Friday, January 7, 2011


Highland & Melrose is the last place I'd think of in a conversation about street food. Susan Feniger's Street makes you reconsider.

You can tell right from the moment you walk into the restaurant that Street is full of soul. With friendly servers and intimate seating options, Street was one of the first to elevate street food from cart to kitchen at affordable prices. The walls are painted with what I like to call "stick figures with some meat on them."

The outdoor patio is covered with canvas umbrellas that fill the area with a comforting orange light, which made for a great, ambient setting, but also made for a disgustingly off-white batch of photos. Sorry about that. In any case, the restaurant is cozy and unpretentious, with waitstaff to match.

The insatiable baker and I decided to meet up with some friends for lunch. Our friends arrived an hour late due to that crazy LA rain from a few weeks ago. The upside of all this was that while we were waiting, we got to chit-chat with Susan Feniger herself. She gave us a slew of friendly suggestions, and once our friends arrived, we attempted to get as many of those suggestions as possible.

Every meal starts with what looks like mutated popcorn balls.

These Millet Treats are sweet from the marshmallow binding and bits of raisin and savory from the generous cumin seasoning. Addictive. Before the food, we ordered some cocktails.

The drinks are all great, but tend to be on the sweeter side, if you're into that kind of drink.

First up to bat was the famous Kaya Toast. The toast was perfectly crisp and the coconut jam was thick and overflowing.

The accompanying fried egg was slathered in soy sauce. With the right amount of yolk and soy sauce, the sweetness of the jam balanced really well with the salty soy sauce and the gooey yolk. The small pile of arugula added a faint bitterness to the dish that was nice, but not essential. Though this was a sweeter rendition of what you would find on the streets of Singapore or Malaysia, this dish owned up to that departure and made for a great dish in its own right. No wonder this dish is a signature. We ordered more of these later.

The Sashimi was surprisingly delicious. I'm always a bit wary when it comes to tainted slices of sashimi, but this crudo took on a great yuzu citrus flavor that was balanced out with a tame sesame aioli and wasabi sprouts. Refreshing and clean.

The New Jerusalem Bread Salad was also great, but was a little bit over-dressed. What made this salad was the cumin-flavored bread. Other than that, the salad featured typical mediterranean flavors.

The Spinach Varenyky and the Tatsutage Fried Chicken were both good, but I probably could have done with just one of these dishes because they were both a little bit heavy on the breaded-ness. Go with the varenyky if you want something fried to balance out those greens. The delicious, creamy, cheesy spinach filling goes great with the accompanying sour cream. These brought me right back to the dumplings I had in Poland and Russia, but, dare I say, better.

The fried chicken was a little bit confused with an unnecessary side of soba, but I liked the way the pickled side slaw worked with the fried chicken.

I loved the Sauteed Brussel Sprouts. Thinly sliced to mimic sliced cabbage, the brussel sprouts are tossed with addictive hazelnuts and apples, and topped with goat cheese. I love it when chefs recognize how strong goat cheese is and scale back on how much goat cheese they incorporate into a dish. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love goat cheese, but I hate it when it overpowers everything else. This side had just the right amount of good-sized goat cheese chunks to really bring out the sweetness of the apples, the toasted nuttiness of the hazelnuts, and the slight bitterness of the caramelized brussel sprouts.

The last dish was just as addictive. Though this dish is usually served with clams, we had the opportunity to have a great bowl of Malaysian Black Pepper Mussels. I love curry broth mussel dishes, and I've had a lot of curry broth mussel dishes, but this one was crazy delicious. The proof was in the hints of oyster sauce. The broth isn't labeled a curry broth, and rightfully so. Though similar to a green or yellow curry, this broth took on a much more distinct oceanic flavor that makes the mussels feel right at home. The lime and soy were also just right, adding a good amount of salty citrus. The bowl comes with a couple slices of bread, but be prepared to ask for some more bread to soak up that broth.

Overall, Street was a great experience. The restaurant share the flavors of international street food with a unique, Feniger kick. Her take on these different street foods may not be exactly how you remember them when you had them in whatever country of origin, but when's the last time you thought of Susan Feniger as literal?

742 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 203-0500

GET: Kaya Toast; Sauteed Brussel Sprouts; Malaysian Black Pepper Mussels.


  1. This looks great. I bought an OpenTable certificate here, so must go soon. Too bad it looks like Matt can eat...nothing.

  2. Yea, seriously. Matt might have a little trouble here...let me know what you end up getting and how it was.


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