I checked out Little Donkey for dinner this week and enjoyed it very much. It’s great to have this place in walking distance. The building they are in is pretty nondescript but they did a very nice job with the internal build out. The space is much bigger than I expected; seems as large as Coppa and Toro combined. I had a reservation for a table, but there were 2 bar seats open when I arrive so we grabbed those instead. The seats at the bar are comfortable and wide. It is a good design as even though there isn’t room between the seats you still have more than enough room if bordering encroachers or leaners.
The service at the bar was enthusiastic and professional. There alcohol selection is very nice. I was drinking tequila and mezcal and was pleased with the options for both. My DC declared the beer list adequate. The menus (regular and raw bar) looked great, I could have ordered everything. They suggested 3-4 dishes per person which was about right. We tried:
- Silver Queen Corn (parmesan, bone marrow, bonito, aioli, hot sauce) – loved this one, fantastic flavor combo, will get again
- Octopus a la Plancha (charred onion vinaigrette, potato tostones) – beautifully tender octopus, yes!
- Live Santa Barbara Uni (dashi, yuzu, chicharron) – delicious fresh uni. I am thrilled that they have live uni on the menu and the portion was fair. Seafood this pristine could do with less accouterment though, it can speak for itself.
- Cucumber Salad (feta, buttermilk, spicy peppers) – this one was recommended by the bartender and we enjoyed it
- Parker House Rolls (yellow chives & Chinese sausage) – delicious parker house rolls! Maybe the best I have ever had. I’d say they could use a bit more sausage but the taste was perfect.
- Monkfish Biryani (basmati rice, saffron, cashews, cardamom) – large dish. The flavors and consistency of the rice were right on. Could have used a bit more monkfish though.
- Farro Kimchi Fried Rice (egg, scallion, bean sprouts, Thai herbs) – another hearty dish, but probably our least favorite of the evening. Not enough spice from the kimchi.
My DC didn’t like raw items, but that menu looked really great. I’d probably stick to veg and raw bar items next time to explore those further.
It was packed on a Tuesday which is impressive for this time of the year. It is good that they take some reservations as I hate dealing with the Toro wait. Some of the aggressive Toro crowd seems to have followed them across the river, but hopefully that mellows over time. I can’t wait to visit again to try the live scallop, king crab, charred avocado, etc.