With the ArcLight cinema closed in the center in Rosecrans and Nash in El Segundo, what remains would be grim… were it not for the mini-handful of restaurants. There is the happy The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker. There is a branch of the longtime Chinese favorite, Chin Chin. And what was Jackson’s Food + Drink was born again under the name Nomad Eatery.
As the name suggests somewhat obliquely, Nomad Eatery offers dishes from various parts of the world in an incredibly eclectic menu. (And not the food eaten in the superbly depressing “Nomadland” – a most impressive film that didn’t inspire me to eat canned goods in a refurbished van, turned into a house on wheels.)
The menu includes an explanation of the name… and the cuisine – which could be the start of a whole new branch of cuisine, using a term much more succinct than “eclectic multi-national”. We are told: “What started 30 years ago as a four month trip, culminated in what is today, a menu designed to take you to many cuisines – Mediterranean, Southeast Asian. -East and Latin America – linked by what meander, a somewhat adventurous backpacker – a nomad – would like to eat… ”
The menu also gives us an element of terminology which is new to me. The word is “Pateras” – a Latin word with many meanings, including a small boat, a land snail – and in this case a small round bowl used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as their main vessel. In Nomad’s case, there are eight specific pateras on the menu, although many other dishes (like steamed mussels and scallop ceviche) are served in round bowls.
But if you go to the Pateras section of the menu you’ll find the very essence of nomadic cuisine – everything from a Calabrian chopped Italian salad to sweet and sour pork with pineapple, from green papaya salad to salmon sketches. grilled, chimichurri steak fries with wok-seared prawns with jasmine rice. It’s a round-the-world trip in a bunch of bowls, and the food just warms up.
Indeed, the culinary journey begins with transcontinental cocktails. Many of them stem from the modern saying that your Google search works best if that’s what you mean down your throat. Buddha Rhubarb Negroni is made with a vermouth produced since 1891, called Cocchi di Torino. The Antigua Swizzle includes Avua Cacha Prata, a Brazilian liqueur produced by a team of women. And the gin cocktail called Bramble On is made with both yogurt and blackberries; is it a drink for dinner or something to have for breakfast?
The wine and beer list is in need of some research at the table. What grape is the French Corsican called Nielluccio? And the Braucol de Gaillac in France? Ditto Txakolina from Getaria, Spain, which sounds good Basque. Ditto Sour Monkey from Victory Brewing in Pennsylvania. Pale Ale and IPA, I know. Same as oatmeal stout. But Sour Monkey – not so much. (I’m told it has a salty lemon-lime flavor. Makes it look like it’s worth a bottle. But maybe … just one.)
Nomadic cuisine is cuisine made up mainly of small dishes. There are only three more hearty dishes: the grilled lemon half-chicken (with cucumber-bulgur salad and a Lebanese garlic sauce called toum), the whole crispy branzino with marinated daikon radish and the shellfish soup. with turmeric-curry, saffron broth and toasted ciabatta bread. There are also two pastas – good old-fashioned spaghetti bolognese and a roasted tomato and broccoli pasta.
Otherwise, if you’re a nomad at Nomad, it’s roasted cauliflower and crunchy chickpea hummus, roasted butternut squash and Tuscan kale salad, “Greek” salad and a trio of kebabs.
There is also a burger. It is made with a “secret sauce”. There’s a chocolate soufflé, tiramisu, and coconut rice pudding for dessert. And a Peruvian pisco called “From the heights of Machu Picchu”. Because if you are a nomad, there are some must-see destinations. And the Lost Kingdom is really one of them.
Merrill Shindler is an independent Los Angeles-based food critic. Send an email to [email protected]
- Evaluation: 3 stars
- Address: 2041 avenue Rosecrans, El Segundo
- Information: 310-606-5500; www.nomadsouthbay.com
- Food: Global eclectic
- When: Dinner, every day
- Details: Complete bar; large reservations
- Atmosphere: Jackson’s Food + Drink transforms from one eclectic level to another, in a shopping mall of many restaurants along the vibrant Rosecrans Corporate Strip. Lots of rooms to sit and watch the crowd get used to being outside again.
- Prices: About $ 35 per person
- Suggested dishes: 9 Appetizers ($ 9- $ 16), 8 Pateras (Bowls) ($ 13- $ 19), 3 Skewers ($ 15- $ 19), 4 Mains ($ 12- $ 14), 2 Pasta ($ 13 – $ – $), 3 Specialties ($ 23 – $ 29, 3 sweet finishes ($ 7 – $ 9)
- Credit card: MC, V
- What do the stars mean: 4 (World class! Worth the trip from anywhere!), 3 (Very excellent, if not exceptional. Worth the trip from anywhere in Southern California.), 2 (A great place to go for a meal. Worth the trip from anywhere in the neighborhood.) 1 (If you’re hungry and it’s nearby, but don’t get stuck in traffic.) 0 (Honestly, not worth it. to speak.)