I’ve been eagerly awaiting a meal at Sunny Spot for over a month now (i was in PA, and working hard before that). I’d never eaten at a Roy Choi establishment before, but my roommate had gone to the Kogi BBQ Truck and loved it. Upon walking through the doors of Sunny Spot I knew I was going to have a great meal and a great time. My friend Adam came with me and he took most of the lovely photos you see below. We were greeted by Sam the general manager who showed us the place, and it’s quite amazing. It just feels comfortable; there’s the bar section you walk into, and even an enclosed patio dining area, and when you go left there’s a more private dining area with a kitchen view and the VIP “birdcage” table that’s quite private if you’re planning on a special occasion. We sat at the bar and were greeted by the bartender, we started out with drinks, because I’d heard good things about their cocktails. And that’s where the experience began. . .
Sunny Old – Fashioned
It has an incredible smokey flavor that permeates your palette and it’s followed by a delicate honey sweetness and finished with an acknowledgement of allspice. It’s garnished with an olive and orange rind. The smokey flavor really sticks in your mind and will marry well with any of the heartier dishes on the menu.
The West fall was my favorite of the drinks, but almost anything with tequila and lime will satisfy me. I tasted a similar smoke to the Old – Fashioned in this drink provided by the mezcal and it was followed by the cleanness of a blanco tequila. It’s like a margarita you’ve always wanted to have, but have been jipped out of by the bottled margarita mixes most restaurants serve. Something about it reminds of chipotles in adobo sauce and makes my mouth water!
The flavors in the Chilcano Bay are discernible in a great way; upon sipping it I was greeted by the light grape brandy pisco, then the lime and it finishes with a gingery lemongrass flavor. It’s a little foofooey for most men, I’m sure, but I would drink myself under the table with these. The ginger makes it, and gives it a really bright finish.
Looks are deceiving with this one, it smells like a strawberry margarita, it has a flavor that’s both lightly spicy and sweet, and the strong finish of a good rum. I’m not a rum drinker, but the rum isn’t pronounced in the forefront, it’s a player, and this team can play up and down my taste-buds. It has absinthe, but the licorice flavor isn’t too strong, and it also has habanero pineapple shrub, which I’d never tasted before, and I’m still not sure what it itself tastes like, but this drink was amazing!
The pineapple is extremely fresh, perfectly ripe and the chili salt makes a contrast that forms a flavor explosion in your mouth. The chili powder itself is rather mild and subtle, but visually it makes the pineapple sparkle with a red glisten and just adds levels of depth to your assumptions of what it should taste like. When you actually bite it, you’re expecting something smokey, spicy, but no, it is sweet and salty. Period. It is two bold flavors that are followed by a subtle player, creating a tongue cacophony! I’ve never had pineapple this ripe before.
What a Jerk Wings
I’ve never been to Jamaica but I’ve had jerk wings in the Caribbean and the southeast before, and these are incredibly evocative of the flavors i remember. They have the most amazing crunch I’ve ever experienced in a wing. They’re double fried, but the meat is still perfectly tender inside, the seasonings have citrus, allspice, nutmeg, and the most amazing borderline burnt flavor. You know that flavor when caramelization borders on madness, and right at that moment flavor is at it’s fullest. Under the wings is some kind of sauce that you only realize as you’re getting towards the bottom, then you start mopping the wings in the sauce and be sure to squeeze the lime on these. They’re the best fried wings I’ve ever had, sorry, but there was a batch of grilled wings that won my heart, and I can never betray my love of grilled wings, BUT as far as any other medium of wing cooking, these are my favorite.
Made with Amoroso rolls.(CLICK THAT LINK TO SEE THE BREAD OF THE GODS!) My favorite bread in existence. The pork in this Cuban torta is made of pigs feet and pork shoulder that’s slowly braised until it falls apart, then the meat is harvested and the bones disposed of before it’s re-congealed in its own fat making it a pork terrine! The pork terrine melts in your mouth, followed by the provolone that melts instantaneously, the prosciutto plays with your taste buds making you wonder (what is that salty cured flavor?) While the pickled jalapenos begin the fade that is finished off with a sweet tart mustard. Screw tortas, this is one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten, and i pride myself on sandwich snobbery. They even butter the Amoroso roll! It feels like an incredible slow cooked pork stew was somehow ladled onto bread and transformed into a sandwich.
Slow Roasted G.O.A.T.
This dish is marinated then Sous-vide for 18 hours, until you have the most incredible goat you’re like to find in LA. The pickled mango and crunchy lettuce make this a balanced dish with the hearty goat. The lettuce keeps it light and crunchy, and the mango adds a tart sweetness that counters the peppery fire of the goat. The goat itself is mesmerizing, it’s more tender than any osso bucco you’re likely to find, more flavorful than any lamb shank, but most importantly it’s not gamey. When you combine it with the tart sweetness of the mango, a flavor you’ve never encountered envelops your senses. This was a dish that is hard to describe due to the amount of flavors present. It’s not that you can’t describe it, it would be a disservice to the dish to even try.
Sweet and Salty Fried Plantains
The Silver Goblet
I will start by saying, I hate coconut. BUT, this is amazing. It’s coconut milk, lime, and some other flavors, and while it’s amazing on it’s own, Sam recommended getting it with the Sweet and Salty Fried Plantains from the appetizers menu, and this transformed into a play of hot and cold, and salty and sweet. The plantains are glazed and have rosemary in them; this creates a marriage that will not be broken by death between these two menu items. The rosemary with the coconut opened my eyes to a flavor I’d never had before, with such amazing opposing textures and temperatures. This was my first experience with plantains and it has been a great one.
We Be Yammin
This was my favorite of the deserts because it’s like several dishes in one. When you bite into the yam tart, made with a walnut crust you’re reminded of a delicious sweet potato pie. While sweet potato pies are usually made with a graham cracker crust and pecan topping, this reversed the order and went with a walnut crust and a powdered sugar topping. Then when you bring in the final ingredient, the toasted marshmallow ice cream, it becomes another dish. It becomes a sweet potato casserole, but in dessert form. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced the “comfort food epiphany”, when you take a bite of something and it transports you to another time and place, but that’s what this dish does, I was taken to several holiday dinner tables throughout my lifetime by this dessert!
Be careful its a trap. These are what they are, caramels with sea salt and cashews. The sea salt balances the sweetness and the cashews add a convincing crunch. But why is it a trap? Because you want to eat these caramels whole, but if you do you’ll be chewing for a good ten minutes. It is an amazing balance of salty and sweet though, and an amazing flavor!
I’ve eaten some incredible food in Los Angeles, but Sunny Spot is in my top 3. It was the perfect meal of the time, as I’d been craving some tropical flavors! I called it a double sided napkin meal, because you’re going to be cleaning your fingers, hands, face, and probably shirt.(I somehow escaped with my shirt in tact though!) Have you eaten at Sunny Spot? Be sure to share your thoughts!