The cooking of the South has never quite caught on in Southern California. But lately we've lucked into a few newish places with a distinctly Southern bent mixing it up with the usual California/Mediterranean fare. Biscuits lead the way, but you can also find Lowcountry shrimp boil riding shotgun with venison carpaccio, and pork ribs with potato salad on the same menu as grilled octopus with preserved lemon.
The Hart & the Hunter
Brian Dunsmoor and Kris Tominaga, executive chefs and proprietors, once pop-up auteurs, have grown into this permanent space in the raffish Palihotel. Come for those butter biscuits and the sheaf of chicken cracklins to douse in hot pepper vinegar. I wouldn't say no to crispy shrimp heads either. If you're lucky, you may find the Lowcountry shrimp boil with andouille sausage, corn and potatoes on the menu, or shrimp and grits. Sides include black-eyed peas and ham hock, cheddar-and-chive grits or simple braised greens. Come summer, I'm looking for peach cobbler.
7950 Melrose Ave. (at Santa Monica Boulevard), Los Angeles, (323) 424-3055, http://www.thehartandthehunter.com. Dishes, $4 to $22.
Jason Bernstein and James Starr from Golden State on Fairfax had the bright idea to partner with Kevin Bludso of Bludso's BBQ in Compton to open a barbecue spot in the old Tar Pit space on La Brea Avenue, so now folks in this part of town are lucky enough to be able to get Bludso's Texas-style smoked brisket, beef and pork beef ribs, along with his soothing cole slaw, long-simmered greens and molasses-spiked beans. All this and a full bar too. Not to mention red velvet cake for dessert.