Eagle Rock gets a serious, destination restaurant with the arrival of Little Beast. Husband-wife team chef Sean Lowenthal (Chateau Marmont) and Deborah Schwartz-Lowenthal bring a New American menu of seasonal, local ingredients. The small menu of small plates and half a dozen entrées highlight the season: Peaches are cubed and plated with burrata cheese, arugula and balsamic vinegar ($12), while corn is mixed into a risotto of Meyer lemon, Pecorino Romano cheese and supplemental Dungeness crab ($18). But while the neighborhood is embracing its first chef-driven, family-friendly neighborhood haunt—there’s even a kids menu of cheddar-filled quesadilla ($4) and a pared-down version of the roast chicken and burger—the food falls short on execution to put on this Eastside eatery on LA's culinary map.
The risotto lacks balance and finesse: A generous portion of Arborio rice has too much bitter lemon and is just plain dull. Pan-roast chicken ($19) was an improvement with well-seasoned, crispy skinned Jidori dark meat atop bland and lackluster asparagus and corn-cucumber mix. A deconstructed BLT salad ($10) was better in theory: A halved head of romaine grilled and added upon with cuts of applewood smoked bacon, sliced heirloom tomatoes, cubed and toasted croutons and creamy dressing that tasted like Thousand Island. Duck liver mousse ($10) was a disaster with a sloppy composition of potted paté that taste too bile-y with chunky apple compote and dry baguette slices to spread on.
But where the kitchen falls short, the restaurant makes up for in its ambiance. The restored California craftsman bungalow sets the stage for an intimate, locals-only vibe and alfresco dining on the patio.
Eat this: Dessert is the highlight. Try Belgian chocolate pudding topped with Chantilly cream, shaved chocolate and Maldon sea salt ($6): While less smooth and refined than pot de crème, the rustic dessert highlights the undeniable pairing of chocolate and whipped cream, elevated with salt. Pair it with a glass of Port ($9) or cup of French press Stumptown coffee ($6).
Drink this: The small, well-edited wine list features six to twelve-dollar wines by the glass including biodynamic, organic and natural selections. Half a dozen local brews are on offer by the bottle and can, as is a rotating draft pick.
Where to sit: The Craftsman home features ample outdoor seating. Opt for a seat on the front patio and watch the traffic off Colorado Boulevard or sit under canopied lights on the side patio.