Someone just pulled out the absinthe. You’re at your friend’s co-workers dinner party and all of a sudden, a night where you showed up with a plate of sliced cheddar and a hard 9:30pm out looks significantly different.
Sitting down at Freedman’s in Silver Lake, you’ll experience a similar moment. No, it won’t be while ingesting hallucinogens and conversing with a stranger about jurassic technology. It happens when the water hits the table. Arriving not in a pitcher or a carafe, but in a giant green glass fish that appears to be singing competitive opera. This is your first sign that Freedman’s is weird and wonderful, and the quicker you see that, the quicker you realize that fish is simply telling you to get ready.
At its heart, Freedman’s is an all-day comfort food joint. You’ll spot things like a reuben and matzo ball soup and latkes, and you might think you’re in a Jewish deli. But then you’ll see the rest of the menu filled with things like popovers with trout roe, yellowtail sashimi, and spring rolls, and you don’t know what to think. So don’t overthink it - just order what sounds good and know that most things here are tremendous and just slightly different than anything you’ve had before.
Your first order of business is the reuben. Stacked with corned beef and slathered with enough Russian dressing to cure all emotional ailments for a year, this thing is so good, you don’t care if you’re housing it in front of a first date. One thing that might not initially catch your eye is the assorted fish plate, but it should. With salmon, white fish, egg salad, and a bagel, this is essentially a build-your-own-lox station and it’s our favorite thing on the menu. And as for that potato latke you’re eying, it actually comes to the table in waffle-form, draped in a salmon train that gives the royal wedding dress a run for its money. Whether you pretend to be Meghan Markle while you brush your hair at night or not, you definitely want this.
Freedman’s eccentricity doesn’t just show up in the food - it’s all over the place. The warm interior looks like a diner owned by someone with an Academy Award in wallpapering, but the bathroom feels like you’re at a martini club in Boca. There’s a dark-wood-covered bar area, all the waiters have tattoos, and the crowd is a mix of Jewish grandparents and young Silver Lake people all looking for ways to get through the week.
Freedman’s is unique because it doesn’t fit into any single category. But it’s so genuine that it also feels completely universal. In the words of the great water fish: Get ready.
In a city with no shortage of great reuben sandwiches, this baby deserves to be on the short list. It’s big and sloppy and your shirt will certainly spend the night in the sink, but you don’t care. It tastes great, and you hated that shirt anyways.
Winning no awards in the sexy menu item name game, you’re probably going to skip over this at first. Please don’t. The fish itself is incredibly fresh and the egg salad and bagel on the side are fantastic. If you don’t feel comfortable eating a bagel entree at 8pm, we have nothing in common.
Arriving to the table in the same clear pot your mom’s used since the ’80s, this isn’t the best matzo ball soup you’ll ever have in your life, but it’s still worth ordering, especially if you’re feeling even remotely sick. Mini matzo balls are the new gigantic matzo balls.
If you come in for lunch looking for the assorted fish plate, we have bad news - you won’t find it. But the lunch version is essentially the ingredients of the fish plate stacked on top of each other. The nasturtium seasoning gives it a nice kick.
Safe to say this is probably unlike any latke you’ve had in your life. It’s pressed into waffle form, and the salmon draped around it like a wedding dress train is also great. Order this and be your own princess.
Inch-thick bread covered in caviar and topped with an extremely aggressive slap of butter. This is pure therapy and you need it.