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Food ****
Beer Selection ***
Service ***
Atmosphere *****
Eye Candy ****

***** WOW | **** Damn Good | *** nice | ** average | * WACK

From the dynamic duo of Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne comes the newest addition to their restaurant empire, Tavern. Located in not-so-parking-friendly Brentwood, Tavern is far from a quaint neighborhood watering hole. The place is big yet cozy, crowded but comfortable, a bit of a scene and a bit rustic all at the same time.

Despite walking into a stiflingly small reception that barely fits more than 3 people, Tavern is a big and complicated joint. To the left is the Larder/Blue Room which serves as their own bakery and takeout deli. On the right is the bar and beyond that is the glorious Atrium. A big, glass structure with potted olive trees and velvet armchairs around the tables, the Atrium is where you want to be. It’s the biggest room in the restaurant but still quieter than the bar. Prices are not outrageous for the quality; dinner entrees range from $20-$30. Besides, with nine (9!) different menus, you’re sure to find something to appease your wallet and stomach.

Tavern is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It also has a brunch menu, a pastry menu, a kids menu, a desserts menu, a bar menu, and a cocktail menu (!). I started with the bar menu that consists of small plates and burgers. While I hear the Pork Manchego Burger is good, I know the fried oyster & bacon brochette with tabasco aïoli is great. Salty, rich, fried and high in bacon content, this thing is dynamite. After a tasty Old Fashioned or two I moved on to the dinner menu. I was far from disappointed. Everything was perfectly cooked and well executed but I did find a couple items a bit heavily seasoned.

In a nutshell, Tavern has great atmosphere, good booze, and very good food at a reasonable price for its kind. Definitely a place worth going back to a couple of times and reservations are highly recommended. This place gets packed but has a good spatial arrangement and high ceilings to alleviate the congestion. With several menus to choose from and service all day, you’re sure to find something to like at Tavern. Hats off to the Goin & Styne tag team.

  • Make reservations!
  • Sit in the Atrium for dinner; Bar and Blue Room are good for small plates/lunch
  • Appetizers are the best
  • Good place to bring a date
  • Rotating Menu

Bottle Rock the Party

Maximum 3====D
Food 3===D
Beer 3====D
Service 3====D
Atmosphere 3===D
Eye Candy 3=D

The once Culver City confined Bottle Rock now has a new location in downtown LA just for the Eastsiders. Just blocks away from LA Live, Bottle Rock LA serves up the traditional wine bar cheese and charcuterie plates with the addition of a full menu of seafood, meats, pastas, and desserts.

The cheese and charcuterie plates were very well paired with varying spreads, pastes, and fruit. The food has a delicate touch with Asian and Italian influences. Specifically, the Pig Ear Terrine and Pork Belly Risotto tipped me off that there must be a Taiwanese chef in the kitchen. This was a very pleasant surprise as both my parents are from Taiwan and it is far from mainstream fare in the U.S.

This similarly chic downtown location boasts more space and an even larger wine selection than their predecessor with nearly 1,000 bottles to choose from. Alex Macy, who recently coordinated the LACABAL event in May, has done a killer job as the beer buyer stocking some great craft bottles like Duchesse de Bourgogne and Allagash’s Hugh Malone while the taps list features gems like Old Rasputin (on nitro) and Allagash Curieux

A very enjoyable experience overall, Bottle Rock LA is definitely a go-to. Atmosphere is a bit cold with lots of concrete and metal in the room, but that can be easily overcome with some great beer and good company. The beer and wine selection is certainly among the best in LA but the food is nice and not to be overlooked.

  • Good place to start a night of debauchery downtown
  • Accomodating for large groups but may be difficult when busy
  • Good place to bring a date to impress with knowledge of food/beer/wine
  • Great stuff but gets pricey quick so beware when eating and drinking
  • Beer selection is phenomenal