February 05, 2012


I'm going to be honest.  I was not introduced to Tavern because it is the latest brainchild of the illustrious and dynamic duo that is Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne or because it's in the same respectable family with Lucques and A.O.C.   Tavern came onto my radar one fateful day when West LA became a temporary parking lot -- similar to the 405 on any given day and hour -- and I was one of its many entrapped victims.  After all my whining and tantrum-ing, I learned that the massive traffic was due to the President's fundraiser dinner last spring.  And where was the President hosting his two-day fundraiser?  None other than Tavern.  I figured if the President didn't mind eating and being seen there, it was a place worth checking out.  So in support of dineLA, my buddy and I treated ourselves to a fancy dinner.

It was good.  Really good.

First, the contemporary rustic and inviting ambience greets you even before you enter the restaurant.  Once you step in, it'll be hard for you to not to like what you see.

Romantic lighting at night and natural light during the day. Perfect.

Second, the service was impeccable.  Our server was not only courteous, but paid particular attention to every little detail our of meal from start to finish.  After months in Europe, this kind of service was especially appreciated.

Third, the food was delicious and presented wonderfully.

dineLA 2012 Menu

Spread some butter onto a piece of fresh sourdough bread, sprinkle some sea salt, and go wild.

Arugula with Asian pears, roasted grapes, walnuts, and St. Agur Bleu (cheese)
My favorite part of the salad starter was the contrast of flavors and textures between the roasted grapes and the crumbly, creamy chunks of bleu cheese.  As somewhat of a purist when it comes to salads, I thought the dressing was a bit heavy-handed.  Notwithstanding that, it was a great start to the meal.

Celery root soup with crispy shallots and truffle butter

The soup was hearty and creamy.  Two beautiful words: truffle butter.  Can't really go wrong with that.

Boeuf Bourguignon with potato puree, bacon, wild mushrooms and spinach

I was surprised by the portions of the entrees.  But what the chefs failed to compromise was quality and for that I am very grateful.  The braised beef fell off the bone with one swift fork swipe.  There were some fatty parts, but nothing out of the ordinary.  The combination of the meat, potatoes, and mushrooms reminded me that I could never, ever be a vegetarian.  Mmm.

Market fish (halibut) with curried cauliflower, fregola, persimmon, and pomegranate

The fish dish was very tasty too, though incomparable to the boeuf.  But I'm a partial carnivore so take my recommendations with a grain of (sea) salt.  The cauliflower was good, but the persimmon/ pomegranate combo is what made this dish shine.

'Smores Chocolate Sundae with chocolate sorbet, toasted marshmallow, graham cracker and caramel popcorn

If you love chocolate, you will likely love the chocolate sundae.  While I thought it was an innovative idea, I was craving an old fashioned 'smores than diggin' this one (says the woman who only likes chocolate in small doses).

Honey ginger pane cotta with candied tangerines, pomegranate, sesame tuile, and tangerine sorbet
As for the pane cotta, it was very ginger-y, but the tangerine sorbet did a fine job balancing out the flavors.  

Overall, for $44, the meal was a solid 4/5.  Add the wine and bump up the rating to a 4.5 and the total bill another $50.  Even still, it was a delightful meal, and I can't wait to try the Larder, the bakery and cafe that takes up the San Vicente corner property of the restaurant.

For a more inside look at Tavern, check out their video here.

View Larger Map

cuisine: American
location: Brentwood
websites: { T | yelp }
attire: Casual/ semi-dressy
parking: nearby lots or street meters (Read the signs carefully!)
notes: Make a reservation.