Sometimes it takes visiting a new place to discover a, well, still relatively new place, but not as new as the newer new place. Um, yeah. Anyway, I “discovered” The Wallace when I went to check out Hanjip, a new Korean BBQ restaurant in Culver City–yes, I’m behind on my post for my visits there too.
The Wallace, which is right next door on Main Street right at the epicenter of a lot of great food in Culver City, opened at the end of 2014. Currently helmed by chef Joel David Miller, The Wallace started off as a Cal-Ital kind of place but nowadays serves small plates that pull influences from a variety of cuisines. Before checking out a movie at the Arclight Culver City, my wife and I tried a couple of those plates and walked out impressed!
First, I decided to try a cocktail by Greg Bryson, the Poison Ivy. I had been talking to a friend about gin recently and she mentioned liking The Botanist, which this drink uses. I have to say I liked it quite a bit! Since this was a cocktail, rather than a straight G&T, I probably couldn’t parse out what specifically was The Botanist and what were some of the other ingredients, including tarragon and mizuna oil, but the entire combination was fragrant, peppery, and quite unique!
My wife ordered two plates for herself, though I did sample. The Wild Mushroom Toast was a rather hearty and meaty dish for being vegetarian. The Lamb Leg was served more like a loin, medium rare and sliced into medallions. My wife enjoyed both dishes very much, as did I, the little I got to try.
I ordered the Cured Pigs Head and the Grilled Octopus. The former was more like a rillettes than like headcheese. It was delicious but was kind of begging to be served with some toast to spread the tender meat. Octopus is de rigueur nowadays in restaurants, which I’m quite happy about, as I will almost always order them. It was great here paired with the fried yuca.
It’s clear The Wallace is not trying to reinvent the wheel–the lamb is definitely inspired by Mediterranean or Middle Eastern flavors, the octopus is made with Latin American ingredients, though with an Indian twist with the vadouvan. The important thing is execution and taste, and The Wallace has both down, based on the four dishes we had. Looking forward to another meal there soon!