Thursday, May 26, 2011

Westside Tavern

Friday evenings have not been the same since the Westside Tavern entered into the Westside Pavillion, a once sad wasteland of a mall in LA's sprawling west side. First came the new Landmark theater, arguably better than the Arclight in Hollywood. The LA Times actually claimed that the Landmark outdid the Arclight with it's Nasa designed seats and La Brea Bakery concessions. But that is beside the point. The Westside tavern, after it's first year, ended up on many a top ten new LA restaurant lists. Pair the WT's fare with that new art-house film at the Landmark and you are in for a perfect Los Angeles evening. You may even spot Tom Hanks going the opposite way on the escalator.  It has become my way of easing myself into the weekend and my Fridays have never been better.

If there is one food item on this earth that I crave it is their chicken liver mousse. It comes served in a mason jar, whipped to creamy perfection and is covered with a light layer of aspic to keep it creamy. Along with the mousse comes slices of thin, crispy toasted baguette and diced apples which cut the fat of the mousse so brilliantly. I literally have dreams about this and will not lie about the fact that I have polished one off on my own.

Their flat breads are also very good. They have three selections that will appeal to vegans and meat eaters alike. Their buratta plate is divine; the cheese tastes like's shipped straight from Italy and the heirloom tomatoes are sweet and delicious. There is something about the freshness of all the ingredients that is so appealing. As much as I do enjoy the Hillstone chain, and as often as the WT is compared to them, The WT is on a whole different level when it comes to farm to table. WT is a purveyor of local ingredients, you can just taste the freshness. That is why the menu changes seasonally; just when you found that new favorite menu item, it is gone. Beets come and go but thank goodness, chicken liver mousse is there to stay.

The Westside Tavern also has one of the best burgers in town. They cook it to whatever your preference and it always comes out pretty darn close. The bread is fluffy and light. The lamb French dip is another very popular item and it is very good and filling. The only problem with the entrees are that they are very large and very filling so I find myself mostly sticking to the appetizers, flat breads and soups. Otherwise, I might fall asleep during my movie.

All the wines by the glass are very fairly priced. They also have some very good and unique cocktails as well as that Moscow Mule you see on most bar menus these days. And theirs is equally good. The Grapefruit Rickey happens to be my favorite, made with Vodka, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Lime & Grapefruit Juices. It is refreshing and the St Germaine cuts the sourness of the grapefruit juice ever so nicely.

The Westside Tavern is a place to gather with your friends in the bar area either before or after a movie. There is no better place to congregate over cocktails and beautiful food on the Westside. The best time to grab a bar table would be before 6pm on most evenings as it fills up pretty quickly. Lunch is always a great time to snag a table as well. And remember, even if you don't like chicken liver, trust me, you must try theirs. Your life will never be the same.

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