Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday at Tavern.

11648 San Vicente Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 806-6464

Sunday afternoon, still recovering from a brutal work week while simultaneously prepping for the next one, I found myself at Tavern wanting to be fed. I say this like we came about the decision casually, just meandered over. It is impossible to be casual when you live 17 miles away through the thick insanity of Los Angeles traffic and another world away from Brentwood face lifts and Chanel handbags.

Tavern is another spin on the now familiar MO of restaurant/gourmet shops like Bottega Louie, and Cube. One can dine stylishly and deliciously, then bring home some noms to enjoy for the next couple days. The "larder" at Tavern includes lots of pastries, some savory items, and for the eater on the go, a nice coffee and drinks menu.

Pecan pie, cinnamon rolls, a berry crumble.

The requisite cupcakes. Three or four different lovingly but very professionally decorated kinds of cupcakes. Cupcakes. Cakes in a cup. Genius.

Love the smattering of brass roosters everywhere. I want to steal a couple of these, a few gophers from the Golden Goph, and start a brass menagerie in my backyard.

Despite the fact that we are not in Lucques anymore, Dorothy, there are definite traces of Lucques here. The interior is by Jeffrey Alan Marks, or Jam Designs and it is definitely reminiscent of the interior patio of Lucques. It has that same interior/exterior feel to it, with skylit ceilings, and ever-so-slightly garden-esque touches.

In the daytime the atmosphere is both stimulating and relaxingly luxurious.

I am sure at night time it is the epitome of hushed yet busy sophistication. Much like Lucques. A pub this is not.

They start us off with a basket of simply crusty white bread and ice cold butter. I miss the sea salt, olives and almonds from Lucques, but I get over this.

I am obsessed by Hitachino Nest. Not the drinking, the picture taking. There has just never been a cuter beer. Luckily the DH really loves this one so I have had lots of opportunities. 10%.

I drank a beautiful Rousanne-Marsanne blend, one of my favorite wines. It slightly echoes some of the richness of a Chardonnay with none of the oak or butter. My one OCD flaw is wanting to drink out of a clean wine glass at all times. Tavern brings your wine in a mini-carafe each time you order a new glass, so you will be using the same wine glass throughout the meal. This engenders a lot of glass wiping for me, so I request some bar naps. I do not like Chapstick of gloss on my glass. I even attempt to continually drink out of the same spot so as not to mess up the entire rim. If you saw my office/closet/car interior you would know this is my only OCD area.

I adore the way they serve their catsup in a small medicinal bottle. It doesn't taste homemade. And the top of the bottle and the cap are really messy. I wipe this down well with a bar nap, because yuck.

For my main dish, I order the Niman burger with fontina cheese, a huge tomato slice and not a lot of lettuce. As a matter of fact, my lettuce is a little sad. It's kinda wilty and there wasn't enough of it. I am an unfortunate product of In n' Out protein style burgers, so I like a lot of lettuce.

The burger is served with a choice of fries or an arugula salad, and I clearly go for the arugula choice. Arugula is the best green in existence. Bitter, sharp, small enough to fit quite a few leaves in one's mouth at once. Tastes good with red onions, olives, cherry tomatoes and as a foil against lots of different kinds of fruit. Yet another small hitch in the meal was the salt. Both the meat in my burger and the arugula were a little oversalted. My burger was oversalted to the extent that I wondered briefly if they had erred and sent me the pork burger which is made with pork shoulder, prosciutto and chorizo. But no, this is clearly beef by sight and flavor, just a hair over salted. Nevertheless the meat is delicious and it is cooked perfectly medium rare. I can handle some salt. When working in the field, I bring my lunch and often carry one of my little tubs of sea salt or truffle salt in my purse for almost everything in my lunch bag. This Sunday, salt does not ruin my burger.

C orders the special fish of the day. IIRC (if I recall correctly) she ate barramundi. I believe it was barramundi because that is one of my favorite fish types and I almost ordered this dish. Grilled, it was served atop a hash of fresh corn, zucchini, green beans, shaved red onion and cherry tomatoes.

I love the way these sauteed cherry tomatoes look with the caramelized onions. I can taste it just by looking at the deliciousness of this dish. And C cleared her entire plate. I think she licked it when I was looking the other way at the West Side bridal shower in the corner.

D ordered a sandwich called "The Pilgrim". Chunks of turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing on wheat bread. That was one thick and beautiful sandwich. He is still talking about it. On his plate was a side of sweet potato chips, and they were sweet potato perfection.

Despite a couple extremely minor flaws, our experience at Tavern was wonderful. One of the hostesses was incredibly gracious, finding a great table for us despite a canceled reservation, our slightly high maintenance attitude, and a completely empty bar area. Our server was nothing short of charming. Knowledgeable and pampering without being obsequious, he provided very smooth and easy service, knew the answers to all our questions and took great care of us.

Now, I just have to get across town to hit Tavern for dinner.

Tavern in Los Angeles


Kristine G. said...

what a beautiful blog ... *marks Tavern on my list of places to try* :)

Tricerapops said...

great review - thanks for sharing. the barramundi looked fab. i don't know what it is about me and wine glasses, but my wine glass is almost always the dingiest at the table after a few sips - i think my lip to glass management begs a'fixin.

SinoSoul said...

freakin' love this place. I think we've had the entire bar menu now. Love the bar, love the center "lounge" at nite. Just lovely overall, tho Lucque's bar is a lot closer...

Diana said...

That barramundi dish looks spectacular. You are so right re: being able to taste it just by looking at it -- it screams market freshness. Glad you had a nice time! :)