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Blink and you'll probably miss Fundamental LA, a hip Westwood sandwich shop that consistently makes some of the most satisfying and original sandwiches east or west of the 405. Crisp, fried sweetbreads, their richness mellowed by tart pickled turnips, piled on a fresh brioche. Egg salad made sublime by cream in lieu of mayo. And their vanilla cream soda is the best in the city. At Fundamental LA, the menu is small but exceptionally well curated, and although the decor is minimalist, the sandwiches are not. That's not to say these are the sort of meat-heavy messes that revel in their own excess, but they're not some dainty theoretical exercise in bread and meat. The menu changes daily, sometimes from lunch to dinner, a feature that's as intriguing as it is frustrating. Though Fundamental generally only offers six sandwiches at a time, you could easily return on a dozen visits and never work your way through the entire menu. The sandwiches veer from upscale versions of American classics like meatloaf and grilled cheese to intense takes on Italian porchetta. Here, it's an inch-thick slab slathered with tangy sauerkraut and grains of mustard as large as Beluga caviar. The hefty heap of meat looks intimidating, but it's tender and yielding at every bite. Picking a favorite at Fundamental is a Sophie's choice, but the meatball sandwich is a contender. It's simple, no overworked or fussy ingredients. Just a fluffy disc of bread piled with golf ball-sized meatballs of perfectly spiced pork, dripping with the funk of taleggio. Nothing disappoints at Fundamental. The potato chips are freshly fried, the chunky potato salad is full of bacon and the churros, fried to a dark brown and coated in ribbons of caramel, resemble nothing so much as Dune sandworms ("He who controls the cajeta, controls the universe!"). These churros, like the sandwiches and the sides, are all masterfully reimagined. Missing this place would be a fundamental mistake.
View Westwood Sandwich Walk in a larger map Who says L.A. isn't a walking town? I mean, sure, we might not be known for our crowded sidewalks, but it's worth mentioning we ended up on the higher rung... More »
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