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Apr 28, 2009 03:20 PM

Tavern (Suzanne Goin in Brentwood)

Was walking my dog yesterday and passed by the open front doors. There were 2 or 3 women inside at the reservation desk! So, I asked when they were going to open and they said "Thursday"! That's the day after tomorrow people...yea! Finally, a place with great food AND a full bar in Brentwood!

I took some photos for you Hounds. Doesn't look ready yet, but they're working hard. There are always construction types doing stuff outside every time me and my dog stroll by, which is almost daily.

Also, I peeked inside and saw what looked like giant cake plates on a counter...or maybe that's going to be for cheese? Or huge pyramids of cupcakes? We'll see soon!

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  1. I'm going on Thursday night (assuming they're able to finish up everything). I'll report back!

    8 Replies
    1. re: mollyomormon

      I'll look for you, I'll be there too!

      1. re: yogachik

        Darn! I didn't see you. Anyway, I figured I would bump this thread and report back since no one else seems to have posted a review yet. Tavern was hopping on its first night open and as trite as it sounds, there really was an almost palpable energy. Like I'm sure everyone else at Tavern that night, I have been anticipating this opening for months.

        The space is divided up into three rooms: the larder, the bar and the atrium, with the larder being the least formal and the atrium the most. At this point, I believe they're still just open for dinner and the menu for dinner is the same in both the bar and the atrium, although there's also a separate bar menu. We were seated in the bar and the beautiful leather banquette running the length of the room gives it a cozy and elegant feel. Be forewarned, though: it gets loud in the bar. I didn't really get to check out the atrium, but at the conclusion of dinner, we stopped on our way out to congratulate Chef Goin, who graciously gave us a tour of the larder, which has a counter for charcuterie, cheese and baked goods and would be a lovely room in which to grab brunch.

        As for food, five of us shared five apps (there are only six on the menu) and all were delicious. Standouts were the spring vegetables with burrata (including romesco, which i love but never see in restaurants) and the asparagus with poached egg (this egg appeared to be poached, crumb-coated and then deep-fried, much like the one formerly on the menu at 3 Square in Venice).

        For entrees, although I only got to try a tiny sliver, I loved the devil's chicken, which might be the best chicken I've tasted in a restaurant, and the beef daube. I found the Tavern's version of beef daube preferable to the one at Anisette and that's saying something given that I think the dish at Anisette is pretty fantastic. The grilled lamb was also wonderful, with the only real misses of the night being the farro with mushrooms (sort of soupy and muddy in flavor) and the pork chop. The bite of pork chop I had was actually perfecty cooked, but others in a party who had slices closer almost bit into nearly raw pork.

        Dessert were all great as well, especially the beignets, which were perfectly fried. The walnut torte is a dessert I've had before at Lucques and was enjoyed by all the walnut lovers (how can anyone love walnuts though?) in our party.

        The service was a little inconsistent, as is to be expected on an opening night, but still sweet. I don't even know if this is really a criticism, but part of the reason that it took me several days to report back is that I was trying to think of what exactly to say about the food. While nearly all of it was delicious, there was not really any dish that was particularly memorable. But in reflection, that's actually pretty high praise.

        1. re: mollyomormon

          Thank you for this review! I hadn't had a chance myself to give a proper write-down even though my first impressions are very enthusiastic. So excited to have TAVERN near me. I visited the front larder area on Friday and it was filled with pastries, loaves of their sourdough (which is part of bread service in the restaurant) and a refrigerator case with cold salads, vegetables, roasted salmon. All looked delicious. They also had sandwiches and salads for sale. They also have a wall of homemade jams for sale (along with wine, oils, vinegars). The larder was open from 3PM - 7PM that day. Not sure if it's open earlier now. I went for dinner the following night. I had 7PM reservations and they sat me in the atrium area even though I was early and the rest of my party hadn't arrived yet. Beautiful space! Only complaint was that it was overly lit. The atrium/bar/lounge area is dark as expected and the brightness almost hurt my eyes. They finally dimmed the lights after the 8PM hour. Service was spot on for me. There were almost too many servers overly eager to help but it was all friendly and not overbearing. My friend had the beef daube which she raved about. I had the turkey burger and consumed every morsel (served on a challah bun with romesco, lettuce, tomato and bread butter pickles). I was tempted to go with the fries but chose the mixed greens as my included side - simple, light and basic. We had wine with our meal, but saw several servers carrying kumquat martinis which looked delicious. Don't know if they have a specialty cocktail menu as we weren't shown one. We opted for no dessert as we were stuffed. I have no doubt I will be back many times.

          1. re: mollyomormon

            I have to say, the pork chop was easily the best pork chop of my life. Too bad your friends didn't have my experience.
            I was very impressed with the decor, food and service. Still some kinks too be worked out but it was very enjoyable. Looking forward to it opening for breakfast and lunch soon.

            1. re: andrewsjb

              Oh good to know. I almost ordered the port chop. Now I really have to go back even sooner than later. Yum!

              1. re: andrewsjb

                I'm sure it was just a first night hitch with the pork chop being so rare near the bone and as I said, the bite I had was perfect.

                1. re: mollyomormon

                  Also on the first night, my friend returned his pork chop to be cooked more, he said it was raw inside. But when it came back (a new one) it was perfect and he still talks about it.
                  (I wrote a write-up here, somewhere, probably on page 3 by now)

                  I have been back for the beef daube, which I loved, am going back for Mother's Day and may have the chicken again (yum!)

                  1. re: yogachik

                    This is now my "go to" Place in the neighborhood. The Brentwood used to be my go to place for a good drink and simple fare. Tavern is so much better.
                    Food is fantastic ..prices less than The Brentwood.
                    Thrilled about this addition to the neighborhood. Hope that the vision is that this will be a neighborhood restaurant and not a destination place. Tavern is a great fit for this Brentwood enclave.

        2. Another photo that didn't go through the first time...

          1. where in brentwood is it located?

            1 Reply
            1. re: kevin

              11648 San Vicente Blvd. in Brentwood according to their web site (

            2. Exciting news, thanks for the update. Is the atmosphere and pricing supposed to be more in line with a tavern, or more in line with some of her other higher end restaurants?

              8 Replies
              1. re: Nicole

                I had called LUCQUES on Monday morning to get an update before the Thursday annoucement was made and the lovely man who answered the phone said that the price point will definitely be lower than at LUCQUES and AOC. They will start with dinner and eventually open it up to breakfast and lunch service. Wish I could go Thursday but have to wait until Saturday - already have my reservation!

                1. re: bruinike

                  They are also going to have what they call a 'larder' which is, for lack of a better term, a walk up deli type section where you can buy prepared foods to take home.

                  1. re: Tom P

                    Yes, it looks to be 3 restaurants, actually. The front is the deli/take out area. The middle is a casual sit down area, and the back (atrium) is formal and probably a more expensive menu a la Lucques.

                    1. re: yogachik

                      Just spoke to them and the menu is the same for both the lounge and the atrium (and the take away).

                      1. re: yogachik

                        so fancy sit-down and take out are the same menu???

                        sounds good, wow, brentwood is really heating up, soon sugarfish will be opening up there too.

                        1. re: kevin

                          FINALLY, a decent place in my little tri-city area! Will have to check it out this weekend, just hope they don't end up copping a major 'tude the way they did at Lucques, which used to be a favorite spot of mine, but now will never be back.

                  2. re: Nicole

                    Thanks for all the additional info! I'll look forward to everyone's reviews.

                  3. In 2 words, don't bother...

                    I guess others are excited but it didn't meet my standards for a night out. Sure, there were some decent tastes, such as the asparagus and fried (uniquely, yes) egg. Greens served a couple ways, all fresh and tasty. We had the hangar steak, which, if served at denny's, wouldn't be a surprise. Also the lamb tenderloin which wasn't the least bit tender. The chicken dish also nothing to complain about. Desserts were better than the rest of the meal.

                    If you can cook well, stay home. If you need a place to go and can tolerate the horrid service (admittedly, only open a week), go ahead. The drinks are delicious. I hope the chef raises the cooking a couple notches though.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: epop

                      Who is the chef de cuisine? Does anyone know? I assume she's not in the kitchen every day, being as busy as she is?

                      1. re: epop

                        I don't know why, but I guess I'm not surprised. I don't have any of her cookbook(s?) but I think she cooks relatively simple, but her techniques are solid.

                        I just keep getting the sneaking feeling it's going to be one of those places that are impossible to get in, like Mozza, w/out a rezzy a month in advance, basically due to all the hype on boards like this.

                        Also, the Westside, at least Brentwood & the Palisades are sorely lacking in any really wonderful places that are headed by someone talented & famous, and open all day to boot. Best bet is to go off hours and buy from the charcuterie.

                        1. re: epop

                          They serve asparagus and fried egg at Lucques Saturday lunches in the summertime.