Unbridled Excellence and Deliciousness - Horses [Thoughts + Pics]

There are times when you visit a new restaurant and upon taking a bite of the first dish, it turns out to be delicious. You’re off to a good start for dinner. Then the second dish arrives and it, too, is just comforting and delicious. Excitement begins to rise. Then the next dish, and the next all turn out to be simply wonderful, pleasing, and you feel blessed. You can’t wait to return, and the next visit turns out to be even better. You’ve found a new restaurant for your regular rotation. A place you can visit with family or friends, and know you’re going to get a great meal. Welcome to Horses.

The curiously named Horses actually pays homage to its heritage, taking over the space formerly known as Ye Coach & Horses built in 1934 near the vaunted Sunset Strip (you can see the OG placard engraved on the front door).

When you walk in, the space is quite unique and “long” (more deep than wide), and there are 3 main dining areas, a front bar & tables area (the most festive and loud), a more romantic, moody dining room proper (off to the left side when you enter) (and the darkest of the rooms), and a back bar area with wildly colorful paintings and other bar.

Helmed by Chefs Liz Johnson and Will Aghajanian, doing a bit of research it seems they both worked at Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark (considered by many to be the best restaurant in the world), as well as a variety of other restaurants, including The Catbird Seat (Nashville) prior to this. Reading an LA Times article on the workings of the kitchen, it seems Chef Johnson and Aghajanian have hired 2 more “co-chefs” Brittany Ha and Lee Pallerino to also help build out the menu, and they’ve done away with much of the traditional French brigade system in the kitchen. Indeed, on any given night, you can see all of them busy cooking away and preparing dish after dish carefully for the customers. The team is rounded out by Pastry Chef Hannah Grubba.

(Note: Apologies for the photo quality - it’s a dimly lit restaurant.)

Horses Caesar:

The simply named Horses Caesar is stunning: This is nothing like a traditional Caesar Salad, but at the same time, every bite tastes like what you hope a great Caesar Salad might turn out to be. Instead of Romaine Lettuce, they use Endive. There’s Mimolette Cheese which hearkens to the expected Parmesan, but tastes more creamy, aromatic, rounder. I loved the use of crunchy toasted Breadcrumbs instead of big Croutons. You still get that crunch, but now it’s with every bite instead of once in a while with a traditional Caesar. There’s still that Anchovy brininess and creaminess in the dressing. It is brilliant and an excellent entry point to understanding the brilliance of Chef Liz Johnson & Will Aghajanian (and team). :heart:

Avocado Crostino with Cantabrian Anchovies:

I’ve probably been in COVID lockdown for too long, but the thought of Avocado and Anchovies has never crossed my mind as a possible tasty pairing. But taking a bite of the Avocado Crostino with Cantabrian Anchovies at Horses, and I realized how limited my culinary palate must’ve been: It works! And beautifully! :blush:

The creaminess of perfectly ripe Avocados completely balances out the briny funk you’d expect biting into an Anchovy. The toasted Crostino Bread adds a pleasing textural contrast. It’s creamy, crunchy, and there’s this delicate umami and complex flavor, but you never get overwhelmed by any pure Anchovy punch that you might be bracing for. It is a revelation. :heart:

Saffron Pappardelle with Slow Cooked Duck Sugo:

And then you take a bite of their Saffron Pappardelle with Slow Cooked Duck Sugo: There’s the delicate chew of fresh Pappardelle Pasta, perfectly sauced by this Duck Sugo Sauce that feels almost like a Bolognese, but not really at the same time. It’s balanced, stew-like, with a deep poultry essence and comforting. One of the best Pastas we’ve had in recent memory. :heart:

Cornish Game Hen with Warm Dandelion Panzanella:

The Roasted Cornish Game Hen is fantastic. The portion is perfect for 2, not as overwhelming as trying to finish an entire Roasted Chicken, perfectly roasted (although I wish the skin was crispy), and both the white and dark meat portions were moist and tender.

Sheep’s Milk Cheesecake with Poached Rhubarb:

We were stuffed at this point, but with every single dish being a winner, we couldn’t leave without trying something from the Dessert menu. I had no idea a Sheep’s Milk Cheesecake could be so good! You don’t even notice any “gaminess” that you might expect with Sheep’s Milk Cheeses. It’s a flawless Cheesecake, creamy, pure, clean and that Poached Rhubarb is a perfect counterpoint. :heart:

Marzipan Stracciatella Ice Cream with Amarena Cherry:

Some folks may know that I’ve given up on Ice Cream ever since some of our OG Hounds (like @ipsedixit @A5KOBE and others) told me about Bulgarini Gelato years ago. :wink: Yes, Gelato and Ice Cream are different, but from my first bite of Bulgarini Gelato, with the flavor concentration that is so potent, glorious and delicious, Ice Cream just tasted mundane in comparison.

But in one bite of Chef Hannah Grubba’s Marzipan Stracciatella Ice Cream with Amarena Cherry, my faith in great Ice Cream was restored: There’s a wonderful creamy texture, a smooth, silky base, and then you hit incredible Dark Chocolate Chunks(!). But then you run into bites of juicy Amarena Cherry chunks that are an explosion of sweet dark stone fruit flavor and you have one of the best Handmade Ice Creams in town! So good! :heart:

First Chefs Johnson and Aghajanian and team are crushing the savory dishes, and now Pastry Chef Hannah Grubba is doing the same with Desserts?! I kept thinking, who are these brilliant people and why haven’t I heard of them before? :blush:

Suffice to say the 1st visit was stunning. A 2nd visit was in order:

Horses Vesper (Gin Infused with Fig Leaf, Vodka and Lillet Blanc):

Our bartender, Courtney, had helped build the drinks program at Gigi’s (Mid-City). The Horses Vesper was light, refreshing and a great start to the evening.

Boudin Basque with Fried Hen’s Egg:

When Chef Johnson recommends the Boudin Basque, it’s probably a good idea to order the Boudin Basque. I was mentally prepared to engage with a variation on Blood Sausage, recalling the various iterations of Boudin Noir I’ve had over the years, but Horses’ version is something else entirely. Instead of the primarily mineral-y Blood Sausages you might be expecting, here the Boudin Basque is sumptuous, balanced, meaty with porcine notes, and tasting more like an absolutely delicious Handmade Sausage (Non-Blood) than traditional Boudin. The Fried Hen’s Egg with the runny yolk, the crunchy, fried Potato on which it rests (which they grate, confit, press, cool, cut, and then refry) just rounds things off perfectly. It almost looks like a wild take on an American Breakfast Sandwich, but it’s so much more. :heart: :blush:

Smoked Salmon Lavash with Cress:

This is another unexpected and wonderful creation: The kitchen team takes some delicate Smoked Salmon served on Lavash Bread, which is super thin and crispy, the Watercress on top is a beautiful herbal-y counterpoint to each bite, and it recalls the idea of something like a Breakfast item “Smoked Salmon Bagel with Schmear” perhaps, but so much lighter, aromatic, herbal and interesting. Very good.

Bee’s Knees (Gin, Lemon, Honey):

An excellent version from Bar Manager Courtney. Refreshing, bright and lightly sweet.

Veal Sweetbreads with Frisee and Capers:

Perfectly fried (not oily at all), there’s a delicate crispiness to the batter, and the Veal Sweetbreads within are creamy, tender, balanced by the Frisee and Capers (giving it enough piquancy to cut through that lovely creaminess and fried exterior). :slight_smile:

Cheeseburger and Fries:

First, let’s get this out of the way: Yes, it’s $28 (+tax & tip) for their Cheeseburger & Fries, but taking a bite, and all your criticisms go away.

It begins with biting into the fluffy, but sturdy enough Poppy Seed Bun, and then you bite into a bit of Raw White Onion, and then you hit the star: Unctuous, luscious, fatty (but not overwhelming), juicy, American Wagyu Beef + Short Rib + Sirloin, cooked to a perfect medium rare.

It might be the best Burger in L.A. that I’ve had since well before the pandemic. It is ridiculous and glorious and a must order! :heart: :heart: :heart: (@ipsedixit @paranoidgarliclover @A5KOBE @BradFord and all!)

Their Fries aren’t bad either, freshly fried to order, served with a Housemade Garlic Aioli. They have a light crispiness on the exterior with a fluffy interior. Not as crunchy-crisp as Connie & Ted’s, but delicious and comforting! :blush:

Pan Roasted Monkfish with Bearnaise and Melted Fennel:

Chef Liz Johnson and team rotate out the Fish seemingly every week, depending on what’s fresh. On this visit it was a Pan Fried Monkfish, which was nicely executed, meaty, but with enough of a delicate quality, and that Bearnaise Sauce was on point.

Tiramisu:

For many food lovers, seeing the simply named “Tiramisu” on a menu (with no description) might be reason enough to just skip over that entry and look for more interesting-sounding Desserts. But that would be a mistake:

When the Tiramisu arrives, it looks a bit flatter than most versions around town. And a lot darker. Then taking a bite (make sure to get all the layers together), there’s a delicate cake, wonderful Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder, but then you hit the center with a Cocoa Nibs Brittle, and you get this crunch to go with the supremely delicate, soft cake and light Marzipan.

It is ridiculous! And the best Tiramisu I’ve ever had. :heart: :open_mouth: :heart:

I begin to regret not having known about Pastry Chef Hannah Grubba before, this is yet another fantastic Dessert that’s simply outstanding.

Espresso Martini (St. George Coffee Liqueur, Chicory, Grand Marnier, Vodka):

And what better way to match the excellent Tiramisu than with an Espresso Martini? This matched so well it should be served together perhaps.

Cara Cara Sorbet with L’Arge d’Oor:

Outstanding! This screams in-season, straight from the Farmer’s Market Cara Cara Oranges distilled down into a frozen treat. The L’Arge d’Oor seems to be a Natural Wine and it paired perfectly here (not boozy at all, but giving it just this beautiful backnote). :heart:

3rd Visit:

With the first 2 visits offering excellent winner after winner, how could there not be a 3rd visit just to see how much better it could get? :wink:

There’s a whole Spritz section on the drinks menu, so to start:

Umeshu Tonic with Peychaud’s:

This was refreshing, but definitely on the complex side: Umeshu (Japanese Plum) Tonic gives you this tartness with a hint of plum fruit (barely), there’s effervescence and then the Peychaud’s Bitters adds this herbal backnote.

Marinated Gigante Beans, Nettle and Bottarga:

Massive flavor bomb. While “Beans” might sound like a boring dish to order, Chef Johnson and team’s Gigante Beans arrive plump, meaty, earthy but with a nice exterior bite. The Nettle adds a nice vegetal element, and then the delicate brininess of the Bottarga zaps things into focus. But then you get some of all of those elements with a bite of their fresh Burrata - so creamy and refreshing! - and you have nourishing, delicious “comfort food” in an elevated, but unfussy way. :heart:

(Special - Off-Menu) Kale Pesto Pasta:

On this visit they had a couple of Off-Menu Specials, the first being their Kale Pesto Pasta. While it is vegan, it more than satisfies anyone who enjoys a great Pasta dish. Here, they eschew the expected, traditional Pesto and substitute in Kale. Visually, it’s a gorgeous, deep forest green hue, but more importantly, flavor-wise, it’s a wonderful, vegetal, earthy-green, lightly bitter-savory Pasta that has the aroma of a great Pesto but also something that tastes healthier, heartier and simply delicious. :blush:

(Special - Off-Menu) Herman Pasta:

Another new Off-Menu Special, the Herman Pasta, is described as sort of like a Baked Ziti, but here with Vodka Sauce, Parmesan and Bread Crumbs, and baked until there’s a light toastiness on the surface. It’s a wonderful savory, creamy, lightly sweet, umami bite of joy. Yet another comfort food offering that shines at Horses. :heart:

Cote de Porc with Slow Roasted Cabbage and Braised Lentils:

It’s always nice to find a restaurant making a great Pork Chop dish, and thankfully Horses makes a fantastic version. Nearly perfectly cooked through (with just one bite of it being a touch overcooked), but the majority of the Cote de Porc being flawless. Juicy, meaty, there’s a fat cap if you want to have some decadence in your bite of Pork, otherwise, the lean portion (most of it) is simply wonderful! :blush: The pairing with Braised Lentils adds a wonderful soft, pleasing earthy quality, and I wanted seconds of Slow Roasted Cabbage.

Tiramisu:

To ensure I wasn’t dreaming the first time, it was time for another order of the new Tiramisu Dessert. Taking a bite:

Yup. Wasn’t dreaming. :blush: The lovely Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder, the delicate creaminess, and that crunch from the Cocoa Nibs Brittle! :open_mouth: SO GOOD! :heart: A must order!

4th Visit:

During our 4th visit, there was a new Cocktail added to the menu, which is one of my all-time favorites, so it was a must-order to see how this version might turn out…

Hotel Nacional (Champagne Rested Rum, Pineapple, Lime, Apricot, Velvet Falurnum, Bitters):

Wonderful! One of the better Hotel Nacionals I’ve had in recent memory. :slight_smile: It’s fun, tropical, bright, refreshing, easy-to-drink, and not overly sweet.

Pork Rillettes:

The Pork Rilletes are outstanding! Ultra-creamy, luscious, smooth and decadent, there’s a beautiful porcine flavor and it’s perfectly salted. So many versions these days feel like they’re oversalted, but not this one. It is my new favorite Pork Rillettes in the city. :heart:

Insalata Verde:

From the moment the Insalata Verde arrives, you know you’re in for a great Salad. Pristine, crisp, beautiful Farmers Market Lettuces (and other Greens) are playfully stacked on top of one another, dressed in a balanced, tangy, bright White Wine Vinaigrette. It’s rustic, fun, humble, but also truly refreshing. This is a righteous Salad that celebrates California. :heart:

Hand Cut Steak Tartare:

At this point, is it even a surprise to find out that Chefs Liz Johnson and Will Aghajanian and team have made one of the best versions of Steak Tartare in the city? Like pretty much every single dish we’ve had so far, the newly added Steak Tartare is just wonderful. Oftentimes, one finds a Steak Tartare that’s just slightly out-of-balance (perhaps too sharp of a Mustard, too piquant, etc.). Here, the finely minced raw Hanger Steak is seasoned just right: It’s lightly beefy, creamy, perfectly salted, having a perfect balance to enjoy on the toasted Crostini. :heart:

Cherry Sake Spritz:

This doesn’t actually have any actual Cherry Fruit flavors within, instead the name ties into the particular Japanese Sake that references Cherry Blossoms. This sounds like a pleasant refreshing drink, but there’s something added to the Spritz that makes it a touch odd in the aftertaste. I can’t quite place what it is, but it’s probably the only drink we were disappointed with on the Cocktail menu. It’s not bad at all, but not really aligning with my palate.

Butcher’s Steak Grilled Over Vine Cuttings with Celeriac Dauphinois and Watercress:

Seeing Steak on a menu seems almost like a default offering, just to appease a certain segment of customers. I usually avoid ordering Steaks unless I’m at a Steakhouse or a Beef specialist, but with so many excellent dishes we’ve had at Horses, we decided to give this a try.

What you get is a perfectly grilled, medium rare Hanger Steak. The sourcing and execution is noteworthy because for it being a non-premium cut, this was tender, juicy, beefy, and an outstanding Steak! :heart: It needed no extra Sauces nor condiments. The beefiness and just the right amount of Salt was enough.

But what was probably just as good as the Grilled Steak was the Celeriac Dauphinois that came with it. Taking a bite, I thought this was flawless “Potato Gratin Dauphinois” or Scalloped Potatoes. But our server reminded us that this was with Celeriac, not Potato(!). :open_mouth: Just legit, creamy, comforting, outstanding, high level cooking, but dressed down and humble in presentation. :heart:

I could seriously eat a whole side order of this alone and be happy.

5th Visit:

Marinated Cerignola Olives:

Delicious.

Cheeseburger and Fries:

horses2_014

While every dish has been great, I caught myself dreaming about their Cheeseburger and Fries. To make sure it wasn’t a fluke (more like I was craving this so badly!) :sweat_smile: it was time for another order.

Just as before, this glorious blend of American Wagyu, Short Rib and Sirloin arrives a perfect medium rare. Bloody, juicy, a perfect beefy fattiness and worth every penny of that $28 price tag! It is absurd and so good! :heart:

(New) Ricotta Ravioli with Spinach and Fiore Sardo:

A new Pasta dish just added to the menu, Horses’ new Ricotta Ravioli with Spinach and Fiore Sardo is one of the best Pastas I’ve tried since before the pandemic. Supple Ravioli give way to creamy Ricotta and the Spinach Sauce adds a rich, green, verdant note to every bite. The Sheep’s Milk Fiore Sardo never dominates, but just accentuates. Horses is putting out some great Pastas and they’re not even an Italian specialist.

(New) Strawberry Sorbet and Champagne:

Reflecting the bounty we are so fortunate to have in California, in-season Strawberries are finally starting to show up at local Farmer’s Markets. Taking a bite:

If you wanted to understand how much of a difference in-season, locally grown Strawberries make, look no further than Chef Hannah’s new Strawberry Sorbet and Champagne (the server will actually pour over Champagne into the glass tableside). There’s a beautiful, natural fragrance that only ripe, in-season Strawberries have, and it’s exuding every bite throughout the Dessert. Beautiful sweetness, a true explosion of Strawberries, and it pairs nicely with the Champagne. :heart:

Service deserves a note as well: While Horses is still clearly a Southern California-style service restaurant (So Cal restaurants in general will never approach the level of service that a haute cuisine, Michelin 3 Star restaurant in San Francisco, Paris or Tokyo might have), but there’s a genuine fun, inviting, welcoming atmosphere created by General Manager Terence Leavey and team. Every sever we’ve encountered on our visits has been friendly, welcoming and the general vibe of Horses is lively, fun, and a place you want to enjoy a meal at, again and again.

With seemingly no hype, a new restaurant reflecting the culinary backgrounds of its chefs, and the local California produce, has arrived in the form of Horses. While just a few blocks from the start of the famed Sunset Strip, it lacks the pretentiousness and vapid glitz and glamor of restaurants and bars along that area. Instead, what Chefs Liz Johnson, Will Aghajanian, Brittany Ha and Lee Pallerino are doing is nothing short of simply wonderful.

Delicious starters like the Avocado Crostino with Cantabrian Anchovies, Smoked Salmon Lavash, Pork Rillettes, and Steak Tartare might be the very best versions in the city. The Boudin Basque with Fried Hen’s Egg is ridiculous, the Veal Sweetbreads - wow!, the Marinated Gigante Beans, Nettle and Bottarga is inspired.

Their Pastas have excelled and are far better than the more recent overhyped place around town. Add in a fantastic Cote de Porc, the perfectly cooked Butcher’s Steak and the dreamy Celeriac Dauphinois and Watercress, and the flat-out awesome Cheeseburger and Fries, and there’s not a bad item on the menu. Everything we’ve had has been excellent to outstanding.

And then you get to Dessert. Chef Hannah Grubba is making some of the best Desserts in the city right now. The Sheep’s Milk Cheesecake with Poached Rhubarb is the Cheesecake I want right now. The Tiramisu is the best I’ve ever had. Ever. The Marzipan Stracciatella Ice Cream with Amarena Cherry: This is what Ice Cream should be like. And that Strawberry Sorbet with Champagne (previously a Cara Cara Sorbet with Natural Orange Wine), stunning.

There’s a thoughtfulness, creativity, and high level culinary skills at work here, but done in a rustic, relaxed fashion. It’s elevated comfort food, but so much more than that. Add in the fantastic atmosphere and you have one of the best restaurants in the City of Angels.

Horses
7617 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Update 1: Amazing Bottarga Pasta, More Desserts, Saffron Speck Pasta and more!

11 Likes

It all sounds so good! I was looking forward to your report on this, and I appreciate your rundown of the place and its menu over multiple visits. The menu seems to go from strength to strength and full of the kind of food I’d like to eat - Caesar salad, tartare, sweetbreads, monkfish, a burger, panzanella, simple pastas, tiramisu, etc. I like that the food seems to be hearty and have character but it’s dialed in without being too precious or fussy. In the Resy profile, Chef Liz mentioned Zuni Cafe in SF and Harry’s Bar in Venice (Italy), classic institutions with pretty timeless dishes (they’re famous respectively for their chicken panzanella and, amongst other things, spritzes). But for some reason to me, this restaurant really seems like it would be in London!

Speaking of chef Liz and Will’s prior work at Noma - after my meal at Noma 2.0, I was given a tour by one of the other chefs, who was from Ireland. He was intending to go back and open a nice pub in Ireland. I like seeing some chefs with pedigree open up a place with this kind of food, pub-like if you will - familiar and comforting, but dialed-in well with smart execution (as it seems is the case with Horses). For example, I like that the Horses Caesar has breadcrumbs instead of croutons, so that perhaps endive’s bitterness and the breadcrumbs’ crunch balances out the sauce and Mimolette with each bite. How a dish eats is so important, and these little details make the difference.

Can’t wait to try it. Here’s to hoping there’s an interesting wine list and that they’re open late!

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Hi @BradFord ,

Thanks! :slight_smile: It’s definitely as you said. Chef Liz and Chef Will’s work at Noma might not be ostensibly on the plate (at least compared to pictures I’ve seen of Noma over the years), but it feels they’ve taken their experience and probably improved palate and cooking techniques and applied it in this more relaxed, down-to-earth setting and menu (like that brilliant Caesar Salad re-envisioning). That Boudin Blanc also tastes so delicious and approachable, but still has some echoes of Boudin. It also echoes a unique take on a “Breakfast Sandwich” in a way. Very subtle, but cool. :slight_smile:

I hope you get to try it and please report back. Enjoy!

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wow that burger looks insane. hard for me to spend that kind of money on a burger! the blood sausage thing looks like a great side to a guiness! what’s the beer situation like there? great report and photos!!

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Excellent report as always.

I am wondering if you tried the Kiwi dessert from Camphor?

It’s currently my favorite dessert in LA, bar none.

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Hi @ipsedixit ,

Thanks for the rec! I haven’t yet. I heard Chef Max was outstanding with desserts previously (in the same spot) at Nightshade. I had 1 or 2 during the grand opening period, but the really hyped ones were afterwards.

I’ll definitely bookmark it and keep it in mind, thanks.

Thanks @chienrouge . Yah the burger price is shocking at first, but it is pretty amazing. (Also, given supply chain issues and wholesale prices rising dramatically for some kitchen / food supplies during COVID-19, it’s not surprising that prices in most places have gone up.)

They usually have a couple beers on tap. Last time it was:

  • Scrimshaw PIlsner - North Coast Brewing (CA)
  • Nosejob IPA - Boomtown Brewing (CA)

Enjoy~

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Thanks. I’m gonna give that spot a chance when I can. I’m old enough to have drank in the coach and horses ! Used to be a curry spot adjacent from the inside. Memories ! But the food and drink looks much improved !

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Ruth Reichl recently mentioned that she had a “really terrific burger” at Horses.

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Update 1:
With how delicious our meals were on our previous visits thanks to Chef-Owners Liz Johnson and Will Aghajanian, and Chefs Brittany Ha and Lee Pallerino, I couldn’t wait to return.

Burrata with Fried Artichoke and Fava Beans:

Just another fantastic, seemingly simple dish that belies its deliciousness and level of execution. The Fava Beans were plump and earthy and vegetal, then you got wonderful bits of Fried Artichoke mixed with Fresh Burrata Cheese, so creamy and cooling. There was some fantastic Extra Virgin Olive Oil used here, so fragrant and light. :heart:

In a thoughtful touch (and to show the level of care), our server asked if we wanted some Bread with the dish. Yes, please! Out comes some piping hot, lightly toasted Bub and Grandma’s Country Bread. The freshly heated / toasted nature made all the difference (and the quality Bread itself of course). Perfect to eat with the creamy Burrata, Fava Beans and sop up the EVOO. :blush:

Hotel Nacional (Champagne Rested Rum, Pineapple, Lime, Apricot, Velvet Falurnum, Bitters):

As excellent as before. Just a refreshing, tropical, easy sipping Cocktail to start the evening.

Insalata Verde:

It is always amazing to see their Insalata Verde. Notice how pristine every single Farmers Market Lettuce leaf is (see above)! :open_mouth: It’s like this every time. It just shows the level of attention and care from Chef Liz Johnson and team.

Ricotta Ravioli with Spinach and Fiore Sardo:

Their new Housemade Pasta is delicious! I always enjoy a great Ravioli dish and here we have creamy Ricotta filling with this incredible Spinach preparation. It’s satisfying, mouth-watering and the plate disappeared in minutes. :blush:

Tagliarini with Asparagus, Basil, and Bottarga:

Another new Housemade Pasta dish for the season. The combination of Asparagus, fragrant Basil and beautifully briny Bottarga combined to make one of the tastiest Pasta dishes we’ve had in a long while. They are making some of our favorite Pasta dishes locally and they aren’t even a Pasta Specialist. Excellent. :heart: (@BradFord @ipsedixit @paranoidgarliclover @A5KOBE @chienrouge and all)

Dark Chocolate Tart with Milk Sorbet:

Pastry Chef Hannah Grubba continues to amaze. Ultra-rich, decadent Dark Chocolate, but it’s not overwhelming. Just a beautiful Cacao wave hits the palate in every bite. The Milk Sorbet is a great pairing to balance out the richness.

7th Visit:

Smoked Salmon Lavash with Cress:

I think this is even more incredible than the first time we tried it. A lovely Smoked Salmon is placed on Housemade Lavash Bread, so light and airy, it pairs well with the Housemade Labneh and the bright, Spring-like Watercress. The result is this confluence of flavors that is just an outstanding bite of textures and flavors combined into a stellar starter! :heart:

Horses Caesar:

Really one of the mainstays and definite “Must Try” dishes when you visit Horses. Chef Liz Johnson’s reimagining of the traditional Caesar Salad is just as good as our previous visits. I love the use of Endive and the Mimolette Cheese. The Toasted Breadcrumbs (instead of giant Croutons) just helps to add the crunchiness without it being cumbersome and it makes sure that every bite of the Horses Caesar has a satisfying crunch. :heart:

Hand Cut Steak Tartare:

Just as perfectly balanced as before! This might be one of my favorite Steak Tartare dishes in the city, easily. :blush:

Veal Sweetbreads with Frisee and Capers:

Crispy, creamy, very approachable for those that aren’t used to Sweetbreads, but also exceedingly satisfying.

Cornish Game Hen with Warm Dandelion Panzanella:

Still spot on, juicy, moist Cornish Game Hen, a nice preparation and huge! Enough for 2 people. :slight_smile:

Butcher’s Steak Grilled Over Vine Cuttings with Celeriac Dauphinois and Watercress:

There’s a wonderful beefiness in this dish still, and my favorite part might be the amazing Celeriac Dauphinois. It’s like Scalloped Potatoes, but elevated, and just satisfying. :heart:

Cheeseburger and Fries:

We took some friends here on this visit, and everyone at the table literally groaned when we each took a bite of Chef Liz Johnson and team’s Cheeseburger! Their house blend of American Wagyu Beef + Short Rib + Sirloin cooked to a perfect medium-rare, is crazy juicy, luscious, and perfectly seasoned! The Poppy Seed Bun and Raw White Onion just balance it out. One of the best Burgers in the city right now and worth every penny. :heart: :heart: :heart:

Pistachio Stracciatella Ice Cream with Mint:

It was inevitable, with the warming Summer months, here we have Pastry Chef Hannah making a new Housemade Ice Cream, Pistachio Stracciatella with Mint! So you got this nutty, chocolatey, minty bite of heaven! Yes! :heart: Do not miss this. (@ipsedixit @BradFord @Sgee @js76wisco and all!)

Sheep’s Milk Cheesecake with Poached Rhubarb:

One of the Horses classics, just an amazing Cheesecake, made with Sheep’s Milk, no less, showing Pastry Chef Hannah Grubba’s excellence. The Poached Rhubarb is such a great pairing. :blush:

Tiramisu:

At a certain point, you have to stop and wonder how this seemingly kick-back restaurant is churning out so many hits. It is nothing short of amazing. We haven’t had one Dessert (or dish) that we didn’t like. Here, we have what might be the greatest Tiramisu being served right now in the City of Angels. The Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder, Marzipan, the creaminess is all there, but then you get that crunch! Chef Hannah’s brilliant move to use Cocoa Nibs Brittle in the center of this. You get this textural surprise and it makes all the difference. :heart:

8th Visit:

Insalata Verde:

(New) Liz’s Long Island:

Ah yes, the Long Island Ice Tea. That “special” Cocktail from your college years that normally seems to be designed to get you as hammered as fast as possible. :stuck_out_tongue: But not so here! Horses Bar Team have created Liz’s Long Island, a homage to Chef Liz Johnson and her favorite variation on this classic Cocktail. Here, there’s fresh Pineapple Juice, and a Housemade Pineapple Gum Syrup to really concentrate the fresh Pineapple Fruit. There are also a few other modifications and the end result is an absolutely delicious, light, summery Tropical Cocktail (instead of the hammer that is the standard Long Island Ice Tea). :slight_smile:

Boudin Basque with Fried Hen’s Egg:

Taking a bite, I understand why this is Chef Liz Johnson’s recommended dish to get at Horses. Breaking into the perfectly Fried Egg (look at the color of that yolk!), the Boudin Blood Sausage is nothing like the usual minerally, iron-y versions found in many places. It’s unctuous, fatty, porky, and so delicious! It’s like a Breakfast Sausage Patty, and the Egg and seared crisp Potato bottom. It is breakfast on a plate. :heart:

Hotel Nacional (Champagne Rested Rum, Pineapple, Lime, Apricot, Velvet Falurnum, Bitters):

Pappardelle with Saffron and Speck:

First, the visuals are just gorgeous. You’re reminded of one of the beautiful aspects that Saffron imparts (color) with this new Pasta dish at Horses. Taking a bite:

Outstanding. So fragrant and herbal in a way that only Saffron can affect. The creaminess, the wonderful, toothsome Handmade Pappardelle, and then the porcine note of Speck running throughout. Just another satisfying comfort dish. :heart:

(New) Pork Chop Milanese with Haricots Vert Remoulade:

This was another wonderful new dish on the menu. Crunchy, deep fried Breaded Pork Chop that was like a Pork Schnitzel reveals a juicy, lush center. I actually loved their OG Grilled Pork Chop more, but this was nice. The Haricots Vert Remoulade was a nice creamy accompaniment to the Milanese.

(New) Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet with Lambrusco:

Another fantastic Dessert to end the evening, Pastry Chef Hannah’s new Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet (no dairy) yields the essence of Summer in a cup. Those Strawberries taste so amazing that you might think they are just Harry’s Berries Organic Gaviota Strawberries ground up. The Rhubarb is a brilliant addition, not only a classic pairing, but here, chilled in Sorbet form, it balances out the sweetness just enough. The Lambrusco poured over the Dessert just adds a fun fizzy element. :heart:

It was a relief and pure joy to see Horses continue to be as consistently great as our previous visits. Over the course of 8+ visits, what the kitchen staff is creating is just this approachable, fantastic, elevated comfort food that is executed on another level. It’s not just a dish with better ingredients. It’s something more.

What Chef-Owners Liz Johnson and Will Aghajanian and team are doing is something to be celebrated. Add in the front of the house management and friendly staff helmed by GM Terence Leavey, and you have this fun, warm, welcoming environment that makes the outstanding dishes even more enjoyable. There’s nothing quite like Horses in L.A.

Horses
7617 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90046

https://www.horsesla.com/

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Good stuff. The fava bean dish with the fried artichokes and burrata looks awesome. The burger too. Boudin too. Cocktails, ice cream, a lot looks awesome. Need to find a grown ups nite to visit here.

I’m a big sweetbreads fan - for whatever reason since i love olives and stuff like that I’m just not a capers fan, or a mayotard/aioli fan. So cliche with sweetbreads, but moreover just a personal preference for me generally too. Since I don’t see sweetbreads on menus much (and they seem to always come in a prep similar to this) I still try to work with the restaurant to tweak the dish for me and usually they do…hopefully they will at horses cuz those look crispy and delicious. Brings me to my question…is this an “Animal” type spot where there are no changes ever or are they accomodating? My partner has dietary restrictions so we are always needing some kind of modifications which can be a pain but lots of spots (ie Connie and Teds) are really nice about it.

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Hi @chienrouge ,

Yah the Fava Bean, Fried Artichokes and Burrata was fantastic. :slight_smile: And Boudin and Burger and other items. :wink:

For modifications? Hm, I’ve never tried to modify anything before at Horses (their dishes are all fantastic as is, truly). I’ll try asking for you the next time I go.

I hope you get to try it soon. :slight_smile:

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Hi @chienrouge ,

We got a reply back from the restaurant, and they said they can modify dishes based on dairy or gluten allergies, but it depends on the dish (some might have certain ingredients inherently part of the core of that dish, so they might not be able to). But it sounds like they are accommodating. :slight_smile: Enjoy!

Hi @Chowseeker1999 very kind thank you. I’ll call them before I book a reservation. Our issue is a GI issue so pepper and chile and too much fat no bueno for my partner. Places I love to eat sweetbreads that are very accommodating to my non allergy needs include musso and franks and of course a bunch of spots in Nola where it’s a more common dish. Commanders, Galatoires, Clancys and many others there don’t bat an eye and want to make the customer happy. Where else are good spots to get sweetbreads in LA and are there any other non capers type preps u know ? I can really get down with a simple meunière butter and lemon kind of sauce too no capers. Even crispy and salted and served with a lemon wedge and or hot sauce. I understand this chef driven mentality of certain spots with no changes such as animal and others but I prefer places that want me and my family to have the experience we want for a modest adjustment in the kitchen and they still make it very tasty ie Connie and teds and frankly most Chinese and Japanese and Korean spots never an issue always happy to make it how we want it.

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Hi @chienrouge ,

Ah I see. Definitely agree about finding restaurants where the kitchen is willing to accommodate adjustments to dishes (no matter the reason). Beyond allergies, I do also see the chef-side where they might’ve had a taste / recipe that they spent a long time developing and wanted to serve you their recipe as is.

Re: Sweetbreads - Hm, I’ll keep an eye out for alternate preps. Like you said, Sweetbreads are not common in So Cal (I don’t see it that often). I’d imagine if you ever did a private dinner with Chef Laurent (Bistro LQ), you could absolutely request certain dishes and note things you want to avoid. Chef Laurent was super nice and accommodating when we arranged a Christmas dinner there last time (a buyout), so we got to influence the menu / make requests. :slight_smile:

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Sweetbread tacos in LA?

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That looks amazing! Thanks for the recipe. :slight_smile:

I think it’s dumb to make diners pick off something they don’t want and put it in a napkin on the table, which is what diners do when the chef declines omissions out of pride. The only reasonable argument I can think of for declining omissions is to simplify logistics.

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LOS ANGELES — I don’t want to be that person who recommends the chicken. Especially not here, at a restaurant you’ll likely wait months or weeks to get into — a bit less, maybe, if you can maintain a healthy working relationship with Resy’s “notify” button.

But all of those people who say you should never get the chicken — because chicken is objectively tedious and unambitious, or generally overpriced and mediocre, or because you can make it so much better at home — probably haven’t had the chicken at Horses.

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Reservations were not that hard to get. Easily obtainable 30 days in advance. We went last month and we found this middling and not worth all the hype/acclaim.

What was good (but not transcendent):




And the avocado crostino with Cantabrian anchovy

What was terrible:


And the fish special…both dishes so woefully over cooked that we declined desert.

What was just okay:





Service was just fine. Cocktails were fine. Wine was fine.

We don’t get the hype and all the press this place has been receiving. For this kind of acclaim, I expect to be a little more than impressed. We all agreed that we wouldn’t need to return.

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