August 02, 2011


Last summer, I, along with hundreds of other fans, mourned the surprise closing of a favorite downtown LA wine bar, The Must.  Since then, I've been patiently waiting for owners Coly Den Haan and Rachel Thomas to invite hungry & thirsty Angelenos to their new downtown bar.  Well Friends, not only have they delivered, but they've raised the levels of creativity and hospitality, both figuratively (helloooo sophistication) and literally (taking it to the 15th floor).

Perch may be downtown LA's newest rooftop restaurant and bar, but it's quickly becoming an instant favorite -- and it's easy to see why.  Perch is, as defined, "an elevated resting place."  Notwithstanding LA's pathetic skyline (c'mon, let's be real), it's an elevated resting place that's knows how to stay both classy and chill (perhaps *ahem* unlike the other downtown rooftop bar).  Everything from the ornate lighting fixtures and French-inspired paintings on the walls to the intricately-designed and placed tiles on the floor, the precise attention to detail is breathtaking and doesn't go by unnoticed.  These photos don't do justice, but just so you get a vibe for the place:

Pretty, isn't it?

Now, unto the good stuff... or in other words, the stuff we care more about!

Of the four-page, leather-bound menu, two pages are reserved for happy imbibing and two pages for happy noshing.  Considering both are of equal (great) importance in my life, I approve of this break-down.

Wine & Beer list
Cocktail list
Appetizers & Salads
Entrees & Desserts

You know if you start the night with a round of Siete Leguas, it's gonna be a goooood night!
"Party Like a Rockstar" sunglasses not included

The bread and butter were good, but that olive/bean/fruit tapenade-esque thing was addictive.  Like, like, like!

Appetizers (in order of personal preference):

Duck, Duck, Goose - $9 [Seared duck breast; applewood smoked duck bacon; gooseberry jam on honey bread]

Shake & Bake Drumsticks - $10 [Buttermilk marinated frog legs and a honey glaze]

Cordon Bleu "Popper" - $8 [Stuffed chicken breast w/ prosciutto, swiss cheese, candied tomato remoulade]

Duck, Duck Goose: The smokiness of the duck bacon, the sweetness of the jam, and the tenderness of the seared duck worked together very well for a substantive, but still light finish.  The roasted tomatoes also added a nice touch.

Shake & Bake Drumsticks: What can I say?  It tasted like chicken.  I was hoping for a greater crunch from the outer layer.

Cordon Bleu: Unfortunately, of the three this sounded the best, but tasted the least best.  The chicken and prosciutto were dry.  Even the remoulade was tasteless.  Please just tell me it was a fluke because this can really be a shining star if and when cooked and prepared properly.

Entrees (in order of personal preference): { apologies for the poorer quality of photos }

Boeuf Bourguignon - $32 [braised short rib; pork belly; carrots and mashed potatoes]

Perch au Noisette - $30 [Sauteed perch filet with tomato carpaccio and sweet peas]

Bouef Bourguignon: I love love love short rib and I am so so so thankful that Perch did not ruin this fave dish for me.  The meat was braised perfectly with tons of flavors packed in.  Take a piece of beef, pork, carrot, and top with some of that ultra soft potatoes and you'll have a brief bite of heaven on a fork.  Don't you just love experiencing that?

Perch: I really wanted to love the perch too, but the butter that the perch was sauteed in was way too salty.  Even the tomato and sweet peas couldn't balance out the saltiness.  Easy on the salt next time, s'il vous plait.

Desserts (in order of personal preference):

Beignets - $9
Apple Tart Napoleon - $9

Chocolat Pot de Creme - $9

Beignets: I mean, how wrong can you go with fried dough?  You virtually can't.  So while this dish wasn't overly impressive, the strawberry jam and the espresso whipped cream -- especially the espresso whipped cream -- really helped knock these beignets out of the park.  Nicely done.

Apple Tart: Apples with layers of caramel and cinnamon crisp and separated by vanilla phyllo - yum!  But where was the crisp?  Were the apples supposed to be borderline soggy?  Hmm...

Pot de Creme: Chocolate custard with cherry bits.  Not too inventive; not too exciting.

Given that they are still in their first week since official opening, things are understandably in their "trial and error" mode and there is plenty of room for improvement (i.e. - overpriced entrees!, confused busboys & servers; need better elevators).  But with all things considered, Perch is definitely an overall winner in my book... so much so that I shall be returning next weekend for my "Doah's (temporarily) Moving to Londontown!" soiree.  I shall see how the weekend night scene compares to our "Party like a Rockstar" Monday.  And you should see too!  Go see for yourself what the rightful buzz is all about after work or well into the night.  I have a good feeling that you'll like it.

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cuisine: French-inspired
location: downtown LA
hours: M-W: 4:00 PM - midnight; Th-Sat: 4:00 PM - 2:00 AM
websites: { P | yelp }
attire: Casual Dressy
parking: public lot across the street for $6 (after 6pm) or free street parking (after 5pm)
notes: No cover?  Rooftop bar sans pretentious egos?  Golden!
Perch also has an upper deck that I didn't have a chance to visit yet.
Lastly, The Must is planning to reopen on the bottom floor of the same building in the near future!  Cheers to all!