SERVING SENSATIONAL SEASON FARE
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Culver City’s Muddy Leek for a first rate bar experience—their bites and cocktails (courtesy of Beverage Director Sara Kay Godot) are some of the best on the west side—but dinner at the cool, farm fresh restaurant is equally inspiring.
From owner Chef Whitney Flood is food that is fresh, creative and absolutely delicious.
“I love earthiness and subtlety, and I like to use textures, flavors and acids to create my dishes,” Flood explains. “It’s something I learned in culinary school, and then rediscovered at Post Ranch in Big Sur. I try to marry the sweet, sour, salty and bitter flavors in all of my dishes so that it bounces around on your tongue. No matter the number of ingredients in a dish, it is the evoking of flavor that matters most, even if it only consists of two ingredients.”
Whether you’re inside the ambient, modern looking dining room or sitting outside in the woodsy patio, there’s a feeling of tranquility at Muddy Leek that lets you know you’re escaping the outside hustle and bustle.
During our recent visit for dinner, I was immediately taken with a sign at the bar that read Ice Balls. I had to ask what that was about and was told that bar maven Sara Kay Godot flavors her own giant ice cubes if you will. Per her recommendation, I opted for a glass of my favorite and go-to drink Jameson with an Angostino Ice Ball. The combination changed the taste of my fave beverage creating an almost Old Fashioned kind of cocktail taste that I loved. Can you say new favorite drink?
Starting with the amazing and audacious Chicken Fried Bacon with tomato jam (I’ve said it before, only in America would someone bread and fry bacon. God bless America!), an addicting starter item for sure, we also tried the Cauliflower Croquettes with house cauliflower kimchi; a dish that has zero waste as the entire head of the cauliflower is used.
“I love cauliflower, and as soon I start seeing it come into season, I want to use it,” Chef Whitney enthuses. “When imagining this dish, I knew I wanted to make some form of a croquette. I began with a slightly dehydrated raw cauliflower croquette, which evolved into a deep-fried version. I then thought, why not make the kimchi with the stem and outer leaves? In order to satisfy the needs of the growing gluten-free community, in which I now partake, I decided to use rice flour ‘bread crumbs’. This dish has a feeling of comfort and familiarity, but still offers something slightly different.”
Those two dishes went well with a couple of stiff handcrafted drinks, the H.S. Thompson, made with spiced rum, green bar orange lime, ginger, cardamom and star anise (great kick!), and the Manhattan Transfer, a fine mix of bourbon, sweet vermouth, bitters, pomegranate candied ginger, Meyer lemon zest and orange zest.
Also, trust in Sara Kay Godot to pair your meal with some of her fine wines—she is a certified Sommelier and will not steer you wrong. She did a wonderful job pairing our meals with spot on wines.
Looking at the entrée menu, I can’t explain how excited I was to see the Chicken Pot Pie listed. I admit, I’m a crazy pot pie guy. And one of my biggest pet peeves in life is a casserole being passed off as a pot pie—keep in mind any “pie” without crust on the top and bottom is not a pie, it’s a damn casserole! And most restaurants are guilty of this so I was very happy to see that Muddy Leek actually serves authentic chicken pot pies! It’s a small pie (I was raised on Swanson Chicken Pot Pies before graduating to the Hungry Man dinner, so size is important), but it was hearty and flavorfully baked in Rye-IPA crust with braising greens and quince puree and made me so happy.
Another wonderful selection is the Ginger-Garlic Honey Niman Ranch Pork Ribs where the meat just falls off the bone. Very flavorful! Another favorite item is Mary’s Chicken Breast served with potato puree, buttermilk carrots, and green Chile chutney. This is a savory and good sized piece of breast that isn’t too filling. The Potato, Spinach and Leek Tart with arugula and black truffle vinaigrette are Muddy Leek signature items that I didn’t try—next time.
And speaking of filling, if you saved room for dessert, there are some fine selections to choose from courtesy of Pastry Chef Holden Burkons. The Chocolate Sugar Pie with oatmeal cookie crust and maple custard is a winner, and the Pear Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake with warm Thomcord grapes is a great choice if you want slightly less sweet.
Muddy Leek is located at 8631 W. Washington Blvd in Culver City. Open Tues-Fri for lunch 11am to 3pm; dinner Tues-Sat 5pm to 10pm. Closed Sunday and Monday. Call (310) 838-2281.
By: Jose Martinez.