Walking through the bar this afternoon of the new Brentwood Tavern I could not help but think of Marilyn Lewis and the once anticipated super size Hamlet with both disco and strict dress code that originally inhabited this space. And why not? It could certainly be argued that Marilyn and Harry made every bit of impact on the L.A. restaurant scene as Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne continue to.
The building continues to be awkward to me with the only sight lines from the street, the wall that hides the kitchen and bakery in front. The somewhat austere bar with the most elegant gray paint works strangely enough against the green floral upholstered chairs. Once inside the three compartment restaurant we secured a comfortable table for four in the far corner of the bar at 2:15pm, knowing that the lunch menu stopped at 2:30pm and that the main dining room was completely full.
It hardly mattered. What followed with both menu and food was everything we’d come to expect and hope for from the people who’ve given us possibly the best carbonara I’ve ever had at the bar of Lucques and the brioche with prosciutto, gruyere and egg at A.O.C. The Tavern strives to celebrate what’s familiar: a burger, turkey sandwich, a chopped salad. With twists.
I had the “pork, pork, pork” sandwich on a wonderful homemade bun that took the shoulder of the pork, blended it with chorizo and formed it into a patty with fresh bread and butter pickles and homemade mayonnaise. The onion rings that came with it were both light and crunchy. My friend’s chicken was tender, moist and lightly charred on the skin sitting on a bed of cous cous with raisins. Both were excellent and $17 and $19 respectively. He liked the Campion pinot by the glass for $12 and I enjoyed my continually refilled iced tea for $3. We finished with a lovely lemon curd tart with a dollop of crème fraiche. But the walnut shortbread cookie I grabbed at the bakery counter for 50 cents on the way out was sensational. Service was exemplary from the phone to the door to the service staff. The validated parking in the lot in back is a gift in Brentwood and this new Tavern already seems every bit of a neighborhood fixture.