Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mini Foodventure #111: The Golden State Cafe (Fairfax District)

Since my friend and I was in the area for another event, we decided to swing by The Golden State on their opening day to check out the very well buzzed eatery. (Disclaimer: co-owner Jason Bernstein - seen below working the tables - was one of my co-workers before he took on this project and mad props to that just for that alone!)

Interior Shot 2
Arriving around 9:30 - 10 p.m., this place was still really packed and we had to stalk for empty tables after placing our orders. The menu is pretty limited but looks carefully chosen: assorted dogs and sausages from Let's Be Frank, a pretty eccentric and somewhat rare selection of wines and beers, about a half-dozen sandwiches and a few sides to boot - but not your everyday stuff, with items like jidori chicken breast sandwich with plum tomatoes, wild arugula, aioli, balsamic and parmesan (and as the name suggests, this place is dedicated to utilizing and showcasing local ingredients to highlight the state's offerings.)
The Burger
I got the burger that was gussied up with arugula, bacon and white cheddar and served in a brioche bun. It was cooked a level or two lighter than I requested (a medium-rare/medium instead of medium-well) but was delicious nonetheless, juicy and meaty with a light bitter-peppery bite from the arugula (great swap-out from the more-common iceberg or leaf lettuce!) The fries, served with a hazelnut romesco sauce, were delicious too with its distinct potato-y flavor and wonderful crisp.
Let's Be Frank Dog
My friend liked his hot dog too (with grilled pepper and onions plus aioli), the fried sweet potato wedges were a bit more iffy--came out really limp and mushy, even if though they were well-seasoned and tasted great the garlic aioli dip. Probably because of the lower starch content in sweet potatoes, which means they won't hold up as well when deep-fried naked (the reason why many sweet potato fries elsewhere are breaded.)
We also checked out two beers, the rare Allagash Curieux from Maine and the Brother David's Triple Abbey Ale -- both very distinctive but the latter seemed to work better with the food we ordered since it had a smoother, crisper edge.

Of course, we had to get some of Tai's custom crafted ice creams; I opted for the pear-sauvignon blanc that was not very winey but still refreshing. My friend loved his Kahlua-caramel, liking it even better than his up-till-then favorite Scoops flavor (horchata).

And it's little surprise that someone else was stalking our table as we were finishing our scoops, so we ate and made our way out pretty fast; overall, it's a hip, welcome new place to the Fairfax area and it strikes a nice middle ground between the pricier Animal and the greasy-spoon-deli vibe from Canter's. Here's hoping they do well and that I can still find parking next time in the not-too-distant future.

What Do Others Say?
Eating LA considers it a fresh Fairfax addition
Alli411 is simply lovin' the nice owners, the great prices and the exotic gelato.
And nice preliminary reviews from the 'hounds too

The Golden State
426 N Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 782-8331

The Golden State on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

I have plans to go on Thursday night. Cannot wait. Definitely seems like my kind of place! Stoked to sample some of those rare beers.

Khoi said...

I really must have a hotdog now. :)

Diana said...

I feel so out of it -- I live literally two blocks from here, and had never heard of it until reading this post! Will definitely need to check it out soon -- thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

how was the selection from scoops?


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