Taking over the former Larkin’s space and making the absolute most out of it with ample outdoor seating, Little Beast is Eagle Rock’s newest restaurant. Behind the venture is Sean Lowenthal, most recently a sous chef at Chateau Marmont, and his wife Deborah Schwartz. The concept, first test driven as a pop-up at Le Petit Beaujolais, is “progressive American comfort food,” which I’d say is a pretty fair description. The menu is full of recognizable standards taken up a notch or two, a pretty common find Mid-City and on the Westside but harder to get in our neck of the woods.
Starters at Little Beast pack the most “Wow,” but I’m a girl who likes an appetizer, so maybe I’m biased. Do not bypass the Wild Salmon Tartare, a three-tiered snack with a lot of soul that doesn’t skimp on fish or guacamole. Gyoza crisps act as tostadas, salsa verde gives it zest, and kumquats punch up every bite. We also had the duck liver mousse, nestled under sweet caramelized onions. It was good, but I’d probably forgo it for the Watermelon and Feta or Charred Melon Salad next time.
Perfectly seared with a beautifully crispy brown crust, the diver scallops were the star of the night. The succulent and subtly sweet medallions are served with a cauliflower duo, some puréed, some roasted, and accented with salsa verde. I can’t say enough good things.
The Little Beast Burger was beastly in the best way. Topped with a charred and chunky slice of red onion, butter lettuce and two shades of heirloom tomato, it was big in size and flavor. The fries were thick cut, addictive and served with ketchup and Worcestershire aoli. Very pleasing. A bit dry, the sautéed halibut was outshined by both of the other entrées, but I wouldn’t count it out completely since it has the makings of a good dish. I’m just not sure I’d take another chance on it.
Desserts are homey but elevated. The Bread Pudding, gooey and luscious, was a special they whipped up with some extra brioche they had lying around. Problem solved. It was moist, not overly dense and placed in pool of none-too-sweet vanilla creme anglaise. It was hard to break away from even when good sense begged me to stop. Served in a jar, the Crème Fraîche Cheesecake consisted of three layers: graham cracker crust, Meyer lemon blueberry jam, and crème fraîche, which made it light enough for a summer night. Flakey and subtle, the Fallen Apple Pastry got the candy apple treatment with the addition of dulce de leche, but the result was very grown up and refined. It tied with the Bread Pudding in the delicious dessert contest I was running in my head.
1496 Colorado Blvd, Eagle Rock
Valentina Silva writes about food and restaurants. You can also find Valentina’s reviews and stories on her blog, Eastside Food Bites.