Sammy’s Cookout Every Thursday at Pruex & Proper

Preux & Proper located on Spring Street in a unique DTLA spot at the end of LA’s Art District and at the beginning of the Fashion District, between 8th and 9th, and is known for offering NOLA inspired dining in a beautiful and cozy atmosphere reminiscent of a space you’d find in the Frech Quarter. Preux and Proper’s already impressive menu is expanding into a slightly new direction by offering something particularly inspired and delicious. Every Thursday Preux & Proper will feature Sammy’s Cookout that will be taking an elevated approach home-style cooking in wondrous eye-popping ways. “Sammy’s Cookout” will be offered every Thursday from 4 pm to 10 pm for your dining pleasure.

Our preview of Sammy’s Cookout orchestrated by Executive chef Sammy Monsour started with a variety of cocktails to wet the whistle and soothe the soul with libations like the Alabama Slammer and the Texas Two-Timer. Before the dinner was served I settled at the bar in the upper room but not before I ran into Joshua Kopel who was handling a sizzling pan of Marie’s Mac & Cheese. It was apparent he already engaged in the spirit of the evening’s festivities. After our brief conversation, I settled at the center of the bar. It’s a nice long bar with a comfortable view of the whole upstairs area. There’s plenty of dining space that overlooks both Spring and Main Streets from the top. Due to Preux & Proper architecture, it’s easy to walk from side to side to view either street at your leisure and looking south you can see both streets merge into the Los Angeles cityscape. The waite staff was fun and friendly as I slid in to sip on two Alabama Slammers. These concoctions were marvelous and have a considerable punch to them.

As the upstairs had filled with foodie influencers and journalists, we were all encouraged to find a place for the feast that laid before us. I had joined Elise  Thompson and Bob Lee for a bit of chitchat at the bar before we settled but it so happened someone had taken a key seat where we couldn’t dine together at a table. So I was flying solo. After I settled I noticed somethings were already laid out on the table when I returned to my spot.

The watermelon and cucumber salad, the Spam fries with spicy pineapple ketchup and Ritz crackers with pepper jelly and pimento cheese spread were waiting there for the taking. All beckoning to us in their colorful splendor. The watermelon cucumber salad was fresh and intoxicating with their light crispy textures. Both major elements (watermelon and cucumber) mingled in with the Thai basil, mint, cilantro, macadamia-coconut crumbles, California extra virgin olive oil, lime & smoked sea salt with ecstatic results. The watermelon didn’t dominate and the other elements made it a fresh and lively surprise. It was delicious guilt-free moment in eating. I was most curious about the spam fries because I’m not a big spam fan. I found that they had the consistency of potato fries and the sweet dipping sauce was very complimentary. They were kind of addictive when mixing them with the spicy pineapple ketchup given their light crunchy exterior and soft spammy interior. The Ritz crackers with pepper jam and pimento cheese were snacky madness at it’s best.

The next course, we were presented with the Cast Iron Cornbread (Kentucky sorghum, cracked white pepper, butter), Baked Mac & Cheese (orecchiette pasta, scallions, turbodog ale, Cabot extra sharp cheddar), and Colorado lamb ribs (Jamaican jerk, central barbecue’s sweet heat wing sauce, Nate’s pickled watermelon rind) were followed by the masterfully made 18-hour bone-in pork shoulder with 5 regionally distinct barbecue sauces. The 18-hour bone-in pork shoulder sat before us was the culinary ne plus ultra of the evening with its luminance steamy presence dominating the center of our table and my foodie desires.

There were 5 tables and all were full of devotees of fine dining and foodies making the most of the moment. At my table, the Cast Iron Cornbread arrived. I can never resist cornbread especially when a half stick of butter planted in the center of the cornbread. There were the Braised Collards (allium stock, jalapeno, garlic confit, butter) begging to be mixed in an old-time country style way – the kind of thing resonating in mid-century Southeastern Oklahoma mind! The Baked Mac & Cheese were so rich and delicious. The Colorado Lamb Ribs I couldn’t stop making it stop till they were demolished. Then came the pork shoulder, sweet and satisfying with those regional dipping sauces. I settle in with the habanero sauce that hit my pleasure zone. It was spicy but nothing a fierce as the habanero fruit itself. I was on the fast track to waddling full but there was dessert on its way.

I started with Maria’s Strawberry Shortcake (angel biscuits, brown butter solids, creme friache vanilla ice cream). It was enjoyable with the mixture of biscuits, strawberries and ice cream swirling together in my mouthful. Then I followed it with the Banana Puddin’ (candied walnuts, bananas, nilla wafers, toasted coconut) was rich and creamy. They were so flavorful and a delight to eat.

Then there was the Pate A Choux Beignets innocently setting before me heavily dusted with powdered sugar glowing under the lamp above them. I’ve had beignets at Cafe Du Monde and they were enjoyable with a coffee in the morning but Preux and Proper’s Beignet were on a whole different level. Cafe Du Monde’s beignets were more like donuts and I’m not that much about donuts. But one bite of Pate A Choux Beignets (“bananas fosters” dulce de leche & powdered sugar) was completely transformative. Every bite melted in my mouth. The rich custard interior of the beignet like a soft parade of pleasure invaded my mouth. It was a culinary triumph for the human creative spirit. It was genius gastronomy marching across my taste buds where they all surrendered in heavenly ecstasy surrounding them. There were three left and I cautiously grabbed another not wanting to appear greedy, but I was. The beignets were magnificent! There two left were unguarded in the bowl. I craved that experience with ravenous abandon and their delicious combination of bananas foster and dulce de leche melting in my mouth. Oh my God, I was on it like a spoiled two-year-old at his own birthday party savoring every morsel of pastry magic. Sweetest rapture with divinity in every bite and it  was glorious! My beignet annihilation was complete and my crime of gluttony undetected or observed. There were no beignets left and that was a good thing considering the caloric hit I just took. Never fear I’ll be back for more fine and delicate pastry joy! 

The night was winding down and I/we were completely satiated. The den in the room subsided and I ordered my last cocktail for my sendoff. Joshua Kopel shared his passion for the food, the vision he had for Preux and Proper and his gratitude for the patrons that have made it all possible. It was a lovely send off and coffee was served. I was waddling full and thankfully not shuffling full as I bid my adieu to exquisite dining. Sammy’s Cookout was an amazing experience. It’s a dinner I’ll long remember and celebrate by returning there for more. I decided on a short walk at a lingering pace to diminish the effects of a tightening belly post gluttony for a night beautifully presented food and unmatched amazing deliciousness.

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