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Jul 10, 2012 04:40 PM

Bow and Truss – Wanted to love it, but ended up liking it. (North Hollywood)

Overall: promising; concept is there but lacking slightly in execution.

The space is great. Large outdoor seating with its own outdoor bar when you enter. Perfect for the upcoming summer nights. Inside seating is also spacious. Open layout including kitchen and a second bar. Industrial décor with good lighting. Visually, it’s one of the nicest restaurants in the valley, hands down. On to the most important part (for me), the food.

Full disclosure: we went there on its opening night, Saturday, and my partner and I only sampled 4 dishes. Two aperitivos, one taco dish, and one plato principal.

First up – cocktails. I tried the Lankershim Fizz (Hendricks’s gin, Sherry, lemon, and egg white). Very refreshing for a summer night. Not as crisp and sour as I expected from description. Served in a highball glass and almost top fourth was frothy egg whites. I love egg white based drinks, but the thick accumulation of the foam was a bit too much. Also, not a big drinker, but could hardly taste the gin. SO had the Dolores Park Swizzle (Milagro Tequila, Sherry, ginger, and lime). Way too much ginger. Almost to the point of unappetizing. With a bit less ginger this drink will be awesome.

A quick aside. Service was great. Our server asked us to provide feedback and be critical since it was their first day open to the public. She offered to re-make the Dolores Swizzle.

Shrimp ceviche which included jicama, aji chile, red onions, and mango was served with plantain chips. Sweet flavor of mango was contrasted by the sourness of lime and spice from chile and onions. Shrimp was fresh and sweet but only got a handful of pieces. For $10 I am not expecting ½ lb of shrimp but there should be enough to have a piece of shrimp with every bite. I thought the ceviche could have benefited from a pinch of salt, but SO thought it was well seasoned as is.

Next up was the clam bowl. Clams are served in a spicy tomato/sherry based broth. Menu also mentioned andouille but could not taste that at all. Clams were cooked well. Veggies, which included peppers onions and carrots, not so much. Sizes of veggies were all over the place from tiny to large and were thus cocked unevenly. The broth was definitely spicy, and I love some heat. Unfortunately, the sauce tasted as if the broth was cooked first and then some tapatio, guacamaya, or Victoria sauce was added at the end. My least favorite dish of the night.

Chorizo meatball tacos are served with a good amount of cilantro, cotija cheese, and green salsa over freshly made corn tortillas. The chorizo had a nice complex and spicy flavor. The cotija added a nice saltiness to the dish and the generous amounts of cilantro cut through the fatty chorizo. Very good dish that could be wow if the tortillas were cooked a bit more, they were slightly underdone. The chorizo meatball could also benefit from a bit more cooking or at least a nice sear to provide some needed texture to the dish.

Lastly, we tried the scallop main entre. 4 good size scallops served next to a creamy saffron polenta and a cold corn and pepper salsa. Dish also came with a separate roasted pepper sauce, which I believe included piquillo peppers. When I first saw the polenta I was disappointed. No red/orange hue at all and was really hoping for a fully infused saffron taste. After smelling and tasting it, however, my apprehension was thankfully proven wrong. Sweet, bitter and earthy distinct flavors of saffron went great with a well cooked polenta. The scallops were cooked okay, in that they were not over or under, but no visible sear on them. Corn salsa was okay by itself, but did not go very well with the rest of the dish. Same for the pepper sauce – great smoky flavor that paired well with scallops but not with the saffron polenta.

Dishes were very promising. With some more attention to detail and execution I think we can have a great restaurant in this area of the valley. We plan to go back and sample the rest of the menu and report back.

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  1. Going to the Bow and Truss this Saturday. Any updates? Parking?

    What is good now? I'm thinking I'll get the paella.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Scotty

      Parking is terrible, just suck it up and pay the valet fee. There's a self park behind Pitfire on Magnolia but it's always busy.

      They got a new chef since the OP was written.

      1. re: Scotty

        I went in May. Really enjoyed the paella la tierra and the fig bread. We also shared a salad, but I can't recall if it was the house chopped or a special that was quite good, and some lamb ribs.

        One warning. It can be extremely noisy, even on the outside patio. We moved to a corner booth in the back of the interior, which was much quieter.

      2. In a less than industrial-looking space, you might try the relatively new Warren's Blackboard, the newish restaurant at the Beverly Garland Hotel on Vineland, just south of the 101 freeway.
        Warren Schwartz, formerly with Saddle Peak Lodge, the Whist at the Viceroy and Westside Tavern, is head man, and knows how to cook.
        Not as much heat in some of the dishes as you might want, meaning more comfort food, but a quite large patio which will provide a summer night dining option. Food very good, menu not overly extensive, yet sufficient. Nice wines by the glass, with cocktails also available.
        It is a hotel dining restaurant, so you will find many a hotel guest dining here, with attire meant for a tourist: very casual, but a worthy Valley dining option.

        1 Reply
        1. is the chef from this spot the ranting ponce in person he sounds like on top chef?

          related note, anyone ever heard of mexikosher or been there? (another top chef spot).

          11 Replies
          1. re: jessejames

            Went here once, QPR was so outrageous vowed never to return.

            1. re: ns1

              sucks, you'd think north Hollywood would be a place to get a better deal

              1. re: jessejames

                it is, just not bow & truss. that part of NoHo has been mad gentrified in the past 2-3 years.

                  1. re: jessejames

                    hell even the mexican hole in the wall taco joint isn't that cheap anymore. Went today for 5 tacos, it was $6.75 for the tacos and $2.50 for the bottle of Fanta.

                    Could not believe I had just dropped $9.25 for 5 tacos and a drink from a hole in the wall taco shack.

                    Tacos Manzano

              1. re: JAB

                That was my reaction too. I was going try bow and truss but not after watching him on the show. Must suck to work for him

                  1. re: jessejames

                    o wow. Saw the headline did not know it was the B&T chef. LOL

                    1. re: JAB

                      I have heard some reports that Aaron Grissom is not at Bow & Truss. The "about" page on its website no longer mentions him and I heard that either his Facebook or Twitter has listed him as a "freelance" or something along those lines when the Top Chef season started.

                  2. Well, I guess they no longer have an excuse for the terribad food and service.