Grain bowls have either been a boon or a bane to L.A.’s food scene, depending on the perspective. Of course, not all grain bowls are created equal. Restaurants like SQIRL have turned grain bowls into an art form, while opportunistic chains settle for dry white rice piled with bland, underseasoned roasted vegetables. At Woodley Proper in Encino, Phillip Frankland Lee and wife Margarita Kallas-Lee serve a grain bowl near the top end of the spectrum.
During a dineL.A. dinner before a close-up magic show in back of Woodley Proper at Sushi|Bar, I enjoyed the couple’s crave-worthy Crispy Rice ($12). Crunchy clumps of rice – think broken tahdig – joined meaty roasted (and properly seasoned) maitake mushrooms, two medium-cooked eggs with gooey yolks, thin-shaved scallions, and a shower of black pepper. This dish didn’t match some of the tricks I witnessed at Magic|Bar, but certainly required a deft touch.