Great meal at Village Idiot
Last night I finally tried the Village Idiot for dinner with a friend. I wish I'd gone earlier. Everything was very good. We started with a couple cocktails, a Hendricks martini and a Meyers dark on the rocks, both well made then had a couple glasses of a nice red Cote du Rhone which was quite good with a nice balance of fruit and wood. Started dinner by splitting the goat cheese and leek tart which was very good. The cheese had a nice bright tang to it and the leeks a good sweetness. For entrees my friend had the pork shank on a bed of mashed veggies. I think the veggies were a blend of yam and maybe apple and potato, I forget but all of it was great. The meat was fall off the bone tender and very flavorful. Perfectly done. I had the burger with manchego. The burger was cooked perfectly med. rare, as ordered and the bun was just dense enough to hold up through the entire meal. I got it with fries, which were perfectly fried and a side of whole grain mustard. I asked for mustard and was given a choice of a few types. I opted for the whole grain and it was very dense, much better than I expected. With dinner we split the brussle sprouts with apple wood bacon. The sprouts were amazing, perfectly cooked with big chunks of thick cut smokey bacon and all of it coated in butter. We raved about them for the rest of the night. I will get these every time I go. Half way though dinner we ordered a couple glasses of the Juan Gil Monestral. It could have used a couple more years of bottle age, but was still very good and the tannins made a great balance to the sprouts and fries. I liked the wine list. It has a good variety and the price markup is quite reasonable, especially when you consider the gouging from some restaurants. Our waitress was cool and professional. She answered every question we had about the menu. We never had to ask for water refills. Service was perfect from start to finish. One of the owners came by to ask how everything was, and we had a nice brief conversation about the place. I will definately be back. Two of us ate very well, everything we ordered was great and we left full. A great meal, good time, two cocktails and four glasses of wine came to $117.99
I'm a fan too. Have been a couple times and each time have been very happy. Good selection of beers too which the wait-staff is knowledgeable about. Their fish and chips are very tasty (fresh fish in crispy batter) but my all-time favorite is their mussels with garlic mops (like oversized crutons but crispy on outside and soft fresh bread on the inside). Have not yet been inspired to try their desserts...
I practically LIVE there. I'm there usually twice per week. It's great to have lunch with a friend because it's not too crowded and if you sit at the window side booths, there's floor to ceiling light and there's great Melrose people watching.
If you go for dinner, get there before 7am or be prepared to wait b/c they don't do reservations. If you don't mind the crowds, the bar gets 2 to 3 people deep, especially Thursday-Sunday nights.
They have a small but great and varying selections of beer on tap and an inventive array of bottled beers.
The staff is attentive and nowhere near bordering on stuffy. They are relaxed, laid back, fun, and seem as if they genuinely enjoy being there.
The owners, Dean, Charlie and Lindsey are all great guys, love people and love coming to work.
If you ever have a problem with something, let them know and they'll make a concerted effort to rectify the problem and make sure you're happy before you leave.
I've had lunches, dinners, and just binch drinking nights there and have always had fun.
As for the food, it ranges from typical so so pub fare, up to some darn good roasted chicken, pork tenderloin also. Yum
We had a nice meal there some months back. Getting in and working through the crowd can be a bit challenging, but who wants to go to any empty restaurant anyway? We also had the goat cheese tart with leeks (if I remember correctly). The bangers and mash with the caramelized onion gravy (again, if I remember correctly) was exactly what I was in the mood for. The menu and vibe there reminds me, in some ways, of Corona Del Mar's Crowbar restaurant. Fans of the type of food served at the Village Idiot should check that one out as well.
R. Jason Coulston