In my foodventures with others, I've learned that most foodie folks can be divided into ethnic purists and fusion thrillseekers, I tend to think of myself as falling in the latter camp -- even though I've appreciated many an authentic cultural meal, I also love it when the kitchen get creative and blends different influences together for something distinctively unique. Why not take the best of both (or more) worlds?
And that's what I had in mind when I booked myself for Breadbar's CRUSH event, where Adam Sobel of Full Belly Group (who had cheffed at Vegas' Guy Savoy and Bradley Ogden, among others) put together a special $55 menu showcasing global street food with influences from all over with dishes like marinated bay scallops with young coconut and kaffir lime vodka (I presume Hangar One?), liquid center potato gnocchi with fontina cheese and chanterelle mushrooms, and a curiosity-beckoning pineapple in all forms.
Alas, that wasn't meant to be -- since the day I was available to swing by Breadbar, they decided to showcase his other restaurant concept, Full of Bull, a more casual-Americana restaurant showcasing roast beef, burgers and other diner fare with a Sobel signature. I was slightly disappointed, but also considerably pleased that the meal will now be $20/person and there's no corkage.
Arriving a little earlier than my dining compadres, including newly born foodblogger behind Binary Tastebuds, I decided to take advantage of the just-informed no-corkage policy and headed two blocks down to pick out something go with. Daniela, Breadbar's marketing star, suggested beer (obvious) or a more eclectic pairing with sparkling wine. So that's exactly what I picked out -- an affordable bottle of Blanquette de Limoux from the southwestern region of France.
It was not bad, good citrus and apple notes with some distinct flinty mineral characters, as if a Chablis had intermingled with a sauvignon blanc. Alas, it was better as an opener or a palate cleanser than something to pair sandwiches and fries with -- but definitely an interesting wine I'd consider checking out again.
So my two friends arrived and the waitstaff wasted no time getting us started, beginning with steak fries. Thinner than most other steak fries I've encountered but considerably more flavorful (would love to find out what seasoning salt mix were used on these), these fries were pretty good though I wished they were a little crispier, these had a slight limpness suggesting that they weren't fresh out of the fryer.
While we were still noshing off our large bowl of fries, the waitress delivered the trio of small sandwiches, which were somewhere between the size of the average slider and the McDonald's hamburger.
The first one I tried was the Original: thinly-shaved rare roast beef with their F.O.B. famous sauce on an onion Kaiser roll. One bite of this succulent sandwich and I'm glad this event didn't take place during Lent - rich beefy flavor (and I believe it was dipped in au jus to further sharpen that) and meltingly-tender. The sauce, which tasted like a subtle thousand island dressing with a horseradishy zip, and the onion roll were good complement to the roast beef, taking the edge of the savoriness which may have resulted into a sodium overkill otherwise.
Next up, the No Bull: slow roasted turkey with crispy turkey skin and garlic mashed potatoes on onion Kaiser. I am not sure what Adam did to the turkey skin, but that definitely made this sandwich the star of the meal. While it's not particularly crispy, the skin possessed a bacon-like, fatty quality that really binded the flavors of the delightfully-moist turkey meat, the garlicky (but not overly so) taters, the peppery seasoning and the bun.
Lastly, Adam's Fish Sandwich: with a guiness battered fish with cheddar and mayo and lettuce. This one didn't turn out so well. On top of being not crispy (though that may have been because we had this last), it was a clash of overwhelming tastes from the oniony tartar sauce, the sharp cheddar and the pointedly pungent fish, the combo of which left a unpleasant, lingering aftertaste lasting well after the final bite. But hey, two great sandwiches out of three ain't bad -- and in crystal-clear hindsight, I really should've eaten the fried sandwich first.
We also had soda floats, available in root beer, orange cream or vanilla cream, which Adam brought out. The floats were decent, but the conversation was definitely golden as we chatted about his experiences and his upcoming plans, which includes a Full of Bull eatery opening up off the strip in Vegas (close to Firefly on Paradise,) and hopefully seeing his CRUSH conception coming into fruition (and he's open to having this either in the City of Angels or Sin.) So far, both his concepts sounds solid, the execution just needs a little tweaking (particularly the fish sandwich) and I can definitely see great things coming from this rising young chef. And I'll raise a sparkling Limoux toast to that, while eagerly awaiting for my next fusion thrillseeking foodventure.
For my friend's fantastic and humorous take on the same meal, click here; and also here for my other foodventure, a chocolate tasting menu, at the Century City Breadbar.
8718 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048