The Neighborhood American-Brazilian Grilled Meat Eatery - Odys & Penelope (Review + Pics)

I barely remember Hatfield’s, the fine dining option opened by Chef Quinn and Karen Hatfield on Melrose. I made it for one dinner before they shut down, a sign of the changing dining landscape in L.A., where fine dining has given way to a more casual, relaxed type of eatery.

After Sycamore Kitchen (more of a breakfast & pastries type of place), the Hatfields opened up Odys & Penelope, a far more casual type of restaurant compared to their fine dining roots.

Odys & Penelope bills itself as a “casual churrasco and grill” and after 4 visits over the course of the past 2 years, we think the term is somewhat appropriate. On one visit, we started with their…

Fried Wild Mushrooms (Persian Garlic Sauce):

The Mushrooms were slightly crisped and the Persian Garlic Sauce was just the right amount of creamy with good notes of Garlic. The one downside was that it was just a bit too greasy.

Maple Rosemary Glazed Niman Ranch Pork Ribs:

While they bill themselves as being like a modern Brazilian Churrascaria, they only serve 4 items from their wood-burning grill. The vast majority of the menu diverges from what one might expect from a Churrascaria.

Their Niman Ranch Pork Ribs are sweet and sticky, somewhat tender, but not quite fall-off-the-bone. They are tasty, but they are also not quite American BBQ Ribs (if you were in the mood for that), nor are they something that really evokes Brazilian Churrascaria / BBQ. But they work as Odys & Penelope’s own type of cuisine in a way.

Grilled Picanha (Special):

On special for the evening was Chef Hatfield’s take on the classic Brazilian BBQ offering of Picanha (Sirloin Cap). While not overcooked, it tasted more like a standard American Steak than evoking any taste of Brazilian Picanha. :frowning: It was also a bit chewy. :frowning:

Housemade Pappardelle (Pork Belly Bolognese, Fried Sage):

This was the best item on this visit, with a hefty Papardelle, nice al dente quality, and the Pork Belly Bolognese giving this a decidedly different taste compared to the classic Italian version.

On our 3rd visit, I started with a cooling Cocktail…

Cucumber Collins (Vodka, Citrus, Persian Cucumber, Mint, Soda):

This was refreshing and cooling, perfect for the warming days in L.A. It had a nice balance of the Cucumber, Mint and Citrus with just enough Vodka so it didn’t overpower anything.

Brussels Sprout “Fried Rice” (Sunny-Side Organic Egg, Sambal):

This was OK. The Sunny-Side Up Organic Egg was a bit too done (very firm bottom), so it was rather hard to really mix together with the “Fried Rice,” which didn’t have any Wok-Fu in it at all. The flavors came together as its own type of fusion dish, but their Brunch offering (more on this later) was much better.

Grilled Ecuadorian White Prawns (Ginger Chermoula):

These were really nice and smoky (far more than the Picanha we had on the previous visit). Briny, smoky and pretty tasty.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thigh (Lemon Date Sauce):

Another of the offerings from the Churrasco grill, they were fine. The Chicken Thigh was nice and moist, but we didn’t really get the sense that it was “Churrascaria” or that there was any noticeable smokiness.

Grilled Focaccia, Creamy Crab (Pickled Chillis, Avocado):

It’s totally understandable when restaurants offer Crab on the menu and it’s not freshly cooked and deshelled (cost alone would make many dishes too pricey), but on the opposite end, when a restaurant’s Lump Crab Meat (pre-packaged) is just not very fresh or bright, it’s very noticeable.

Such is the case with the Crab Toast at Odys & Penelope. It sounds like a great idea, taking the popular Avocado Toast that Angelenos can’t get enough of, and topping it with Crab. Sadly the pre-packaged Crab used is just mundane and not bright at all. It brings the whole dish down. :frowning:

The highlight was the excellent Housemade Focaccia by Chef Karen Hatfield, whose baking prowess can be seen daily at her nearby Sycamore Kitchen.

Oak Grilled Tri Tip (Broccolini, Roasted Cipollini Onion, O+P Béarnaise):

Meaty, yet tender, the quality of the Beef for the Tri Tip was evident on first bite. There was a real beefiness and a light smokiness for this cut. Really delicious! :blush: And easily the best thing we had on the dinner menu in all our visits.

On our most recent 4th visit, we wanted to try their new Brunch Menu:

House Smoked Ham + Cheese Omelette (Hazelnut-Tomato Romesco, Lemon Herb Salad):

The Omelette was thankfully not overcooked like many places around town, but decently fluffy, and the Hazelnut-Tomato Romesco was a nice touch to make the Omelette standout.

Grilled Focaccia Avocado Toast (House Ricotta, Cherry Tomatoes):

This was a much more successful version of Avocado Toast compared to the dinner version: Housemade Ricotta added a light creaminess, and was great with the ripe Avocados. The only knock was their sourcing for the Cherry Tomatoes. They were mostly tart, lacking the fragrant, happy Summer brightness that the best of California has to offer (during Summer).

However, the rest of the ingredients with Chef Karen Hatfield’s Housemade Focaccia managed to save this dish and make it generally enjoyable. :slight_smile:

Frisee + Smoked Wild Salmon Salad (Fingerling Potatoes, Avocado, Fried Organic Egg):

I really liked the combination of fresh, farmers market Frisee with Avocado and the House Smoked Wild Salmon. The only improvement I’d like to see would be more of the House-Smoked Salmon. It felt very precious (just a few slivers here or there).

Chicken Adobo Fried Rice (Organic Poached Eggs, Radish Salad, Sambal Hollandaise):

Delicious! :slight_smile: Far better than the dinner version, the chunks of Chicken Adobo tasted fresh and were still moist and juicy, and unlike the dinner version, their brunch version comes with Poached Eggs, leading to a silky, creamy Egg Yolk to break apart and mix better into the Fried Rice. The Sambal Hollandaise was just the right amount of spicy and lushness.

Favorite dish on their brunch menu. :blush:

It should be noted for @PorkyBelly @bulavinaka, like Republique’s Fried Rice, it’s definitely not the “breath of the wok”-infused goodness of a great traditional Fried Rice, but it’s not as wet as Republique’s either. :slight_smile:

Odys & Penelope feels like a perfectly serviceable neighborhood eatery, a place we’d be happy to return to on some nights if it was in our neighborhood, but not something we’d drive halfway across the city for. It’s more American than Brazilian Churrascaria, and many of the dishes feel like they’re “fine” but not great or amazing.

Still, if their Oak Grilled Tri Trip is as consistently smoky, beefy and tender as our previous experience, we’d be glad to return for that, and their Chicken Adobo Fried Rice from time-to-time.

Odys & Penelope
127 South La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tel: (323) 939-1033

http://odysandpenelope.com/

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Nice report @Chowseeker1999, sounds like you had mixed experiences. I’m surprised you didn’t try the short rib or karen hatfield’s excellent desserts

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HI @PorkyBelly,

Thanks for the rec on the short rib, will keep it in mind for next time. :slight_smile: I saw it on the menu, but we just never got around to ordering it.

I like Karen Hatfield’s pastries at Sycamore… I think we just didn’t feel like dessert on those 4 visits. Thanks.

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Highly recommend getting dessert. They are the best items on the menu.

Also, forewarning, I had a lackluster brunch. Got the fried apple pie which is an ode to McDonalds, it was average.

The ricotta pancakes were average, but fuck they were tiny. I had to order another breakfast entree.

Not pictured, but the Nduja hash with egg was tasty. Slightly spicy and the potatoes perfectly cooked.

In my mind, O + P is perfect for drinks and dessert at the bar.

I’ll keep some of those items in mind. My brunch cost $60. Even the coffee was baby sized.

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Great report as always, @Chowseeker1999. :slight_smile: Feel much the same as you with hit or miss items on the menu, but find ourselves returning because they are so welcoming, even when you have to bring a toddler to dinner.

Have you tried the creamy cauliflower and millet? It’s like a delicious, comforting porridge - I would seriously consider giving up mashed potatoes forever for this.

Photo from yelp: https://s3-media3.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/mnCzfGr_jqr5QS5N-aMsyA/o.jpg

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Thanks @A5KOBE for the recommendations and warnings. I was looking at that “ode to McDonald’s apple pie”… glad we didn’t order it based on your experience, darn.

I’ll keep the Nduja Hash with Eggs in mind for next time though. :slight_smile: Thanks.

Thanks @Pomsmoms. :slight_smile: Sounds like you’re experience mirrors ours as well.

Wow that creamy cauliflower and millet sounds wonderful! I regret not ordering that on our last visit (we were too full to add anything else at the time :(. But will definitely remember it for next time. :slight_smile:

Ironically, for a place that prides themselves as a grilled meat restaurant, the pappardelle is the best thing on their menu. Simply delicious. Out of my two meals there, I haven’t had anything else that has made me want to return for.

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