If you approach Colorado Boulevard just right, on the blocks west of Eagle Rock Boulevard, you will be hit with the smell of wood smoke, a formidable, fragrant blast drifting from the peaked-roof dining room that until recently was a branch of the Jim’s hamburger chain. The Oinkster is the newest child of André Guerrero — chef of Max and Señor Fred and a lot of long-gone places that you’d recognize if you’ve been following the Los Angeles restaurant scene for a while — and it appears to be his stab at fame and fortune in the franchisable-fast-food division. Where Leonard “Zeke’s” Schwartz threw his hard-won reputation behind barbecue and Wolfgang Puck behind pizza, Guerrero places his behind pork. He apprenticed himself to the masters at Langer’s, and now he cures and smokes his own pastrami. There are intensely smoky Carolina-style pulled-pork sandwiches on hamburger buns, caesar-esque salads with chicken, garlic mayonnaise and homemade catsup, Angus-beef burgers, and rotisserie chickens when they haven’t run out of them. (Zankou is just a few blocks away — I’d imagine rotisserie chicken is a hard sell in this part of town.) The Belgian fries turn out better if you ask for them well-done than if you leave the matter to chance. Things take forever to come out of the kitchen — you could probably drive through Tommy’s nine times in the time it takes Oinkster’s kitchen to turn out a Chinese chicken salad and a slice of banana-cream pie. And while Guerrero’s not especially close to the Langer’s standard in the restaurant’s first weeks, the aspiration is noble. 2005 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, (323) 255-OINK.—Jonathan Gold
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