Friday, December 30, 2011

Beer Belly: A gem of bar tucked away in Ktown

Just a street away from the Wiltern Theatre on Western Street, is the half-year-old gastropub Beer Belly. It may be located in Koreatown, but the food and drinks are not Korean. Here you'll find a nice selection of craft beers. The food menu is not expansive but they do serve up some interesting dishes.

The bar is tucked away on Western Ave and is a bit hard to find. But once you're there, you'll be elated to know that they offer valet - something that is very important in this scarce parking area of Koreatown.

Beer Belly is snug and was rather empty at 6.30pm when we got there. However the hipster crowd started packing in at 8pm. You have to order your food and drinks from the bar, and the waiter will bring the food to your table.

For our beer sampler, the bartender helped us choose a balanced selection of Taps Cream Ale, Stone Vertical Epic Ale, Bootlegger's Chocolate Mint Porter and The Bruery Mischief.

Duck fat fries ~ Smoked Salt, Sweet Onion Sugar, Duck Skin Cracklins, Raspberry Mustard
They also had an option to add duck confit for an extra $2. The fries were pretty darn good. They were crispy and a tad airy. I really enjoyed the crumbles of crunchy duck skin cracklins which tasted fatty and salty. The fries were served with a sweet fruity sauce which wasn't spicy. I thought the sweet sauce was an interesting and nice pairing to the fries.

Brussels Sprouts, Apple, Pancetta, Onions
The slightly charred Brussels sprouts were dressed with a sweet and tangy apple sauce. The sprouts got its smokey and salty flavoring from the large chunk of lardons.

Duck Stewed Navy Beans, Duck Confit, Ground Lamb, Fried Pork Belly, Cassoulet
We were lucky to score the last cassoulet of the night. The cassoulet actually looked like baked polenta. The cassoulet was salty and somewhat creamy. The beans were a mixture of textures: some were mashed and some were firmer. I enjoyed the crispy fried skin and shredded pork belly that topped the dish. Overall a rich and satisfying dish with lots of meaty flavors.

Beer Belly is a great addition to the area. Don't get me wrong, I do like Korean BBQ and Soon Du Bu, but a cool bar serving good food and beer a couple blocks from the Wiltern is truly priceless. Their Sunday brunch menu sounds spectacular with dishes such as duck confit benedict and snickers pancakes. My only issue that night was that the bar area got real crowded, and since you have to head up to the bar for another round of drinks, the hassle of waiting behind a hoard of people while flagging down the one bartender was too much of a hassle on a weeknight. I ended up heading home for my last drink of the night.

Beer Belly
532 S. Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 387-2337

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