Monday, January 3, 2011

Tavern Brentwood: Thankfully the Larder saved the day

Tavern in Brentwood is one of my favorite neighborhood hangouts. In a town where there are very few bars, I appreciate the sizable bartop and classy leather coaches. It's a great place to grab cocktails and delicious bite after work. I really like their pork burger (sans cheese), curried chicken and samosas.

Their dining room is set in a gorgeous patio with lots of natural light and live trees. It's definitely a classy joint (with upscale prices), and not a dingy pub which the name might sometimes imply.

The brunch menu includes a nice mix of savory and sweet dishes. They also offer their burgers.

Mimosas to start, made with fresh orange juice.

I was craving a croissant and when I walked in through the Larder (which is attached to the restaurant), I noticed a whole tray of croissants. Unfortunately, when I ordered it from our waiter, he said they had run out of croissants. When I mentioned that I had just seen it at the Larder, he insisted that there were no more left. As it turned out, it was a mistake!!! But I'll get to that later...

Toast basket with butter and seasonal jam cost us $5. This was simply a basket of raisin bread. I'm not sure if it's worth the $5 since they serve complimentary regular bread, but I did like the sweetness from the raisins.

Little gems, shrimp, crab, avocado and buttermilk
This was a nice salad made with fresh ingredients. It was very simple but only had a few pieces of large shrimp.

The tavern “benedict” with prosciutto and myer lemon
I loved the simplicity of the plating and the color combination. The two eggs were perfectly poached and sat on top of a lightly dressed frisee and prosciutto. I'm usually a lover of prosciutto but this was oily because it was probably warmed up or slightly fried. I prefer the fresh and creamier versions that are usually served with melons or on a charcuterie board.

When I took the first bite of this dish, I felt sick and had to spit it out. In my defense, I searched for a napkin but couldn't find one. As it turned out, there was cheese on the brioche, hidden underneath the frisee. First of all, who puts cheese on a benedict?? Second of all, if it's not a common ingredient of a traditional dish, shouldn't they have listed it on the menu? They didn't omit Myer Lemon from the menu description but left out a key component that a sizable portion of the population can't or don't like to consume.

That's the layer of cheese on the toast, and my discarded bite to the right.

The waiter came by and asked how our meal was. I said that I couldn't eat it because there was cheese on the benedict even though it wasn't mentioned on the menu. He said he could bring by another one sans cheese but I was already feeling sick and couldn't have another bite. I was left to consume the raisin bread and another mimosa (when I feel nauseous, eating something sweet helps). I was a bit surprised when he didn't take it off the bill, considering I didn't even swallow a bite. In fact, I also left the prosciutto and eggs untouched on the plate. At a restaurant that charges $5 for bread, $20 for a salad, and $17 for a burger, I would have expected better service and/or a more accommodating restaurant policy.

When I left the restaurant and walked by the Larder, I noticed the same tray of croissants. I asked the person at the counter if these had been here the whole time and she said yes. When I mentioned that our waiter advised us that they had run out, she told me it must have been a mistake in the computer. I was annoyed. Our waiter should have taken a second of his time to check with the Larder when I had told him that I had just seen a tray of croissants. He was obviously too lazy or just plain apathetic.

Our waiter's service and the cheesy benedict really ruined my brunch, but thankfully the flaky croissant and a couple cookies from the Larder saved the day. Next time, I'll pass on the dining room and head straight to the Larder or the bar area, where I've always had excellent service and never had to spit out my food.

Hits: croissant, cookies
Misses: service, cheese not mentioned on the menu
Rating: **

Tavern Brentwood
11648 West San Vicente Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 806-6464


Anonymous said...


Almost went to Tavern for the "Happy Hour" the day before NYE. Until I remember: gdamn that's a pricey HH.

Just like you, I really love the bar space though. Need to be 'mo rich in '11 to afford this.

Banana Wonder said...

Whaaaa? That's annoying about the croissant lie! WTF?!

Diana said...

A lot of people love Tavern's brunch, but I was unimpressed both times I went. That eggs benedict is completely over the top rich. I remember being shocked about the cheese too -- it's really not necessary with the meyer lemon butter sauce and runny yolk. I felt kind of sick after eating it too actually.

That said, I love love LOVE their bar and have spent many happy hours there. Pricey, but I love the space. Prettiest restaurant in the city, in my opinion.

Gastronomer said...

That's two negative Tavern reports in the span of two weeks... Guess that means I will never make the drive from Pasadena to try this place. Thanks for the report! And sorry about the cheese :-(