I went to Susan Feniger's Street twice during the summer last year. This post is long overdue.
I loved the decor. Of course, I did. It was orange.
Sadly, though, I did not love the food, which is probably why I delayed this post so long.
The concept is an interesting one -- gather street food from many different cultures and present it in a non-street setting in Hollywood. Execution isn't terrible. The problem?
Street food is better on the street. And not just on one street. On many different streets.
The first time I went to Susan Feniger's Street was for lunch with my brother.
Cantaloupe and beet agua fresca ($3) and tamarind ginger cooler ($3).
Japanese shizo shrimp wrapped in shizo, nori, and crispy dough with ponzu, grated radish, and wasabi ($12).
Nice crunch. Pleasant enough.
Paani puri -- small tastes of spiced potato, chutney, and sprouted beans in crispy puffs of dough dipped in yogurt-cilantro water ($6).
I liked the flavors of this dish, but, when the menu says, "small tastes," it isn't kidding.
"Half salad and dumpling plate" -- half size of any salad and tea cake/dumpling plate ($14.50). We opted for the Korean rice salad (brown rice, soybean sprouts, enoki mushrooms, nori, daikon, tofu, and sunflower seeds in a spicy sweet sesame dressing) and the kaya toast (toasted bread spread thick with coconut jam served with a soft fried egg drizzled in dark soy and white pepper).
Decent but tiny.
I wasn't impressed with our lunch in terms of bang for our buck. The food was ok, but I left unsatisfied. Mind you, not dissatisfied. There is a difference. I was willing to give Susan Feniger's Street another try.
I returned to Susan Feniger's Street a few weeks later for dinner with Mr. Monkey and the Cruisers.
Sanbitter sunburst -- lemonade of Italian aperitif bitters and citrus juices ($3).
The four of us shared two orders of the Around the World in 7 Courses ($40 per order) and two orders of the five-course Globe Trot ($35 per order). Prices I've listed are what dishes cost a la carte. If you do the math, the multi-course meals are the way to go.
Millet seed puffs with marshmallow, fennel, curry, coriander, cumin, and black currant.
These tasted like chewy Rice Krispies treats with an Indian flair. I must say that I prefer Rice Krispies treats. The consistency of these puffs just didn't feel right, and they got stuck in all of my teeth.
Full order of kaya toast ($11).
Good repeat dish. It's delicious when you eat the sandwich and egg together -- creamy and sweet mixed with rich saltiness. But, really, $11? I can get a similar snack at Tea Station for next to nothing. You ain't foolin' me, Feniger.
The kaya toast was followed by paani puri ($7) and Japanese shiso shrimp ($12), already described above in my lunch with my brother.
All-American salad -- assorted lettuces, shaved fennel, bacon cracklings, cucumber, tomato, boiled egg, and St. Augur bleu cheese tossed with homemade thousand island dressing ($9).
It was a salad. Whoop-de-do.
Scandinavian beet and apple salad -- slow-roasted beets with apple, black currant, watercress, toasted walnut, and millet croutons in a juniper vinaigrette ($9).
Spinach varenyky -- small pan-fried Ukrainian dumplings filled with spinach and a light layer of salted cheese served with sour cream, fried onions, and lemon marmalade ($9).
Now we were getting somewhere. Crispy, juicy, lovely. Order these if you visit.
Moldavian meatballs -- ground beef and kasha meatballs simmered in a sweet and sour tomato sauce with dill sour cream ($10).
These looked better than they actually tasted. Ever eat a meatball? Yes? Then these will be perfectly familiar to you.
Mini beef kobe beef dogs with sweet and spicy chili and white cheddar sauce ($10).
Tasty, but you could make your own at home just as well.
Assorted vegetables and pickles.
Tatsutage fried chicken marinated with soy, mirin, and sake topped with spicy kewpie mayonnaise sauce served with pickled vegetable slaw and chilled soba noodles ($16).
The chicken was very good, but when is fried chicken really bad? You can get this at almost any Japanese place. For a lot less, of course.
Japanese shio ramen soup with clear spicy broth, sliced roasted pork, shrimp, assorted garnishes and yuzu kosho hot sauce ($15).
If I shell out $15 for ramen, it'd better be amazing. It wasn't. It wasn't bad, but it was a pale facsimile of anything you could get at Daikokuya or even Orochon, and it cost about twice as much. The only thing noteworthy about this course was the Papyrustick chopsticks.
Turkish doughnuts spiced, fried, and simmered in a cardamom rose syrup served with sour cream and rose hip jam ($8).
Susan Feniger's Street is kind of like L.A.'s poor-man version of momofuku ssam bar. If you've read what I said about momofuku ssam bar, you already know that's not a compliment.