Wolf in Sheep's Clothing (Venice) - brief , happy report
Had dinner this week at Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, the pop-up restaurant in the Capri space on Abbot Kinney that opened a couple weeks ago, featuring former chefs from Joe's and Axe. No reservations accepted; place seems to fill up by about 7pm and after that they take names on a waitlist. Service was friendly, informative and perhaps a bit too efficient - I like to take my time at meals, and I find that with small plates "we serve it as it's ready" menus the food can come out too fast for me to savor everything. That said, the meal was fantastic overall, and I'm looking forward to going back.
Dishes we loved:
biscuits with pimento cheese and apple butter - baked to order, and so very good
lamb sirloin - a bit small at $21 (the most expensive item on the menu), but delicious
dishes we loved slightly less but they were still quite good:
sprouting broccoli - good, but nothing thrilling
pork fritter - basically like a deep-fried ball of pulled pork; good concept, but a bit one-note, and maybe it needed more in the way of sauce besides a little pool of hot mustard
Beer and wine list is brief but interesting and reasonably priced.
We ate here last week on a whim, arrived at 7pm and were seated promptly. The restaurant filled up completely in the next 30 minutes. The service was great. The room is cool - literally and figuratively. It reminds me of an art gallery and many of the diners were wearing their coats.
I liked their wine and beer offering - simple but good stuff at great prices.
I would have ordered everything on the menu but there were only two of us so we started with some pickled vegetables - I LOVED the cucumbers, but didn't try any of the others because I'm not so much into pickled anything.
Next we had the smoked trout with toast and avocado. This was delicious. If they had those little jars of smoked trout to go I would have taken two. It was so good I had to restrain myself from wiping the jar with my finger. It was great with the toast, but the avocado made it very rich.
The kale salad was so very good. I know kale is the hip and healthy green of the moment, but I don't really like it. That said I think an 8 year old would scarf this salad down. It's got apples and sweet dates which counter the vinaigrette and every mouthful was delicious.
We each tried a baked oyster which I loved and my friend did not, but I grew up eating oysters rockefeller and he grew up in Israel not eating them. I thought this version of cooked oyster with cream and greens was super, though very rich. Don't think I would eat more than one or two because between the avocado on the toast and this I was starting to get really full.
We waffled back and forth between the scallops and the lamb and finally decided on the latter and yes, it's a petite plate, but I could not have eaten it by myself. The lamb was sliced and perfectly cooked - or rather cooked exactly the way I like it. Very pink. It's served over a toasted barley with a lamb ragout and topped with a divine gremolata. Again, if they had the barley and lamb ragout in to go containers in a fridge up front, I would be stocking up.
Although we were full, we ordered the chocolate maple pecan dessert and it was decadent and sticky and I should have stopped at one bite, but I didn't and that's okay - if you're going to gorge it should be on something like this.
I asked if they would be sticking around for spring because they are rocking the seasonal ingredients in such a great way and one of the owners told me that he thought they might get to hang out for 6 more months.
I will be going back and trying the raclette and the pork belly as well as revisiting the smoked trout and the kale salad.
The food did come out really fast, but I was really hungry. My sense is that had we ordered as we went that would have been okay and next time that's what I will do. This would be a really fun place to go with a group so you could order everything they have and try it all. The staff and the owners are really nice, all from Venice, all with restaurant experience - creating the kind of place they would like to eat at - really well done.
Ate last night as a group of 8 and had a fantastic time. Greeted and seated for our reservation promptly. Service was all kinds of lovely. Decided to order the entire menu, share and double back on what we liked. Pork fritters were not available and we voted out the quail and turkey soup (probably not a good decision in hindsight).
Dishes we doubled up on:
Butter biscuit kept disappearing
Scallops and trumpet mushrooms oh my god
Sprouting broccoli w pork belly was outstanding so why the mixed reviews here?
Mushroom and polenta the guys know what to do with the fungus
Didn't double up on but would have if we weren't so damn full:
Hangar steak might have displaced the one from the eraly days of now closed Beacon in CC - Jonathan Gold had called it the best piece of meat in LA.
Braised cabbage and bacon had the texture of something someone already chewed for you except for the fun bits so good.
Pink turnips that's what pink tastes like when it's not busy being bubble gum - so pretty so simple
sunchokes somehow caramelized
I missed the raclette entirely
Baked oysters were tough to appreciate by those who dont like oysters baked, but the rest found them a noteworthy example of the type.
Some of us really enjoyed the anchovies - light and lemony
Too full for dessert, all washed down with cava and several bottles of the Pinot which was nothing to complain about and neither was the price.
It's loud but not assaultingly so - mostly just a boisterously celebratory environment. By the end of the evening we were all able to hear one another but we were also a slightly hoarse. I typically run from loud restaurants but would come back here anytime.
So sorry this can't be a regular place. Thank you for a memorable evening.