Saigon Duck Curry Meatball Sandwich at D’Elish Sandwich Shop, Downtown Los Angeles
Cross the oh-so-trendy Viet bahn-mi with the incredibly unhip East Coast meatball sub, and what have you got? Something impressively original and more than that, sublimely satisfying. Whole duck meat ground and mixed with egg and breading, then poached in pho broth a la matzoh balls, and piled on a crusty-soft grinder with peppers, pickles, micro basil-mint, carrots and shallots, the combination of flavors and textures actually more delicate and integrated than you'd expect. Served with a delicate coconut-lemongrass-curry dip.
Fred Eric, one of LA's pioneers of small plates and creative comfort food, makes other risky combinations here, some more successful than others, but admirable nonetheless. I'm not a huge fan of the name of this place nor its adjoining Tiara Cafe--but then I've never liked the names of Fred Eric's places, going back to Vida. In a way, it forces you to appreciate the food more. True torture weapons for the underfed FIDM students trawling the block.