Monday, July 30, 2018

Baroo - Fermentation Delight!

Menu at Baroo

Talk about a fascinating and unusual lunch! Wow! Brit was out of town for the Knitgrrlz b-day  soirĂ©e last Sunday in Malibu, so she offered to treat me to lunch this past Saturday. We were thinking about a few different Thai restaurants, in honor of restaurant critic Jonathan Gold's birthday (RIP), but then Brit suggested Baroo. Here is Gold's review of Baroo in 2015. 
First of all, there's NO SIGN over the door of the restaurant. It's located in a nondescript strip mall on Santa Monica Blvd., at Wilton in East Hollywood, between a 7/11 and a pupusa place. 
Strip Mall Exterior, Baroo. Ghost sign of previous restaurant

The parking lot is deathly. I found a spot on Wilton and walked the broken pavement sidewalks up the block to the restaurant. It was 12 noon and very hot. The restaurant opens at noon. There was a short line outside the door. When I saw Brit drive up, the restaurant staff opened the door and we streamed inside.
Jars of science experiments and other fermenting items
The interior is small and sparse. There is a long, communal table with the menu on the wall above it. There is a counter of sorts near the cash register and another counter with stools next to the tea and water bar and shelf of fermenting food-stuffs. Fermentation, mold, gluten free, vegan and more...that's what it's all about at Baroo. Click on the link above for Gold's review to read more about this. Needless to say, Meat-Eater Ellen thought there wouldn't be anything here for her! I was wrong. Everything we ordered was DELICIOUS.
BimBim Salad
The BimBim Salad consists of assorted grains with oat, quinoa, & bulgur, vegetable crudite with fennel, celery, asparagus, baby radish, and heirloom, toasted pumpkin seeds & sunflower seeds, gochujang + san marzano dressing, herbs coulis, passion fruit powder, baby kale, and Asian pear.
Noorook is made from mixed grains (Job's tears, kamut and farro), roasted koji beet cream, kombu dashi, toasted seeds (sunflower and pumpkin), macadamia nuts, finger lime and rose-pickled onions.
Ragu Style Handmade Pasta
The pasta was perfect. The sauce was divine. I really want to return to try ALL of the other dishes! When we walked into the restaurant we noticed a cameraman. We asked what he was filming. He was expecting Chef Ludo Lefebvre in a few minutes. CNN was filming Ludo at his favorite L.A. places. Ludo came in with his entourage and proceeded to sit at the counter right next to Brit! Watch for this CNN special. You're sure to see the back of Brit's head in many of the shots!
Ellen, CNN Camera Guy, Brit and LUDO
Baroo's Chef Kwang Uh brought many dishes for Ludo to taste. They had multiple conversations while we were eating and talking. SO exciting!
Chef Kwang Uh in Baroo's tiny kitchen
The Community Table at Baroo
I really feel like I was on an international vacation while eating at Baroo. After lunch, Brit and I were lingering in the parking lot, talking. Ludo came out, put on his leather jacket, getting ready to ride off on his Yamaha motorcycle. We spoke briefly to him and asked him where his next stop on his CNN tour of L.A. would be. He said, in his charming French accent, that they were going to "Kaktoos" next, a little shop in Echo Park. Kaktoos? He must have meant The Cactus Store! Ludo said that there is nothing there to eat, but the shop is wonderful with all sorts of interesting things.
Brit caught a quick pic of Ludo riding away into the East Hollywood traffic!
Ludo rides away into the depths of East Hollywood
Thank you, Brit for the wonderful lunch, the fab gifties and arranging to have two famous chefs at our lunch!

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