I’ve talked about Fundamental LA before, and what I found there last time was so delightful that a second trip was never in question. Thinking back to the braised short rib I enjoyed so much at Little Chef Counter, I elected for the sandwich of the same name at Fundamental. Aside from the name and the primary ingredient, though, neither sandwich has much in common with the other. In Fundamental’s case, it’s braised short rib with go chu jang, dandelion greens, pickled mung beans and garlic aioli on brioche.
That’s not your average lineup for a sandwich, and as with any stand-out sandwich lineup, there’s an implicit statement. In this case, I would venture that anyone who puts pickled mung beans on their sandwich is loudly proclaiming that they know what they’re doing. It’s a bold, almost pungent flavor and it would be all too easy for them to overwhelm a sandwich, even one anchored with the deep richness of short ribs. In this case, things are tempered by not only the beef but dandelion greens (an underrated source of richness when handled properly) and go chu jang, a fermented chili paste that brought exactly the kind of heat needed to corral the other flavors.
In short, the sandwich was phenomenal. Pickled mung beans on a sandwich are a promise, a pledge not to screw things up. Fundamental LA delivers.