By Jill Weinlein, 4/19/2012
Dining at Susan Feniger’s STREET is an international, multi-ethnic adventure without leaving Los Angeles. Feniger, an accomplished award-winning chef for over 30 years, is a dynamic TV personality, philanthropist and cookbook author.
My group and I eagerly sat down at STREET to take an epicurean journey on “street foods” around the world with Feniger and her executive chef and partner, Kajsa. This dynamic-duo have created a new Spring menu that includes many of Feniger’s classic dishes with a twist on some modern vegan and vegetarian specialties.
Feniger is petite with a dazzling personality. She enthusiastically brought us some of her favorite dishes, including Laundry Day Fritters and Kaya Toast. The fritters are a New Orleans inspired snack. “Mondays are laundry days in the French Quarter. Women don’t have time to cook a detailed meal, so they make fritters with red beans and rice,” Feniger said. She enhances her dish with chorizo and a creamy hot sauce with scallions.
Feniger is also very proud of her Kaya Toast, which is a popular snack in Singapore and has been known to cure hangovers, according to our server. It’s made with coconut cream jam between two pieces of lightly buttered, toasted sourdough bread. Next to the tiny sandwich is a dark soy sauce with white pepper and a splash of vinegar. A softly fried egg rests on top. We were instructed to dip the sandwich in the egg yolk and soy/vinegar sauce before tasting. Wow! It’s a compelling blend of flavors with the sweetness of the coconut jam and savoriness of the egg. This is a popular brunch item at STREET.
Next, we snacked on an Indian-style crisp papadum chips covered with a green edamame hummus and tore leaves from a coal-roasted Greek artichoke, sprinkled with olive oil and flash fried oregano.
When the Middle Eastern date and kamut fritters arrived, I took one bite and wanted to save the rest for dessert. The fried fritters rested on a pool of slightly sweet yogurt with rose petals and sugary candied almonds.
We visited Syria by tasting Feniger’s Syrian lamb meatballs. The gravy is a wonderful harmony of dates and carob bean molasses. Feniger enjoys making meatballs. She has Swedish on the menu with crepes, mustard and rose hips jam and Korean BBQ meatballs with Asian pear pickles. The Thai chicken meatballs were dressed with a mild peanut sauce and cucumber vinaigrette. Most of her small plates are only $5.
For heartier fare, we enjoyed the colorful Tataki salmon dish, marinated in a miso mustard vinaigrette resting on a bed of cold soba noodles and adorned with sliced avocado and bright pink peppercorns.
The West Sumatra beef curry was made from short ribs, cooked for hours rendering it ultra tender, served with sweet coconut rice and a bright-red chili Sambal sauce. Fried carrots and broccoli rabe decorated the dish.
Feniger prepares a wonderful soul food dish with bite-size fried chicken croquettes decorating a waffle and drizzled with a piquant maple syrup.
One of Feniger’s newest items is her seasoned black bean veggie burger with pea shoots, smashed avocado and tomato on toasted sourdough rounds. I commented that it was one of the best veggie burgers I’ve tasted in Los Angeles. “Veggie patties aren’t easy to make. It takes time and a lot of taste tests,” Feniger informed me.
Before leaving, Feniger mentioned her newest endeavor, her sixth cookbook. “This is my first book with photography,” shared Feniger. “I’m really excited about it. It comes out in July, 2012.”
STREET offers a global brunch on Sat. and Sun. from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with creative cocktails that include watermelon mojitos, tequila tamarindo and a BLT Bloody Mary. Dinner begins nightly at 5 p.m. STREET is open for lunch on Fridays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. $-$$ 742 N. Highland Ave. (323)203-0500.
Tags | Susan Feniger's Street