If the former Playa Rivera, as it stood on Beverly Boulevard, offered a somewhat intimidating Mexi-China concept for the price point at which it met its clientele, then perhaps Petty Cash Taqueria will benefit from all the lessons learnt. The menu is streamlined straight toward Baja, peppered with a beverage selection fit to satisfy the fussiest drinkers in LA. While quality ingredients are in the picture, that doesn’t begin to describe how well the tacos and flavor combinations are executed.
After all, who else would show the people of Hancock Park that a charred octopus taco is always what they’ve wanted?
If you’re like, really, way into local beer but Orange County still seems like a schlep (yes, we’re lazy Angelenos), you’ll want to make it over to Steingarten on the Westside for some tap takeover action by one of our favorites, The Bruery.
There’s something poetic about a restaurant that knows its place. Larry’s, located on the beach and open since mid-August, seems to embody that with its beautiful, convertibleÂ patio and simple menu.
Not a single item on the menus (printed on paper and ready for you to tally as in a sushi bar) is over $15, yet hardly any of the dishes lack in heft. Rather, full flavors – and beer, complete with 26 tapsÂ – seem to be the focus at Larry’s. It may be Vegetarian- and Vegan-centric Venice, but omnivores can appreciate the wide selection of charcuterie, flatbread toppings and small plates doubling as entrees; there’s plenty of meat on this menu.
Such asÂ the delicious pot of chicken liver & foie gras parfait (nothing like duck liver to even out the pungency of chicken liver). You can also order the charcuterie and cheese – a solid representation – either to start or to nibble on during the length of your stay. Nothing is parsed out as appetizers or mains, and it serves as a plus. No one is going to scold you if you want to share your organic sal, I’m sorry,Â bacon-wrapped organic salmon with your friends.
Flatbreads: check. The crust is respectable (could it be the water?) and the variety of topping combinations is enough to keep anyone satisfied.
The Green Curry Mussels – a staple at any gastropub – were good and maintained its status as a reliable dish.
Surprisingly, one of my favorites was found in the capellini pasta, which was a Shrimp & Maine Lobster Ragout with lobster tomato sauce, basil and truffle. While sampling some of the heavier items (yes, even sampling does this) had me worried about passing out on my drive home to Hollywood, it was this pasta that was ironicallyÂ the standout. That is, in addition to sipping Ommegang’s Hennepin Farmhouse Saison and a New Belgium Hoptober.
While you won’t go to Larry’s to achieve your latest culinaryÂ epiphany, Chef Brendan Collins (Waterloo & City) does a great job setting upÂ a solid menu forÂ this gastropub-by-the-beach. They also tap new, localÂ and/or rare brews there once in awhile, such as Atwater Village’s brand newÂ Golden Road Brewing Company’s Point the Way IPA. Whereby I normally avoid the beach in most things food-relatedÂ (it’s about the view, isn’t it?), Larry’s, with its wide draft selection, beautiful people and unmatched outdoor-indoorÂ backdrop,Â really can’t be beat.
TodayÂ is Free Pour Wednesday at City Tavern in downtown Culver City. Sit down for dinner (maybe even at one of the tap-equipped tables) and sample your choice of craft beer (6 oz. pour) from the total 22 available on draft, for free. Limit one per guest with food order.
And tomorrow, you can celebrate Sierra Nevada Pint Night.
Spare yourself the drive up to their Chico tasting room. Tomorrow at City Tavern, you’llÂ find Sierra Nevada’s Schwartz Bier, Vienna Lager, Foam Pilsner, Oktoberfest, and Life & Limb 2 (a highly-coveted limited release) on tap. Feeling especially beer-social? One of the reps from Sierra Nevada will be present to answer all your questions and share in your beery cheer. Plus, purchase any one of the aforementioned pints and receive a commemorative glass, while supplies last. And of course, City Tavern would never limit you to just one. Or two. Want to try all five? Go with the tasting flight. Starts at 6PM.
Oops! Almost forgot that Munich Marzen beers (Oktoberfest-style beer) have taken over the City Tavern taps from now through October 2nd. Guests who are able to grab a seat at the table tap booths ON October 2nd will receive a commemorative growler.
Love Firestone beer? They’ll be doing the same format as tomorrow’s Sierra Nevada’s pint night (beer list TBA) on Thursday, October 6th.
After all, it’s just a matter of time before L.A. Beer Week becomes L.A. Beer Day…everyday.
City Tavern 9739 Culver Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232-2739 310.838.9739
The people behind The Daily Grill, one of the most recognizable chain restaurants in LA and beyond, have added gastropubs to their repertoire through Public School 612 – the sister and adjacent restaurant to The Daily Grill downtown since last March.
You order at the bar at this new casual hangout, but don’t leave the counter without first choosing your beer. They’ve 20 beers on tap with half of those rotating, and 12 more in bottles and 5 in cans. There’s a decent-sized menu for grub, beer and spirits so there’s pub fare for everyone.
When it comes to burgers, I’ve noticed there’s a complicated relationship between the customer, server and chef when it comes to the “wellness” of one’s burger patty. This became ever apparent since my guest at The Daily Grill was one who prefers “still moo-ing” to my medium rare. Though “pink through and through” is a real preference of his, I’ve known some to order their burgers one grade rarer as a result of chef distrust. Depending on the restaurant, there’s an assumption that the chef will always leave the beef on the grill too long for health code or safety reasons (Islands Burgers and e.coli in early 2000’s).Â Then again, maybe the chef knows something about the meat that the customers don’t?
Public School 612 effectively brought out that seared, rare Pub Burger. It had really good flavor while still falling under the Classic Burger column. No toppings (or the variety of such) are used as a crutch, and, as if for emphasis, even the very delicious balsamic onions the Pub Burger comes with are left on the side so you can dress at will. The bun was perfectly buttered, toasted, textured and sized, to boot. It was a great, basic burger.
For those looking for something a little bit removed from basic, try the Colorado Lamb Burger. Yes, it also comes with brie and tomato cranberry jam – but you’d have to try it to believe just how well all these things work together. The lamb burger is served in the same stellar bun, and even a lamb-shy diner might change his mind after one bite.
I chose a pint of refreshing, summer-perfect Craftsman Triple White sage to wash bites of these burgers down. Be sure to visit Public School often to taste their rotating taps since they have a decent selection thanks to Hallie Beaune, one of two Beer Chicks. Also, the fries are fresh-cut and probably won’t disappoint. On my visit, though they were tasty, they turned out a tad golden – with the latter being an observation the GM made when he came over to the table. An aberration, he said.
If you’re not feeling the beer, they’ve also a couple cocktails but really, all the brown spirits you need to enjoy with or after your burger. The atmosphere is conducive, as well, with dim lighting, communal high tables but also an attractive and pleasant bar to sit at or order from – whichever you choose. I had a great time playing darts (free with your driver’s license on deposit) – and since the place is new the darts and board are still in great shape. All the better to lose three games of Cricket with, my dear.
It’s not as if Downtown L.A.’s Financial District was in lack of places to hang out, but it seems like Public School 612 provides not just the drinks and vibe, but also great food and games. In a time of my life where I’ve most shunned malls and chains, it’s ironic to see that perhaps Public School’s strength is derived from being an offshoot of a major chain (you can find The Daily Grill in Washington D.C. and Illinois as well).
Bottom line? The burgers, beer and spirits selection are solid and if you bring great company, there’s no reason why you won’t have a great time. Educate yourselves, Downtown Los Angeles.
P.S. – Though you can’t get a burger at a discounted price, check out their happy hour, anyway (M-F, 4-7 PM). Nothing is over $4 and they have $5 Margaritas and $10 carafes of wine. They also have a $4 tap handle available all night, so check out what that is.
I’m a big fan of neighborhood bars – and a bar with a good vibe and beer selection is indeed a rare scene to find. Lo and behold, the people behind Bar Covell have occupied the adjacent space to Rambutan Thai and set up shop, offering 5 taps and over 50 bottles of brews.
Set at the scene of Silver Lake and Sunset boulevards, it’s a hop and a skip from Silverlake Lounge and Spaceland The Satellite – only two of the hottest places to see live music, making it a convenient place to come for a pre- or post-show beer…or five.
The list offers great Californias brews like Alesmith Speedway Stout, Anderson Valley Oatmeal Stout and Russian River Valley Damnation – but if you choose to go European, they have plenty of that, too, with pours costing between $5-9 each. At the time of my visit, Lagunitas IPA, Urthel Hop-It, Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, TAPS Barleywine and Allagash Black were all on tap. (Yum – especially the Urthel. A surprisingly well-balanced, hoppy blonde.)
They’ve also got a shuffleboard-air hockey-bowling type machine (don’t ask me, I never played it) if you feel like a game-of-something with your mates. Or just enjoy the perfectly-lit space and gaze at the upside-down canoe hanging from the ceiling. The ambiance is made in large part by the vintage neon signs hanging along the walls – a contribution by Joe Keeper, keeping the goods in the Silver Lake family.
Since opening a couple weeks ago, Beer Bar has also invoked their small menu of fried chicken and sides, prepared in the fryers of Rambutan, and only costing you $9 for a serving with two sides and $4 for fries. I’m jonesin’ to try the fried okra. Arrived after 10 PM on a weekday or 11 PM on a weekend (that is, after the kitchen’s closed)? Look no further than Hipster Pho, which neighbors Beer Bar and is actually an unmarked (thus the hipster) Thai place called Pho Cafe. Beer Bar generously lends its space to carry-in food, and even had the wares for me to eat my bowl of beef broth and rice noodles right at the bar. Ask the beer dude behind the counter to pairÂ your foodÂ (pho or chicken – either way)Â with a beer of his choosing, and you’re set.
Beer Bar at Rambutan Thai 2835 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026 213.273.8424