A friend and I tried Little Bear for dinner last night, and we really enjoyed it. There were a lot of empty tables, so it wasn't loud at all, and the service was casual in a good way, that is, friendly and informative, no fuss or attitude. Neither my friend nor I ordered a drink, but the beer menu had quite a few Belgian beers on tap, priced around $9-10 each.
Onto the food ... everything we tried was a generous portion, hearty and full of flavors although some didn't work as well as others. The duck confit gougeres sounded great but was too sweet - all you could really taste was the cherry chutney. The mushrooms and savory cake was overwhelmed by cream, which I dislike, but some people may like it.
Luckily, we liked everything else we tried! The fried oysters gougeres were recommended by our server, and they were the best thing we had. The oysters were nicely fried, crispy but not greasy, and the bacon and arugula with it added even more flavor. The carbonnade flamande (ale braised brisket w/ turnip mash, spinach, Belgian fries) was tasty and huge - that would've been more than enough if I ordered it for myself. The sauce was rich and savory, and the Belgian fries were nicely crisp, but the brisket itself seemed a little dry. We finished the meal with their take on Liege waffle, which was a massive beer-batter waffle that was not too sweet and had the perfect texture, crispy on the outside and chewy and moist on the inside.
Overall, it's a nice addition to the general downtown area, and even though the Arts District can seem sketchy, with Church & State, Tony's Saloon and Urth Caffe all nearby, how bad can it be? Parking on the street is relatively easy, at least on weekdays.
1855 Industrial St, Los Angeles, CA 90021