Do you believe in ghosts?
The Monster heads to Batch and feels the presence of one. It is the ghost of Wilson, some strange Wilson/Mexican restaurant hybrid and Sublime Food Kitchen…all formerly occupied this fine looking indoor outdoor space and quickly thereafter shuttered. Will Batch be able to excise these demons and flourish?
The menu is divvied up into “Batch for the Table” which includes roasted bone marrow, radish herb salad and ginger salt or salt and pepper chicken wings with sriracha as examples. Then there are “Small Batch” from which you may order a whole grain salad with roasted chicken, rocket, cherry tomatoes, nuts, balsamic vinaigrette or butter lettuce salad with roasted tomatoes, onion, crumbled egg, bleu cheese dressing. The “Big Batch” are entrees like braised short ribs with jasmine rice and gremolata and lamb meatballs with mint-scented pasta, rocket, pecorino to name a few.
The Monster decides on the curry cauliflower hummus with pesto to start. As opposed to pita the dish is accompanied by (dry) pumpernickel bread. Good flavor components that’s even a touch spicy but you need a glass of water between bites less you feel like your throat is the Sahara. The pumpernickel bread is a nice stab at creativity that doesn’t quite work. There’s a little bit of hummus left and we’re waiting on some biscuits to eat it with and every single person who works at Batch tries to take it away. The only person who hasn’t tried is the chef. Surely he’ll be next.
As for mains, the scallops with fingerling succotash and hazelnut brown butter is call number one while the salmon with buttered lentils, cress and lemon nage is choice number two.
For the price, the portion sizes are Lilliputian. $26 for three scallops, two potatoes and some beans. Really? $25 for a small piece of salmon and a spoonful of lentils? It’s almost immaterial to talk about the food’s taste (the scallops prove decent though heavy handed with the salt, the salmon insufferably dry and tasteless) when you feel like you’ve been asked to bend over and grab your ankles.
While service is accommodating enough and the outdoor patio is still a fine place to be on warm nights, small portion size/high price/middling food do little to convince The Monster that another ghost may not soon be haunting this space.
Why go? Who you gonna call?
Monster rating: 2½/5 Monsters
8631 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232