Epic Hoggery in Los Angeles

Photo: J. Bradford

Following a manifest destiny of his own creation, Eric Park has worked his way west from earlier stints at Eleven Madison Park then to The Spotted Pig in New York City before opening his own restaurant in the burgeoning foodie scene of Silver Lake in Los Angeles.  As the latest arrival in a neighborhood quickly gaining a well deserved reputation for innovative takes on classic flavors, Black Hogg not only out innovates but also out executes.

First thing to notice about The Black Hogg is that the animal at the top of the neon sign marking the restaurant is a sheep, reflecting what staff shared with your correspondent in that a hogg is a term for young sheep that has aged enough to cease being a lamb but has not yet had its first shearing. Good to know.

Interestingly, though, most of the dishes owe their excellent flavors to the versatility to the hog. For instance, the signature dish of popcorn bacon is surreal. Deep fried cubes of pork belly are served with a maple cream sauce for dunking. It works. It works really well. The crispiness of the pop corned bacon gives way to the lush inside with the sweet maple syrup creating an umami taste complementing the unctuousness of the fat.

Another stand-out was the signature oyster dish: Grilled Cowboys with garlic butter breadcrumbs and house-made bacon. Three grilled beauties with a garlicky and smoky crunch.

Other key food options include brussels sprouts with bread crumbs and bacon, and an excellentlonganiza sausage hash with roasted poblanos – an outrageously tasty combination. Equally flavorful are the pork belly tacos served in soft corn tortillas. The crispy and fatty belly is counterpunched by a fuji apple slaw and jalapeños on top which provides some acid and heat.

Given the imaginative temptations on the menu, and the small plate execution, it makes sense to share and split up larger dishes. One that delivered was the Niman heritage pork chop with rice and beans with mojo sauce. The tender pork came medium rare with the tartness of the lime from the mojo sauce around the chop. Delicious. The rice and bean combo was equally tasty with its flavor enhanced by addition of smoked bacon.

One plate that missed was the PEI mussels with smoky bacon. The mussels came plated in a bowl and cubes of bacon studded the spaces in between the shells. But the mussels were dry and could have used some kind of broth to have kept them moist. Still tasty, but presumably a miss. The buttery lamb burger or wild mushrooms in a brioche box would have been a better choice.

During the time of your correspondent’s visit, The Black Hogg had applied for a liquor license and, due to the weirdness of LA regulations, this meant patrons could not BYOB or order anything other than soft drinks. The Black Hogg had a number of boutique colas on offer and the root beer was a delicious accompaniment to the plates. The shaved ice filled the glass to the brim and provided some cooling and sweet-tasting relief to the heat and smokiness. A serendipitous visit to be sure, and to be repeated when in Los Angeles.

Try sitting at the spare, Scandinavian-style bar to get a glimpse of all the food coming from the kitchen, in case you want to try ordering something on the fly.

Black Hogg
2852 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
ph: +1 (323) 953-2820
http://blackhogg.com/

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Correspondent:Jack Bradford

Originally from the East Coast, Jack travels extensively for his personal and professional projects. No matter which city, town or village, whether on business or vacation, Jack looks for establishments which are the ones he’d revisit with his best friends or clients. To him, these places accommodate and create an excellent and memorable experience – regardless of busy schedules. Jack is currently based in London.

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