I really like A Frame. Much of the food is super tasty. It’s a place you can just hang at for a few hours, have a few drinks, order some food to start and then order some more later. And the ice cream sandwich of a cinnamon cookie with cherry ice cream is awesome—I dream about it more than I dream about it’s its, which is a pretty big deal.
But I have two complaints about A Frame.
First, some of the dishes are overly salty: the ribs have a nice kick to them, but they are too salty. The chicken salad with corn bread is addictive but again too salty. The clam chowder with all those flavors and herbs is great but same thing. There are 1 or 2 other dishes that are also flavorful but…well you understand. I’m not some anti salt guy. I’ve never complained publicly about other restaurants being too salty but I guess I want these dishes to each be great, instead of too many too saltified…
Okay, complaint number 2: The burger on their new spring menu is really good. I really like it. But as someone who lives and works in South LA/South Central, I was bothered by the way the waiter described the burger. The waiter was a white guy and he kept describing the burger in the following way: “It’s like a Dr. Dre South Central Burger.” My guess is this guy has never been here to have a burger from any of the real spots—master burger, best burger, A1 burger, etc. He came across as some hipster trying to capture what he thinks the hood’s burgers probably taste like. The problem was it wasn’t just this one waiter. I heard another say the same thing. Two of them doing this convinced me that this is how the restaurant is trying to sell/promote their new burger. If the waiter was black or latino, or if Roy Choi himself (who clearly has studied food across the world and across different LA neighborhoods—did you read his quotes in the recent la times article? Pretty heavy) were to describe the burger that way, I’m cool with that, but I hope A Frame will instruct their white, hipster waiters to refrain from those kind of coded race based references. Tell people it’s not your father’s office or umami burger—it’s a greasy, spicy, tasty thing that soaks through the bun in a way that some people will be annoyed by and while others will slurp up. But don’t let your hipster waiters make it sound like they’ve kicked it in Dr. Dre’s favorite burger joint. It makes it more of a caricature than a genuine reference to a food’s roots.
Just to reiterate, I really dig the food—the burger, the chicken, the lamb chops, all the appetizer type things—including the snack mix with beef jerky which I hope makes it back on to the menu at some point. Tasty. Just these two complaints.