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Restaurant Review: fundamental LA


By Coleton Schmitto

October 24, 2011, 12:20 am

There are certain essential ingredients to starting a great restaurant, and the people at fundamental LA have nailed them.

Tucked inconspicuously into the corner of Westwood Boulevard and Wellworth Avenue, fundamental LA gives the customer everything that truly matters: food to die for and a fun social atmosphere.

The reason for the restaurant’s name becomes obvious when a guest first walks inside. The interior design of the restaurant consists solely of chic wooden tables and benches, along with a bar fashioned in a similar style.

The lighting fixtures are bulbs connected to wires draped across the ceiling and give off a simplistic modern appeal. The music of Kanye West and Talib Kweli lingers in the background.

Although the space is tight, it certainly isn’t cramped. The room is just cozy enough to promote healthy conversation, where customers can chat with one another or with the friendly staff.

Water is self-served, so there is no need to worry about forgetful waiters who may neglect refills.

The cooks, rocking novelty trucker hats, prepare the food from behind the bar and show off their ability to cook delicious food of all styles.

The restaurant’s specialty is sandwiches, a familiar comfort food that comes in many varieties. However, fundamental LA puts a twist on its sandwiches to create new flavor fusions, such as sweet pickled jalapenos, that are difficult to forget. It also serves salads and less expensive appetizers called “bites,” which include oven-baked kale chips and fresh shucked oyster.

One of the most popular sandwiches it serves is chicken torta. One may be tempted to compare the smaller portion size to the $9 cost of the meal. However, the blend of chunky cotija cheese, sweet pickled jalapenos, tomatillo salsa and tender spicy chicken creates a powerful harmony of flavors that will leave a customer feeling thoroughly satisfied rather than bloated.

One dessert specialty is the churro with butterscotch. At first glance, the plate looks like three little sausages, unlike the common churro one may buy at a sports game or a theme park. The butterscotch sauce is thick, creamy and great for anyone with an intense sweet tooth. Fundamental LA has mastered the consistency of its churros, providing the perfect degree of crunch and warm gooey dough in every bite.

Although the menu features several Mexican-inspired dishes, fundamental LA has a variety of selections, such as a pulled pork sandwich with Sriracha barbeque sauce and an apple jalapeno slaw, or a veal breast sandwich with kale and orange mustard.

Additionally, fundamental LA keeps its menu interesting by premiering new items that come in and out of season. It also has a wide selection of craft beers and wines for those who enjoy a little extra kick with their meal.

Although it may take 20 minutes to walk there from campus, fundamental LA could be the simple savory light at the end of the tunnel.

It is well worth the time of someone who cares more about food quality than aesthetic luxury.

Email Schmitto at [email protected]

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Coleton Schmitto
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