Southern Southern-Californian Cuisine

The Palihotel's new restaurant

There is a breed of Southern dining that follows the meat-and-three format: a protein accompanied by a trio of side dishes.

Filtered through the prism of produce-loving Southern California cuisine, that formula leans even more heavily on the sides' side. So when you order fried chicken livers ($10) at The Hart and the Hunter–the new, fixed version of the pop-up Wolf in Sheep's Clothing–the plate bears as much, if not more, radishes and arugula and apples as it does crisp, battered organ meat.

Brian Dunsmoor and Kris Tominagas' restaurant, housed in the Palihotel, engages with Southern tradition without putting on a pandering drawl or being caught in the authenticity trap. Instead, the cooking is more of a dialogue between the respective Souths. Some dishes, like boiled peanuts ($3) or pimento cheese ($5), bear no distinct Californian tan. Others, like the smoked trout ($11), which is served with avocado-smeared pieces of toast, are undeniably native Angelenos. 

In a meal of many favorites, the fried green tomatoes ($12) stood out most. The cornmeal-crusted rounds are scattered with the kitchen's own chow-chow and drizzled with buttermilk-goat's milk dressing.

It's an exemplary Southern (Californian) dish.

The Hart and the Hunter, 7950 Melrose Ave., Mid-City; 323-327-9702 or facebook.com/thehartandthehunter