The Local Peasant

14058 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
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Almost everything else about this Valley gastropub was a pleasant surprise. I wasn't expecting much from the food, not when the menu boasts items like fried cheese balls with cheese sauce, or salmon with jalapeño mashed potatoes and mushroom chardonnay lobster sauce. I opted for crispy pork belly with pickled watermelon, and a voluptuous salad of beets, heirloom tomatoes and burrata. Both dishes sounded like clichés of one sort or another, yet both avoided tasting clichéd: the pork belly truly crispy, with enough acid from the pickle to stand up to the fat; the salad, generous piles of beets and tomato draped in milky cheese. —Besha Rodell

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