August 21, 2011
A-Frame, Culver City
Roy Choi's "Modern Picnic" A-Frame opened in 2010 and became a much buzzed about newcomer on the West Side. The restaurant is just a few doors down from the gastropub Waterloo and City on a nice little stretch of Washington Blvd. The restaurant is smaller than one would expect with some outdoor seating. The interior is simple with park picnic bench style seating where multiple parties are seated at the same table. The tables are equipped with metal cafeteria style silverware containers and nicely designed small plates. The menu items are familiar but with a twist and everything is meant to be shared.
The two time was made with Kettle One vodka, passionfruit, hibiscus and lime bitters. It was a very strong drink with a touch of tangy fruitiness.
The King Antilles was made with Rhum Agricole, pineapple, lime and a fresh chili. The rum flavor was strong and the chili made the drink quite spicy, which left a burning sensation on the tongue. It's not for those sensitive to spiciness.
5-Grain pan de sal
The pan de sal arrived straight out of the oven with Plugra butter sprinkled with sea salt. The sesame crust was nice and crunchy and the center was soft and fluffy. The butter was a nice compliment.
Scallops in the Raw
Thin slices of scallops sitting in clarified watermelon juice and topped with Thai basil, cucumber, and pickled watermelon rind. The scallops were tender and served room temperature. There was no acid in the dish to offset the richness from the oils and to bring all the components together.
The thick cut fries consisted of purple Okinawan sweet potato, yam, and Korean sweet potato served with a kimchi sour cream. The fries were mushy on the inside and not crunchy on the outside. The tangy dipping sauce was the highlight of the plate.
Baby Back Ribs
The ribs are air-dried and coated with a hoisin-chili glazed and then fried. The exterior was crispy and the interior was tender on half the ribs. Unfortunately the hoisin glaze was very salty and killed the flavor of the ribs.
Furikake Kettle Corn
The kettle corn was very average mixed with some corn puffs. Some pieces were soggy while others were light and crunchy.
Cracklin beer can chicken
The beer can chicken was cut into four pieces and served with kimchi, a century egg with sides of salsa Roja and Verd. The chicken is cooked on a rotisserie for 6 hours then flash fried. The skin was crispy but the meat was very dry, including the dark pieces. The egg was probably the highlight of the whole dish with a subtle sweetness.
Grilled Berkshire Pork Chop
The pork chop was served with grapefruit, pickled scallion, and polenta cakes. The pork was tender and moist and all the components on the plate worked well together.
Sesame Leaf Wrapped Shrimp Tempura
The shrimp tempura was served with segments of cucumber and a shoyu dipping sauce. The tempura was light and the dipping sauce highlighted the sweetness of the shrimp.
Banana Bacon Cream Pie
The banana bacon cream pie was scrumptious. The salty bites of bacon mixed with caramel banana and vanilla cream created a perfect marriage of flavors. Perfect with a cup of coffee.
Who knew curros and chocolate milk float could be so addicting. The thick and dense pieces of pound cake churro really soaked up the chocolate milk and vanilla ice cream after every dunk. The cinnamon sugar on the churro also went well with the chocolate milk float. This was a great dessert.
Vietnamese Style Coffee
Vietnamese coffee was good, but nothing special.
Overall, the food at A-Frame was very inconsistent, with dessert being the highlight of the entire meal. Most dishes fell short in flavor and seasoning. The service was erratic and the music was so loud, it was hard to carry a conversation. Definitely not a good spot for a first date. Unfortunately, the restaurant didn't live up to all of the hype.
2 out of 5 stars
12565 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90066
Metered parking on Washington and free parking in the neighborhood side streets.