Kasha Cakes, Schmaltz, Gribenes, Crackling, Lemon Zest, Chives
Cast Iron Cornbread, Fermented Green Chili Butter
Sloppy Jeremy Texas Toast, Beef-Strawberry Bolognese, Horsey Goat Sauce, Arugula
Hangtown Brei, Schmaltz, Matzo, Wood-grilled Pork Belly, Fried Pacific Oysters, Hot Sauce Hollandaise
Loaded Mushrooms, Bacon, Chives, Créme Fraîche, Fiscalini Cheddar
Sirloin Tips Stroganoff, Egg Noodles, Mushrooms, Crème Fraiche
Noodle Kugel, Black Pepper Fusilli, Ricotta Cheese, Tomato Jam, Santa Barbara Pistachio
Mixed Grill of Summer Vegetables, Miso “Bagna Cauda”, Citrus, Herbs, Seaweed Togarashi
Gnocchi Sardi, Pesto di Noce, Sungold Tomatoes, Basil, Parmesan Cheese, Walnuts
Sticky Date Bundt Cake, Sweet Rose Creamery Vanilla Ice Cream, Salted Caramel
Matzo Bark, Chocolate, Toffee, Peanuts
Chilled Chocolate Cake, Malted Frosting, Whipped Cream, Chocolate Crunchy Pearls
Rose Petal Pie with Raspberry, Plum, Strawberry, Rose, Hibiscus Gelatin, Pretzel Crust
Born and raised lower-middle class in Ohio, a typical family night out at Bob Evans with Olive Garden or Red Lobster saved for “special occasions” until after college, it was with great interest that the opening of Birdie G’s was watched from a distance, and having now visited it is difficult to separate memories of Midwest “Supper” nearly two decades ago from what Chef Jeremy Fox has created in Southern California.
Described as “celebrating regional American cookery and timeless family recipes,” with additional charm arriving by way of Chef Fox naming a restaurant fueled by Cleveland-roots after his own daughter, it is along quiet Michigan Avenue that guests will notice the valet stand on approach, a relative dearth of nearby parking spots hiding the fact that at 6:45pm on Saturday the 150+ seat space from Rustic Canyon Family was filled to capacity.
Tapping the “spirit of supper clubs,” and using Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb’s backing to build an indoor-outdoor space with high energy from bar to open kitchen, it was after confirming reservations that guests were led to a large booth on the Birdie G’s front side, the only real issue all night being that of decibels amplified by low ceilings and folks stacked three-deep for drinks.
Still red-hot just two months since opening, Jeremy’s prior work at Rustic Canyon and book “On Vegetables” giving guests only a glimpse of the ideas created to fill a menu that features Jewish inspired riffs on dishes commonly served around the Great Lakes, it was after chuckling over Soft Drinks such as Vernors and Faygo that thirteen items followed, the sub-$300 total (divided by five) a veritable bargain considering both Ingredient quality and the cost of Santa Monica real estate.
Suggested as a place “where fine Food and good people meet,” most items designed for sharing but certainly not tapas or ‘small plates,’ it was beginning with orbs of Buckwheat topped in Chicken Fat that guests were put on notice of big flavors to follow, Cornbread soon shining at half the price of Tallula’s similarly presented Pancake while “Sloppy Jeremy” Texas Toast hit heavy with Horseradish that finds balance in Beef slow-cooked with Strawberries.
Happy to see “Hangtown Fry” on a menu for the first time in years, the Gold Rush staple reinvented with Matzo Brei ironically served beneath Shellfish and Pork, it is passing on Potatoes that Mushrooms instead come “loaded” with Bacon, Créme Fraîche and Cheddar while Saturday’s “Blue Plate” Beef Stroganoff upgrades any previously tasted version thanks to tender Sirloin and springy housemade Noodles plus rich Sauce and crispy bits on top.
Polarizing with Noodle Kugel, those unfamiliar with the Jewish Casserole finding its sweetness off-putting while others marveled at a diversity of textures punctuated by cracked nuts and housemade Tomato Jam, it seemed only appropriate to order Chef Fox’s Mixed Grill of Summer Vegetables next, the Vegan “Bagna Cauda” largely indistinguishable from that made with Anchovies while tender Semolina Gnocchi outpaced Heroic Deli & Wine Bar’s Pasta with Pesto in terms of taste, structure and portion for the same $20 price.
Not about to skip Dessert, though the evening’s special Crème Brûlée Pie had unfortunately sold out by 8:00pm, it was instead with Bundt Cake inspired by Sticky Toffee Pudding that sweets got started, a quick taste of bake-sale-style Bark leading to Chocolate Layer Cake brightened by Malt Frosting and “World Famous” Rose Petal Pie that may seem like hyperbole now, though likely to achieve such lofty standing once enough people taste all its jiggly Fruit suspended in floral Gelatin atop lightly salted Crust.