photo credit: Jakob Layman
Son of A Gun
The order of your birth dictates a lot. If you’re the oldest, you’re good at bossing around everyone you know. If you’re the youngest, you pretty much always get what you want. And if you’re the middle child, you have plenty of special qualities that nobody seems to notice because you’re the middle child. Just ask Jan Brady. Or Peter. No one remembers Peter.
Son Of A Gun is the middle child of a group of restaurants you know very well if you spend much time eating in LA. Animal is the overachieving oldest, and Jon & Vinny’s is the cooler-than-you’ll-ever-be youngest. Son Of A Gun, though, gets way less attention. Which needs to change, because over the years this seafood place on West 3rd St. has become one of LA’s best, most consistent places to eat.
Of all the siblings, Son Of A Gun has the most personality. Instead of looking like a Swedish sauna or a room someone forgot to decorate, there are buoys and fishing rods on the walls, and maps and pictures of fisherman in the bathrooms - and none of it feels like a demented house on Cape Cod. This is a place you want to hang out in, even if the music is a little loud and the tables are a little too close together.
But the biggest reason you want to be here is because of what’s on your table: fantastic, fresh seafood, a good bottle of wine, and inevitably, the fried chicken sandwich. The menu doesn’t change a lot, apart from a seasonal section involving vegetables - maybe heirloom tomatoes one night, brussels sprouts another - because it doesn’t need to. It’s packed with classics, like the shrimp toast sandwich that’s creamy and tangy and would ideally be three times bigger. And the buttery linguine with clams. And that chicken sandwich and the country ham and hush puppies and the lobster roll. It’s incredible food, with very few surprises. Turns out not all your dinners out need surprises.
You’ll leave every meal at Son Of A Gun feeling the exact same way: happy, tipsy, and very full. It’s about as reliable as LA restaurants get - but Son Of A Gun is anything but boring. Never underestimate the middle child.
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No meal at Son Of A Gun is complete without this extremely weird-looking dish. Raw tuna is draped over a ball of avocado and tortilla chips, on top of spicy leche de tigre sauce that you’ll be shoveling into your mouth long after you finished the tuna.
Admittedly, this is a very tiny lobster roll for $12. But you’re going to order it anyway, because you like to eat things that taste good.
Shrimp Toast Sandwich
Another small appetizer that you absolutely need to order. It’s sweet, and tangy, and extremely fried, and there’s really no need to share it.
Smoked Mahi Dip
This smoked fish dip comes with saltine crackers still in their wrappers and a mountain of thin ribbons of celery on top. That mountain is maybe a little big, but when you make it to the dip underneath, you’re not going to mind.
One of Son Of A Gun’s sleeper dishes, this is a piece of trout, covered in lemony browned butter and crunchy slivers of almonds, and served with rice. Sounds kind of boring when compared to the rest of the menu. Does not taste like it.
Fried Chicken Sandwich
A legend for a reason. Just look at it.
Broadbent’s Country Ham
Why would you order a plate of ham and hush puppies at a seafood restaurant? Because the ham is basically prosciutto, the hush puppies are salty and sweet, and you’ll want to put the honey butter in a container and carry it around in your bag for eternity.
With that name, we’re going to expect a lot. Especially when it’s on the dessert menu. But it delivers. This is chocolate and hazelnut ice cream between brioche bread, with some salted caramel in there for good measure. Do as the staff instruct you and use a fork like a giant toothpick to keep the thing together while you spoon off perfect bite after perfect bite.