Wolvesmouth [Los Angeles]
There is a lot of hype going on around Wolvesmouth, the LA underground supper club / “culinary happening” that’s so fucking hip that it had a residency at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. It’s easy to see how Wolvesmouth could be passed over as overly pretentious bull. It’s one of the hardest tables to book in LA (probably even moreso than Trois Mec, due to high demand and its curated lottery system). The locations is secret, and you don’t get directions until the morning of the dinner. The plates themselves often look like Jackson Pollock paintings.
I am here to tell you: Wolvesmouth, both the experience and the food, is not bullshit.
ribeye cap. plantain. broc stalk. piña. mint aioli. queso fresco. broc tempura. black bean soubise.
Consider: this dinner takes place in someone’s home. Therefore, all of the cooking is done with the limitations of a home kitchen. Churning out nine courses from that space is impressive in itself. They may have two fridges, but your stove is probably better than theirs.
crab. cauliflower. turnip. cabbage. cider. brussels. apples. cabbage.
The food is way less postmodern than internet research would have you believe. Possibly due to the home kitchen environment, there are no foams, no spherification, no gimmicks. (Not that I’m anti-foam or anything, but sometimes it’s a bit too much.) For all the painterly flourishes and pretty platings, this is all honest food, sometimes with unexpectedly homey flavors. Really tasty stuff, folks. I’m not going to break it down dish by dish (as there are lots of other bloggers who have done that, and done it better than I ever could). Honestly, if you go, you won’t have the same menu I did.
ocean trout. marscapone. onion jam. profiterole. candied lemon geleé. snap pea. yellow wax.
rabbit. poblano hooks cheddar pureé. sopapilla. jicama. dried cherry. zuc. squash.
The extremely limited seating, the hoops you jump through, and the fact that you’re dining with 14-20 total strangers makes this a “dining experience” rather than a “restaurant.” Reservations are limited to 1 or 2 people, and the diners are curated to make sure that there is a good mix of people and professions in the room. I, for one, am glad that I won’t end up at a table full of lawyers. And since it is a “pay what you like” experience, it means that this level of food is available equally to hedge fund managers and drummers in garage bands.
At the dinner I attended, I sat with cooks, healthcare people, a law student, a tech CEO, a teacher, a wine buyer, all at one long table. It’s a BYO affair, so we shared Cantillon, Napa Valley Pinot Noir, Schneider Aventinus, and Japanese whiskey — anything we’d brought — amongst ourselves.
pork belly. piquillo. squid in aioli. squid ink sabayon. blue lake. potato. parsley. almond.
squash. hen of the woods. parm fricco. cocoa coffee. parm. kale. rosemary.
In short, we made friends. The music selection was eclectic and on point. We were welcome to walk into the kitchen whenever we wanted and ask the cooks about the process. The menu for the evening was held up with magnets on the fridge door. They were cool dudes, sharing drinks we’d brought and shooting the shit after service was over. If anything, it was the opposite of pretentious.
quail. kyoho. pickled green tomato. candied peanut. beet. deviled egg puree. pinquito. corn nuts.
In the end, Wolvesmouth seems to have been an exercise in diving into the unknown — where is it? who are these people? what’s the menu going to be like? why the heck is there taxidermy everywhere? what the hell is cajeta? – and just going with it.
crepe. hazelnut. cajeta. pear ice. buttermilk vanilla panna cotta. sablé.
black sesame steamed cake. olive oil lime parfait. green tea ice. lime curd. persimmon. crispy almond. green tea.
As a celebration of food and the act of gathering to enjoy it, Wolvesmouth was certainly one of the most successful dinners I’ve had in LA.
[Pay what you like]