy who seemed like he was "our waiter" but a variety of staff brought out food, cleared tables, and so on. They put a bottle of water on the table and took our drink order. Sunny Spot has a vaguely Caribbean or Jamaican thing going on, so I ordered a rum drink (in any other circumstance I'm a bourbon or tequila person, but figured I'd go with the specialty here). It was good, refreshing. They called it Dry Harbor. Spicy rum, a wedge of habanero pineapple, lots of crushed ice. With our meal I switched to Red Stripe, very cold.
As most of you probably already know it's a "small plates" place of various sizes. We started off with some "spicy" chicken wings. The wings were really moist, almost wet with juices and very meaty. They tasted good, but I would not say they were very spicy. There is a little pepper symbol on the menu next to the wings and a few other dishes indicating heat, but this was not that hot. The noodles and prik king I ordered via delivery from Swanya during the Super Bowl were much hotter. One other thing about the wings -- they are called "double fried" but they weren't "fried chicken." If they didn't call them "double fried" you'd think they were grilled or broiled or something.
After the wings, we ordered the cole slaw, the salty yellow rice and the rib eye steak. We debated a few different directions to go -- I wanted the pork chop and my wife wanted the hamachi collar and then we agreed on the steak. It wasn't the rib eye I was expecting -- I was expecting a relatively thick steak, this was thin, more like a hangar steak or carne asada. It was supposed to have some sort of banana chile glaze (it did) but it was more like a gravy. There was nothing wrong with it, but It wasn't really great. We plan to go back, but would try something other than the steak.
On the other hand, we would get the rice again and would definitely get the cole slaw which was really fresh and really good. It was our favorite thing.
For dessert we had an excellent sweet potato pie with ice cream.
I have to say, the thing I really wanted to try was the burger, which we saw being served at another table. It looked great. I was going to get it, but we were sharing any my wife wasn't into the burger, but I could see myself going back, sitting at the bar and ordering that burger. When I eat alone, I like to sit at the bar at 26 Beach and get a burger, I will now move across the street to try Sunny Spot's burger.
There were other things I'd like to try, too, including the pork chop.
All in all, we'll be back. LIke I said, that burger is calling my name. Also, it would be fun to go with more people so you could order more things. We had "two meats" and "two sides" plus dessert and coffee and we were maxed out on how much we could eat.
With the food, a rum drink, a Red Stripe, a ginger beer and two coffees dinner was a very reasonable 100 bucks with the tip. Like I said, the service was very good, very attentive but in no way did we feel smothered or that we were being rushed.
Final comment: we had a reservation and as above they had our table ready but gave us a choice. Our res was for 645 and there was plenty of room in the bar and outside. By 730 the place was packed and by 830 when we left people were sitting and waiting for tables. I'd say the reservation room was totally full, the bar was 95% full and the patio was 80% full (the people waiting must not have wanted to sit outside because there were a few available tables out there.).
Underwhelmed would be the key word I would use to describe my experience at Sunny Spot. The the place had a good vibe. Although we sat in the reservation room the patio area looked great during warmer weather. The hostess and waitress were gracious and welcoming. Although the bus boys kept trying to collect our dishes before we were finished. We had to tell them over 3 times that we were finished w/a dish they were trying to take away!
The waitress explained that the dishes were served family style which implied to us that the dishes were larger and would be shared among the group. I think it would have been better to call the dishes tapas sized dishes.
YUCCA FRIES with banana Thai basil ketchup 4: I couldn't taste the banana but the basil was a nice touch. We were literally served about 8-10 individual fries.
MUH-F*K*N MOFONGO overripe plantains, bacon, garlic and black pepper 6 Very interesting and by far the most unique of all the dishes.
BLACK VELVET SOUP black beans, coconut milk and ginger oil 5. Nothing too outstanding.
*DIABLO PRAWNS with rum glaze, garlic butter and herbs 13
*BROWN SUGAR SCOTCH BONNET SHORT RIBS, grilled LA-county style 17.. By far the most disappointing. A very poor version of Korean BBQ. The ribs were small, chewy and luke warm.
Someone in a party tried the TWO FISTED BURGER with tomato ginger jam, arugula
cheddar and herb mayo 10. She requested no mayo but got it anyways. She said the burger was good. Many other reviews also stated the burger was good but I doubt this is the type of place you'd come for just a 'good' burger right?
Sounds like a lot of food that we ordered for 3 people right? We left still hungry! (except for the girl who ordered the burger)