Remember when your mom told you to eat all your vegetables? Boy do I have news for you! Vegetables never tasted so good. Want a night to remember that is full of fantastic flavors and unbelievable combinations of foods? I’m not kidding, you have got to make a trip to Street!
We were met at the door by Susan Feniger. You probably know Susan from the TV shows “Too Hot Tamales” and “Top Chefs Masters” and of course from the “Border Grill” restaurant fame. We chatted outside the restaurant about the neighborhood, the restaurant and of course about my favorite topic, food. Once we were in the door we were escorted to the best seat in the house right outside the “Chef’s Window”. We could not only see the action in the kitchen but we could smell intoxicating aromas escaping through the window. Susan joined us for some chef-to-chef talk where we learned that Susan grew up in Toledo, Ohio. Susan has great memories of cooking at home with her mother and sister, spending hours at the stove cooking for family events and holidays. Be sure to ask her about cooking at Smith’s Cafeteria for some great stories. Susan is a Culinary Institute of America grad and credits Chef Gus Ridie from Kansas City famed restaurant La Bonne Auberge as her mentor. Susan is well travelled with one of her favorite countries to visit being India. We could tell from the menu and flavors that Susan has been to India more than a few times and has had more than a few bites of some outstanding Indian cuisine.
Susan is off to the kitchen cooking up some culinary surprises. Our server Parker smartly brings a little teaser of an appetizer. Our first taste was a seemingly simple tortilla chips and dip. Not so to our delight. The chips were feather light chickpea chips laced with caraway seeds complimented with tamarind chutney. Mmmmm….. Delicious. We know that now that we are in for a real treat tonight. What we did not know was that our entire evening was going to be a vegetarian delight. Parker by the way is a L.A. native, educated at the Chicago Arts School and working on becoming a writer here on the L.A. scene. Good luck Parker!
Our next adventure with vegetables is the late night Singapore favorite “Kaya Toast”. This dish is a must at two in the morning finishing a night of libations and celebrations. Chef Sasha Algers interprets this Asian culinary mainstay with a fabulous grilled coconut jam filled toast that you dive into dark soy, white pepper soft egg concoction that was out of site. I’d go back to STREET for that one dish alone.
Our table is joined by general manage Shireen Saugen who keeps the dining room a very comfortable atmosphere. Everyone is welcomed like they are just neighbors. Shireen is a business graduate from the University of Santa Clara and is a true world traveler. Shireen’s travels have stretched from Turkey to Peru to Australia with a few months on board a 60’ sailboat. Shireen opened STREET four years ago with Susan and keeps the restaurant energized with events and happenings. Check out the website at http://www.eatatstreet.com/streetevents.html.
Okay!! More about the food. Heard of Jack Fruit? Susan prepares this fruit originating from Western Ghats (wherever that is, I had to look it up) in a semi traditional Bao Bun with Hoisin BQ sauce and nestled with a fresh tangerine salad. This is a grapefruit size huge Bao Bun was steamed to light perfections then griddled for a crispy crust. Try a glass of Spatburgunder Blanc (white pinot noir) by Schlossmühlenhoff with the Bao Bun. A great combination of taste with this crisp steely wine mixed with the sweetness of the BBQ jackfruit.
We devoured the shaved kale and Brussels sprouts. We couldn’t believe that we were eating Brussels sprouts. Unbelievable. I could count on one hand how many people I know who like Brussels sprouts including me but this these thinly shaved cabbages with sautéed and tossed with goat cheese and a tangy lemon picada.
Grilled artichokes with oregano chimichuri vinaigrette were next. Really, really tasty especially with the house made Kalamata Aioli sauce. The aioli was so good I couldn’t keep myself from double dipping. I’m embarrassed to admit I hogged the sauce and kept it to myself.
The showstopper for us this night was a simple roasted baby beet salad with arugula and frisee with gin vinaigrette. I have got to have this recipe. By this time of the evening we were just filled to complete happiness when a luscious Croatian Apple Crisp with Cranberry Caramel is daring us to take a bite. I can’t I tell myself but somehow… okay just one bite. Then another bite, then another. Before we knew it, voila!! Gone. Thank God that Juan was there to rescue us with a tableside prepared Hong Kong Style Milk Tea. Juan gently steeped Darjeeling tea leaves with fresh ginger and sweetened condensed milk. Juan poured the tea from cup to cup back and forth creating an after dinner drink with a creamy foamy head that could rival any cappuccino.
Don’t miss the opportunity to get your vegetable “Five A Day” at STREET. For the carnivore in you there is plenty of earthly delights to antagonize the pickiest palates. For special parties be sure to call Shireen at 323-203-0500.
STREET is opened for dinner Sunday-Thursday 5:00-10:00pm, Friday & Saturday 5:00-11:00pm. Check out brunch on Saturdays & Sunday from 11:00-3:00pm. Friday lunch is 12:00-3:00pm. STREET is located at 742 N Highland Ave Los Angeles, CA 90038
By Chef Robert Sturm