Tapas at Smoke.Oil.Salt
The new Smoke.Oil.Salt aims to fill a culinary void in Los Angeles with Spanish tapas and paella. Helmed by Chef Perfect Rocher who is a third generation paella maker, the restaurant occupies the former Angeli Caffe space. The restaurant has always been a bit odd with two rooms but Smoke.Oil.Salt plans one to be the main dining room while the other will be more casual with wine and wine-based cocktails (sherry, anyone?). On Sundays, enjoy a prix fixe paella menu.
We tried a variety of tapas including the cod croquettes. Be careful as you pop the whole thing in your mouth which I do recommend over cutting it apart as the creamy cod might ooze out. While you wait for the rest of your food, a handy dish of olives and almonds should keep you company.
I love, love, love artichokes. The Omelette was fantastic. Eggy but the rice fiend in me wanted it to be on top of a bowl of rice. Maybe a squirt of chili oil too.
One of the popular dishes of the night was the bravas trencades which are fried potatoes with Serrano ham, chorizo and a fried egg. Potatoes seems to me a very classic Spanish tapas. But I did wonder about the fried egg which seems to be a trend… a trend I’m okay with.
Tomato toast with sausage? Who could say no to such a simple but wonderful dish?
I wanted to love the roasted eggplant and peppers with Marcona almnds and salt-cured Valencian tuna more but found it entirely too oily. I think just a squeeze or two of lemon juice would have helped.
I loved the oysters and mussels in the tiger nut milk. It was almost like a soup which then made it difficult to share. Get your own bowl!
My friend wasn’t into the texture of the sea urchin flan. I thought it hadn’t set completely but it didn’t bother me the flan was just a little bit more liquid-y than the urchin itself.
One of my favorite dishes was the calamari and cranberry beans. The beans were just perfect- not mushy! We did wish for just a bit more calamari. But that’s the great thing about tapas style eating, you try a little and order more of your favorites.
The whole room raved about the Iberico pork. And they had good reason. It was tender and the sauce was just perfect. Don’t worry that it’s a little pink. Good pork is just as good a bit rare like steak.
Described to be similar to ramps, these large onions were sauced with Xato sauce and accompanied the pork.
Ending on a sweet note, we had the thick fudge-y chocolate “pate” with organic olive oil and smoked salt.
I can’t wait to go back to try the paella. I’m still dreaming of my experience at Julian Serrano in Vegas. It’s nice to have a Spanish restaurant so much closer to home.