New LAUREL TAVERN: Studio City Winner
Last night I checked out Laurel Tavern on Ventura Blvd in Studio City, CA. The place just opened and it looks like Studio City has a new hot spot on its hands:
Food was great and prices were reasonable (all under $10 bucks). Here is thre breakdown:
-- Burratta & Heirloom Tomatoes - Very nice portion and just as good as Mozza's presentation. Tomatoes were high quality.
-- Bone Marrow - 3 medium sized bone marrows came out and they were fantastic. Well seasoned and accompanyed by toast points.
-- Pork Belly Skewers - I liked this very much, the sauce was a bit overpowering but the pork belly tasted fresh and the skewers idea allows you to eat a small portion of this highly indulgent food.
-- Fries - My friend ordered a side of the fries (they have a regular and one cooked in pork fat) -- I believe he just got the reular fries and they were delicious-- they were freshly cut and had a nice smoky meaty taste.
-- Grilled Cheese- Two grilled cheeses - tasted like a version of swiss cheese and the bread had nuts which added a nice flavor to the sandwich.
- Croque monsieur - Friend ordered this -- portion seemed a bit small but my friend didn't seem to have any complaints as it was gone without me trying it
They utilize the Father's Office system- order at the bar and they hand you a ticket. It can be a bit difficult to grab a table during peak evening hours but it wasn't that bad. I recommend they have a devoted cashier for food orders becuase the bartenders seemed a bit overwhelmed (they were friendly however). The servers were very friendly I must say.
They offered about 10 wines and double amount of beer -- I had a Pinot Noir and girlfriend had a Syrah -- decent not award winning. I laso tried the Hollywood Ale which was OK.
VERY solid first visit -- and anytime the menu and wine / beer list is only found on a blackboard you know the food is going to be good (other examples of this theory: Bowery Bar). Let's hope this is a start to a culinary renaissance on the Ventura Blvd strip
Warning: If you want a table, get there early. Arrived at 5:30 pm on Election Day and had my pick of seating. I hear by 630 or 7 it's pretty packed.
If you're a beer drinker, you shouldn't be too disappointed. A chalkboard lists their 16 drafts, and one of my friends had an Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale, while I went with the lighter Craftsman 1903. A sampling of other drafts: more Craftsman, Lost Coast Downtown Brown, Hollywood Blonde, Telegraph California Ale, North Coast Pranqster and Stone Arrogant Bastard.
There's also a selection of wines, a basic bar, old-school sodas (Bubble Up, Dad's Root Beer, etc.) and Vosswater.
Another vote for pork belly skewers, which has a slightly sweet marinade that you can cut with a squeeze of lime provided. We ordered two. Chorizo fondue was decadent but excellent, and the Old School burgers with fries were completely satisfying cooked medium. I still need to go back and try other things on the menu such as the grilled artichoke w/ walnut pesto, mini croques, steak fries made with pork fat, roast marrow bones and hickory burger.
Since this took over the space of what used to be Sapphire, it's still a long extended room with no frills, but very comfy and welcoming. The outer wall is taken up by one long banquette in front of which are several small tables and chairs. A middle raised bar with stools splits the banquette seating from the bar proper. Everything's very simple and clean, light wood tones. Large TV screens over the bar area help with the social atmosphere. Perhaps they show sports there normally, but since we went on election night, that coverage was on.
There's a valet, but if you go early you can find street parking. Trader Joe's nearby closes at 9:30 pm, so if you're at Laurel Tavern at that time or later, that's a good option. FYI -- the kitchen closes at 11 pm.
All in all, a lovely hangout spot to get yummy eats, cold beer and shoot the breeze. Definitely going back.
I visited this spot last night and loved it, first off I was debating on what beer to try. The bar tender was very friendly in letting me sample 4 various flavors till I found the one I liked. Yes, its difficult ordering your food when your ready to eat. You have to walk to the bar place your order and they give you a number then comes out your food. My buddy had the blue cheese burger and I had the hickory burger, both very good just extremely greasy. We split the fries cooked in pork fat, very good and the best of all were those pork belly skewers, delicious!
I went there last night. We went after work so we were there from 6 to 8:30, and it got busier, but it was never too crowded. There was a line to get in by the time we left. The beer was great. We also ordered the chorizo fondue, steak fries, ham and cheese croques, and the grilled artichoke.The fondue was the best thing from what we ordered. The fries were nothing special, unless you were lucky enough to get one that had the pork fat...but they were few and far between. We dipped them in the chorizo fondue...that helped. The grilled artichoke has nuts, which they don't mention, and unfortunately my boyfriend is allergic. It would have been nice to know what was on it. Other than the allergic reaction, my friend who ordered it said that it was good.
I think they have a few kinks to iron out. Our food was delivered to us, but we didn't have napkins brought out. The people bussing the tables were busy, so by the time we got them we were half way through our food. I agree with some of the other people about the need for a cashier for the food.
The bartenders seemed to be overwhelmed, and the attitude of one of the 3 showed that she was frustrated. At least I'm hoping that she's not naturally rude, and it was the fact that the bar was 2 to 3 people deep.
I'm going to go back and try the place out one more time. See if they've gotten a better routine down at the bar. Honestly, I didn't have any problems until they got busy. It seemed that they had trouble once they got busy.
I've been waiting for a place like this to open up, so I'm optimistic! Maybe next time i'll go mid-week.
Just went last night and had the wonderful pork bellies, artichoke and bone marrow. My friend and I were not that impressed with the bone marrow although it was two thumbs up from Riley my dog. Artichoke was great with orange zest and some sort of garlic dipping sauce. It was a bit confusing at first on where and who to order from. When it gets crowded it can be a bit tricky, but the bartenders are really nice and accomidating. I liked the crowd. Not too trendy.
GREAT pub! We *walked* over there last night, so it's my new fave local place.
Very cool vibe - a bit loud, but that's to be expected.
We had to sit at the back but I would love to get a table near the front windows next time.
Inexpensive food and drink - the Pinot Noir was very nice
My guy tried two diff beers and *loved* the 'Boont' bc it was a bit bitter (he can't stand sweet beers, and so many US beers are sweet... (apparently - I don't drink beer).
Fantastic food -- the pork skewers were awesomely delicious (thanks, OP, for that rec)
The pork fat-fries were great
The croque - eh, not so much...
The Laurel Burger was *perfect* - truly perfect. Rich, luscious, perfectly sized & priced, cooked medium, so a little pink, which we like. Patty covered with gruyere, caramelized onions and arugula.
*Better than Fathers Office* YEAH! I said it!!!! I mean it, so bring it!
BUT -- I ordered way too many greasy things and then ate them all (well, not all by myself -- along with my two companions) .
But I'm not really supposed to eat fried foods ... lol
I had to get up in the middle of the night and drink some hot water and lemon juice to settle my stomach....... :(
But we'll prob go back! I'll just be more careful what I consume.
Most of the foods are fried or grilled but I did spot a really nice-looking and large platter of burratta and tomato, so we'll def try that next time.
Here's another review that's out there --
Wow -- you're quick. I only heard about this place from DailyCandy a couple of days ago, and it's in my 'hood!
Is it where the old Sapphire Bar was?
Fantastic report -- now I really can't wait to try it. I was gonna go with my guy who likes beer. But I don't drink beer at all, so it's great to hear about the decent Pinot Noir etc on offer.
Oh and this quote of yours about the Pork Belly: "...the skewers idea allows you to eat a small portion of this highly indulgent food."
means that I am DEFINITELY going very soon! My sentiments precisely!