Friday, October 9, 2009

Now I Know What My Food Looks Like: Tavern, Brentwood

Thank god for pictures or else I wouldn't have realized how pretty the food we ordered at Tavern for the celebration of my friend, Diana Takes A Bite 26 years of gracing the earth with her sitcom-esque (and I mean that in an endearing way) existence. It was a highly anticipated event, from the decision of the actual restaurant to the scrutinizing of the menu via twitter and foodie emails. It was a can't-miss event, not to be penciled, but penned with permanent marker on the calender: my favorite LA food blogger's birthday (yes, I am her second fiddle, thank you very much) and we wanted the best of Tavern, Suzanne Goin's third child (one and two being Lucques and A.O.C) which I've never been to. This was also going to be my fancy pants dinner splurge for the month. A time to put on a nice dress and valet park.
After my hour long drive to Brentwood, with a mini detour through WeHo thanks to my confusing google maps print-out. I made it Tavern and it was beautiful. The place was filled with swanky Westside looking guests. I hesitated the moment I stepped inside regretting I had worn black leggings under my dress. But then I reassured myself, ah heck, I'm from the Eastside and that's how we do. It was tres opaque inside. I spotted the D Takes a B dinner party in the back corner, barely, using the blonde hair of my tall lady friend as a beacon.

Once seated, we got a basket of thick slices of ultra chewy sourdough and raisin walnut bread. The butter was cold as the North Pole, which is never a good thing for spreading supple layers on bread and avoiding the feeling of an entire teaspoon of butter in your mouth at once. I even put the candle under the butter pot in hopes to warm it up a bit. No dice. Nonetheless, we weren't here for the bread, but Suzanne Goin does have a reputation for her bread so it was slightly important.

The birthday girl and I decided to split an appetizer, which was the best decision I made all night: Soft shell crab with sweet corn salad and green harissa ($18). Everything about it was fresh and the flavors of the sweet crab and corn really shined. If I was ever to return to Tavern, I would get this as my main dish.
For mains I got the market fish ($26), a white Mediterranean fish with tomato confit, cucumbers and quinoa. By the time it arrived, it had gotten even darker and I felt like I'd come down with a heavy case of macular degeneration. I really had no idea what it looked like. I don't even know how the picture came out more or less straight. I just started stabbing the plate with my fork in hopes of spearing some of the fish and then guiding the fork to my mouth without spilling all over myself. It tasted like fish and tomato soup, but a really good kind. And then there were bites of nutty quinoa and cold crisp cucumbers. And yogurt, which I would never want to put on my fish, but tried it any way. Besides, I had no discretion where my fork was going every time I reached down onto the plate.
The birthday girl had a little lamb ($27), which came skewered on rosemary branches, just like ancient times? The lamb was accompanied by polenta, peppers, currants, eggplant, and pine nuts. When the waitress described this dish to our table we questioned the flavor combinations. Eggplant with currants? But she assured it would be the perfect entree for the birthday girl to get. I tried a piece, and although the meat was cooked perfectly, it tasted like forest, wood: words normally used to describe men's cologne. Things that make you go hmmmm.

Another dinning compatriot ordered the halibut grilled in fig leaves ($27) which, seemed well applauded. The meal ended there for me, as I lost my mojo to eat desert that night. However, the birthday girl and fellow dinning mates loved the "Snicker's bar" ($10) dessert with salted peanuts, caramel, and vanilla ice cream. Next time I will save room and a bring flash light!

11647 San Vicente Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 806-6464


Paul said...

One word, long vowel: Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum.

Diana said...

Totally mcjel of your market fish entree - thanks so much for sharing a bite! Woodsy lamb is just not for me!

I'm so so glad you penned my bday celebration into your calendar - it was great having you there! :) Next up, the big O!

Banana Wonder said...

Paul, Welcome to BananaWonder! Thanks for sttopping by.

Diana, Woodsy lamb are for hunter men only I think! Of course I penned in your bday - but wait, what's the big 0?? You're not all of a sudden turning 30 on me and I'm turning 29 this year ;)

Gastronomer said...

You're an awesome writer! Wish I could have been at Tavern with y'all!

fam. Constantinides said...

Kissis (auntie) Marion

Diana said...

The Big O = O MOZZA!

Banana Wonder said...

Hey Gastronomer, I hope to hang out with you officially soon. I've been living vicariously through all the good things D takes a B is saying about you.

Marion, fillakias right back at you my Dutch auntie.

Diana, OOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! Duh! I can't wait for it.