Erven is one of those double-storefront eateries that feels all inviting and glowy from the outside, especially on a rainy winter night, and that feeling extends long after you’ve entered. The place is named for its chef, Nick Erven, who captured our attention a couple of years back at Saint Martha in Koreatown, where he worked in an open kitchen, and served modernist dishes such as seaweed “doritos” with sea urchin tataki and avocado mousse.
At Erven, you'd be wise to order the chickpea fritters, turned inky thanks to the addition of activated charcoal and black garlic. The severely square snacks possess a subtle roasty sweetness, which is offset by the zing of yuzu. Many of Erven’s best dishes rely on this kind of acidity, which seems to come from left field in the best possible way. Soft tofu comes in a bowl under a flurry of almost-charred Brussels sprout leaves — a nice textural juxtaposition — but the real thrill comes from the puckery one-two punch of pickled garlic ponzu and lime-cured onion. Read the full L.A. Weekly review here.