On a weeknight, Ms Fab and I decided to check out Freddy Smalls Bar & Kitchen for drinks and apps. It was a tiny space, but cozy and familiar, like a modernized version of the Cheers bar. It felt like everybody that walks in are regulars, and love it there.
We strolled past a smattering of tables, and sidled up to the bar, where you really do get to know the 'community' based on sheer proximity to your neighbor - you're almost literally elbow to elbow - order too many plates and you're going to spill over into someone's personal space. Good for those who want to make new friends, not so fun for us who were trying to have a conversation without having to cater to our solitary neighbor who decided it was his duty to 'host' us that entire evening, commenting on our menu choices and plates as they arrived.
Anyways, that's the setting. Let's get on to what they do with it. The food is FANTASTIC. We got excited just looking at the menu, not your run of the mill bar grub - and even more excited to hear that we had made it in time for Happy Hour pricing (on select items). We jumped at the Chicken Liver Mousse on Toasts ($4 regular price / $3 during Happy Hour) caper berry marmalade, frisee, radish. Loved the beautiful balance of creamy, earthy chicken liver mousse with the clean crunch of radish slices, frisee and sweet/tart caper berry marmalade - on a slender slab of artisan toast. We were going to share, so we can taste other food, but ended up ordering a second round immediately after the first bite.
Our friendly bartender asked what kinds of drinks we were into: when I said craft cocktails, layered - he recommended the 5-Star Sidecar ($11) Mexata Star, fresh orange, fresh lemon, Jerry Thomas bitters. I loved this light and refreshing drink, that almost felt healthy. Bitters can sometimes be overpowering but this one was perfectly balanced.
Next up for grub: Pork Belly and Charred Squid ($18) cranberry beans, eggplant, new onion. Big price jump on this one, but loved the offering of charred squid, at a bar!!! It was a dream pairing of gourmet surf and turf. I don't think I've ever seen eggplant used with squid either - kind of an ingenius combination, as evidenced by our rapid inhaling of the entire dish. If we weren't so close to our office (big risk of co-workers coming in, and in fact, one did as we were settling inwith our food) - we would have picked up the bowl and licked it clean.
Time for another drink. There are two things I particularly love in cocktails: cucumber, and some sort of element that brings heat into the mix. So the bartender whipped up a Westside Eastside ($12) Fidencio Clasico mezcal, fresh lime, agave syrup, cucumber, jalapeno - probably my fav drink of the night. I could drink these all day like they were Pressed Juicery concoctions.
I was so occupied with my drink I didn't really take good notes on Ms. Fab's unfortunately. So I think this pic is of Swedish Island ($9) Kanon Organic Vodka, lime, coconut water, orange blossom simple syrup. Ms. Fab liked hers but if memory served correctly, wished she had ordered the Westside Eastside instead.
Last but definitely not least - the dish that made us want to 'jump the bone': Reuben's Gluttony ($24) corned beef, bone marrow, yorkie pudding, carmelized kraut. We didn't really expect this giant platter of insane deliciousness. There was a gigantic bone with gorgeous, buttery marrow inside, topped by finely chopped carrot and I think celery bits for flavor and counterbalancing crunch. There were 'yorkie puddings' that were like giant popovers. Addictive *sweet* sauerkraut. Amazing corned beef that was more like carvings of steak, perfectly cooked. With house made mustards on the side that we wanted to lick off the board.
I know, I know, enough with the innuendos...we are still talking about food here. But us two single ladies definitely left satisfied and ready to come back for more at a moments notice. Freddy Smalls, you've won our hearts through our stomachs.
Flavor - 6 bites
Presentation - 6 bites
Originality - 6 bites
Ambience - 5.5 stars
Service - 6 stars
Overall experience - 6 bites
Price - $ (1 bite mark)
Probability of return visit - 100%
Freddy Smalls Bar & Kitchen
11520 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles,CA90064