A dining revolution: Supper Liberation Front

I’ve often heard of underground dinners — pop-up restaurants that move around from undisclosed location to undisclosed location (sometimes even a private home) — but I had never been to one. They sounded so mysterious, and frankly, I was a little intimidated. But then the opportunity to have dinner from the chefs of Supper Liberation Front presented itself, and I went along for the ride, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

The meals, which usually take place on the Westside, are $35 for four courses plus a couple of amuse bouches. This generous amount of food coupled with more-than-competent cooking makes this one of the best values around.

The dinner that I attended earlier this month in Santa Monica was Asian-inspired, but there was a level of inventiveness that made this better than your typical Asian fusion meal.

We started off with two amuses, or “lil bites,” as the chefs like to call them. Then we moved on to our first course of squid and konjaku noodles, which are made from yam flour, accompanied by a dashi chorizo sauce, some of which was encapsulated in little bubbles. It was a light yet flavorful dish, and the different textures were a nice element.

Squid and konjaku noodles

Our second course was another tasty gem: a shrimp and corn fritter served with asparagus in corn consomme. So simple, yet so delicious! I just were there had been more of it.

Shrimp and corn fritter with consomme

Our main course consisted of grilled bass served with Chinese pea shoots, dashi and macerated purple potatoes. The flavors were good, but I didn’t love the texture of the macerated potatoes. Though the use of dashi with the potatoes tasted good, some of the little piles were drier than others. But everything else was spot-on, including the fish, which was moist and flaky.

Grilled bass

The red bean tapioca cake for dessert was really a standout. I love red bean, and I love tapioca, so making them into a cake by topping them with a light, flaky almond pie crust that is reminiscent of a Chinese almond cookie made me infinitely happy. I could have eaten this for days.

Red bean tapioca cake

Supper Liberation Front’s menu changes all the time, so check its website for details. On Aug. 4, the chefs are presenting a special five-course, $60 dinner at Library Alehouse in Santa Monica that includes Allagash beer pairings. With items including lamb two ways and foie gras gelato, as well as the always delicious Allagash, this meal is sure to knock your socks off. Purchase prepaid tickets here.

To read about a different SLF meal, check out LAist’s post.

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Maya Meinert

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07 2010

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