Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Running Goose - Los Angeles, CA

CAUTION: WALK don’t run…to The Running Goose.

Just to play it safe, I made our reservations at 5:30pm since we had 7:30pm tickets at the Pantages Theater - glad I did! A flock of hungry customers descended on the dining room around 6pm, disarming the only two servers who began running around like headless geese in the maze of two-top tables set only inches apart, providing zero wiggle room and forcing patrons to play an unwelcome version of dinnerware Jenga, stacking and passing wobbly totem poles of plates throughout the meal.

The first section of the menu was a variety of tostadas ($3 each), so we chose:

1) Arugula: Avocado, sweet onion, zapaca crema, arugula, queso seco = bland nothingness.

2) Corn: burnt corn aioli, lime, basil, parsley = charred, whole kernels sent a second shock wave of concentrated, grilled corn flavor to the subtlety sweet aioli for an overall sensation that mimicked the layered depth of soul food, while staying California cuisine clean.

Papaya salad: burrata, garden herbs, radish, lime, sesame, balsamic ($12)

Why-a why-a, why-a, did I order this papaya?! Ready for a rant?! THIS SALAD MADE NO SENSE!!! A heaping mound of orangey-pink overwhelmed the bowl in a freakish array of disproportion. If this salad was a person, it would be the Elephant Man. If this salad was the globe, papaya would be the Colonial British Empire in its heyday, its sunset-like hue blotting out anything else on the horizon.

Half a ball of buratta was shoved to the side like a forgotten exile, and two sprigs of greens seemed to have inadvertently landed there as a fluke like a flower sprouting through a crack in the cement. Both the radish and balsamic glaze were near figments of the imagination, but would have been a welcome reality. Not under this fascist fruit regime. It didn’t matter what the masses wanted, Grand Puba Papaya would prevail.

Duck Chancla: thick tortilla, black beans, chilaca chili, safflower crema, pickled red onions, pepitas ($17)

I had to admit, this was something special. The chancla consisted of a crispy, extra sturdy flour tortilla that reminded me of a down-stuffed, winter coat - fluffy on the inside and ruggedly secure on the outside to endure the elements.

In this case, the elements were tasty ones – crackled duck skin over tender, brown meat; hearty earthiness from black beans; the perk of pickled onions; a spike in spice from chilies – it lit up the palate’s senses like a pinball machine, full tilt.

Horchata crème brulee: blueberry, almonds, red rice krispies ($8)

*Rant: Round 2* Shame! SHAMMME!! This should have never left the kitchen. Never saw an almond. Never saw red rice krispies.

What I did see a whole lot of curdled chunks, scorched sugar, and a sloppy blueberry cover-up in what would be remembered as LA’s “crème brulee crime scene of 2017”.

This Goose was cooked…