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Westside Tavern!!! OMG!!

n
nataliya.v Aug 6, 2009 03:06 PM

Seriously?? It's in a MALL. I mean I just can't wrap my head around the fact that a place this good can be in a MALL for chrissake!

Run, don't walk, to Westside tavern. Had dinner there with some friends last week and I can't stop thinking about it. It was absolutely amazing.

Make reservations, becuase it's packed. For good reason.

Started with some cocktails at the bar - excellent and not too sweet, can't remember what we had... one of them was a blackberry julep, which was great.

What we ordered:
Corn and cherry tomatoes with pesto - so good and so fresh - the pesto was divine
Artichokes with parm - amazing. the flavor was so fresh and delicious, it just melted in your mouth
I had the portobello sandwich, hubby ordered the BLT, and our friends had the lamb au jus and the ravioli.

Everything was mindboggeling good.

The portobello on my sandwich was juicy, tender, and full of flavor - i think a hint of balsamic marinade.

The lamb sandwich was definitely the star - it was tender, exploding with juicy meaty flavor

Ravioli was also excellent - very light

Had a bite of my hubby's BLT and while it was good, I think it was probably the weakest of the entrees.

But you have to make sure to leave room for dessert. Because it is spectacular. Like a mini food orgasm in your mouth. I"m sorry, but it's just that good.

I'm talking about the chocolate toffee cake with caramel sauce. It's sex on a plate. A little chewy, moist, kinda sticky in a wonderfully chocolaty way, on top of some sinfully good caramel sauce that complements the cake and brings out a depth to the chocolate that is undescribable. Also totally big enough to share for 4 people.

I was planning my return visit halfway though the meal. Can't wait to go back. Best part are the prices - all of our entrees were under $18, and the sides and dessert was about $6-$8

  1. m
    mdpilam Aug 21, 2009 09:49 PM

    Finally made it tonight to Westside Tavern. I have my sister in town and had been deciding between: Fig, Annisette, Gjelina (could we have even gotten a res.?), and Westside Tavern. (She had just eaten a burger the night before, so FO/Umami were out, and she kept saying she just wanted a good salad) We checked out Annisette and Fig while walking to the Pier, and I was leaning toward Westside Tavern, and finally went with it, and am glad I did!

    We got into the restaurant (after having a bit of a time parking -- man, their parking garage sucks), and were told there was a 40 min wait. I figured there might be, so we went over to B&N and killed some time, then came back for a pre-dinner cocktail. Just after we started sipping our drinks, our table came up. Of course my sister decided to not go with a salad, and went with the Sweet Corn and Mozzarella flatbread (pizza) and the waitress convinced me to go with the Duck Confit ("it's only here a limited time") over the lamb french dip. We ended up splitting the meals and both were very good. The flatbread was especially great though. Ignoring nomenclature, and calling this pizza, this was some of (if not) the best I've had in LA. The duck was also very good, rich and succulent (served with a port reduction sauce). We were both saitisfied, but felt we needed something more, so we also went with the Peach Crisp (served with butter-pecan ice cream). OMG -- this was amazing. The peaches were juicy and sweet and the granola crust and butter-pecan ice cream just combined for a better-than-the-sum-of--parts dessert. And I was hesitant because I am not a fan of butter-pecan ice cream. Also, it was a pretty big portion.

    I also had the Blackberry Julep, also convinced by a different waitress this time, and it was good, but I still could distinctly taste the mint (I saw it listed in the ingredients, and told the server I didn't really care for mint in my drinks, and she said she'd tell the bartender to go easy on it). It was a bit interesting though, because it came out looking almost like a blackberry slushie.

    All in all, I am very pleased with the meal (~$54 not incl. tip) and the service, and look forward to going back for the lamb french dip.

    1. f
      FKA Andrew Aug 8, 2009 05:14 PM

      Went there for the first time this week. We were on our way out of a movie and down to our car and decided to check it out. We were seated immediately. Had 6 of the best oysters that I have had in a long time. Plump and juicy. Great presentation. I then had the lamb sandwich with potato chips. The lamb was very good as were the chips. I would go back for the oysters alone! My date had a scallop dish, which she loved.

      Oh yeah, the service was very good. Our waiter was professional and knowledgeable.

      1. JeMange Aug 8, 2009 01:17 PM

        I just can't get past the mall location - great food to be sure but running a gauntlet of slack-jawed consumer zombies is enough to ruin my appetite.

        5 Replies
        1. re: JeMange
          Servorg Aug 8, 2009 01:26 PM

          No different than sniffing out dives in more dicey parts of town, you pick up that gauntlet and slap those zombies right across their brain eating jaws with it! ;-D>

          1. re: JeMange
            J.L. Aug 8, 2009 02:23 PM

            Westside Tavern was meant to be the pre-movie dining destination for the Landmark Theater.

            1. re: JeMange
              c
              Cinnamon Aug 8, 2009 02:59 PM

              Have you been there? It opens to the street and is adjacent only to the movie theater lobby, which is a whole street across from the actual shopping mall area. There is a Barnes & Noble next to the theater, so there is the threat of slack-jawed consumer bookworms.

              As J.L. mentioned, it's really more a Landmark Theater before-or-after movie dinner spot.

              Now if you want restaurant-in-mall oddities, I give you the Venetian in Las Vegas, where some really good restaurants are baked into a long indoor mall where tourists go on gondola rides down a fake indoor river.

              1. re: Cinnamon
                JeMange Aug 8, 2009 04:31 PM

                I have been and I did enjoy my meal. I'm just not a fan of the setting. It's the same with Hungry Cat, which would be my favorite restaurant in LA save for the cursed location. It makes me think of the old Kevin Meaney routine where he said that one day, all of us will live in a mall:

                "Good morning shopper Meaney."
                "Good morning shopper Smith."

                If you've seen the apartments at the Americana, you realize that a mediocre comic was something of a sage.

                1. re: JeMange
                  c
                  Cinnamon Aug 8, 2009 10:34 PM

                  LOL, OK, well... steer clear of the Venetian! I do agree it seems odd to have a really good restaurant right at a mall or so close to the theater, but it's wonderfully convenient if you happen to be catching a film.

                  Someplace like Rock Sugar at Century City (and whatever other restaurant is across from it now) is away from most of the din of that mall, so it seems a little more natural perhaps. But perhaps there is more romance in the freestanding restaurant for a restaurant's sake. Now, on that note, I CAN heartily recommend Saddle Peak Lodge up between Malibu and Calabasas, if you haven't been there already and like good game. Dinner is the treasure you get for finding the place the first time. (After that it's easy.)

            2. c
              Cinnamon Aug 8, 2009 11:48 AM

              Had some very nice items there the other night. Not to be missed is the ricotta fritter dessert... involves green cardamom, wildflower honey and some fruity thing on the side. Had a really tasty seared tuna nicoise salad also. Nice staff, too. One thing to keep in mind... don't park in the valet area under the main mall part that has Nordstrom and Macy's, because that closes at 9. Or at least make arrangements with the parking folks there to pay first, and keep your keys, so you can exit.

              1. m
                mdpilam Aug 6, 2009 11:30 PM

                Did you smell a fishy/seafood-y smell in the restaurant? I checked the place out a couple months ago, but after walking in a few feet to the restaurant, I smelled a fishy/seafood smell and immediately left. I absolutely HATE fish and seafood and the smell revolts me. Was it a one time fluke, or should I keep avoiding this place?

                3 Replies
                1. re: mdpilam
                  n
                  New Trial Aug 7, 2009 12:37 AM

                  If it was a one time fluke, no wonder it smelled!
                  http://www.lauraleecaptree.com/specks...

                  1. re: New Trial
                    Servorg Aug 7, 2009 05:02 AM

                    lol...Did you post that just for the halibut? And we have noticed NO fishy smell (or any other sort of unpleasant odor) inside the Westside Tavern while having dinner there. Nor have I seen any such report on Yelp where the Yelper's seem to take great delight in excoriating restaurants for everything and anything (so I figure if there was a problem with a fishy odor it would get plenty of "airtime" -so to speak - over there).

                    1. re: Servorg
                      wutzizname Aug 7, 2009 06:10 AM

                      I don't mean to carp, I enjoyed my one meal at Westside Tavern quite a bit. The size of the crowds are obviously fueled mainly by the multiplex an escalator ride away though. And on my visit the wait was 40 minutes for a table. Not complaining about that, as it was prime Saturday night movie hour, just warning folks to plan accordingly. Considering the location, it's an amazing option for before or after a movie there, or any activity nearby. As long as you don't mind parking in the mall -- which took us another 20 minutes that night.

                      If only the restaurant in the Arclight could do half as good.

                      N.B. Yes, the lamb french dip was the best thing we had. And no, it didn't smell like carp.

                2. Tom P Aug 6, 2009 06:50 PM

                  They do not take reservations. But they seem to turn over quickly, I've never waited longer than 20 minutes and it has been packed all three times I've been.

                  I agree, it is a terrific place. The flatbread as an appetizer is also terrific, just FYI. I love their roast chicken. I've never had anyone I've been with be anything but satisfied. There is a reason it is constantly packed.

                  Oh, and agreed on the drinks!

                  1. Phurstluv Aug 6, 2009 03:45 PM

                    Knew it - I loved his cooking at Whist. Can't wait to go now and have rec'd it to DH for business lunches, I assume they're open for lunch as well.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Phurstluv
                      Phurstluv Aug 6, 2009 06:51 PM

                      OK, before I get tagged, I read they are dinner only.

                      1. re: Phurstluv
                        Servorg Aug 6, 2009 07:43 PM

                        They had been planning on starting up lunch service in July. So maybe they aren't "dinner only" anymore?

                        1. re: Servorg
                          Phurstluv Aug 6, 2009 07:55 PM

                          Guess I should try & call them, latest LA Mag still says dinner only, but they can be notoriously wrong.

                          And, btw, thanks for the input and not the usual lmgtfy.com response!!!

                          1. re: Phurstluv
                            Servorg Aug 6, 2009 08:12 PM

                            Their website now says they are serving lunch every day from 11 AM to 4 PM and then they slip seamlessly into dinner service starting at 4 PM until they close at 10 PM Sun. thru Wed. and 11 PM Thur. thru Sat.

                            http://www.westsidetavernla.com/

                            If everyone starts looking over their shoulder for the dreaded "Let Me Google That for You" then it can probably be retired from service. ;-D>

                            1. re: Servorg
                              Phurstluv Aug 6, 2009 08:29 PM

                              OOhh, happy day!! That means I can go for lunch with the hubby or gfs when the boys are back in school!! Yeah!!

                              I agree, but it is pretty funny, while it lasts!! ;)

                    2. h
                      havepixel Aug 6, 2009 03:37 PM

                      Nice review, and do they take reservations? Their website indicates they don't.

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