Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4), we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.

73: Wood-Roasted English Peas at Tar & Roses.

Andrew Kirchner's Santa Monica restaurant excels at small bites — which is saying a lot during time in which most new restaurants have a section called “small bites.” Tar & Roses also excels at smoky wood-fired cooking, which you could probably discern from the menu's description of what variety of wood the oven is burning that day.

The best dishes, of course, occur at the point at which the two characteristics meet. Balsamic-glazed ribs sticky with chili and garlic. Chicken “oysters” — moist sections cut from the thigh — basted with tamarind paste. At any point during the year there are at least three dishes with the prefix “wood-roasted” on the menu. From late spring to the last days of June, the dish in high style was a wooden bowl of roasted English peas, the tiniest bit of brown char marking their stringy tips, tossed with olive, rough sea salt, and a bit of chopped mint. It was a messier than the edamame you'd find at the yakitori restaurant down the street, but the fragrance of smoke and mint that enveloped your senses when you popped the earthy-sweet peas from their pods was enough to inspire fits.

English pea season is now over, unfortunately. You'll have to make due with something like the roasted corn with goat cheese, lime and Basque peppers, which isn't the worst fate in the world. And besides, if Kirchner was the kind of chef who deemed it kosher to serve an out-of-season vegetable, Tar & Roses would probably be a much less exciting place.

Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.

100: Lukshon's Dan Dan Noodles

99: Cemita de Milanesa at Cemitas Poblanos Elviritas #1

98: Chichen Itza's Cochinita Pibil

97: Tsukemen at Tsujita L.A.

96: La Cevicheria's Bloody Clam Ceviche

95: Duck Shawarma at Momed

94: Peruvian Chicken at Pollo a la Brasa

93: Squash Blossom Quesadilla at Antojitos Carmen

92: Thai Boat Noodles at Pa-Ord

91: Baco Mercat's Bazole

90: Furikake Kettle Corn at A-Frame

89: Live Santa Barbara Spot Prawns at Providence

88: Fried Pig Tails at Night + Market

87: Egg Salad Sandwich at Euro Pane

86: Galbi Jjim at Soban

85: Truffle Honey-Laced Fried Chicken at Manhattan Beach Post

84: Mool Naeng Myun at Yu Chic Naeng Myun

83: Chicken Vampiro at Mexicali Taco & Co

82: Sooo Cali Dog at Dog Haus

81: White Anchovy, Tomato and Fresno Chile Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza

80: Shu Mai at Elite Restaurant

79: Tandoori Chicken at Al-Watan

78: Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding at The Hungry Cat

77: Agedashi Tofu at Izakaya Bincho

76: Pork Chop at Salt's Cure

75: Porcetto at Sotto

74: The Sea Urchin Tostada at La Guerrerense

Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Reach the author at gsnyder@laweekly.com or follow him on Twitter at @searchanddevour.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.

LA Weekly