It wasn’t too long ago that I was posting about a great new fusion sushi restaurant called Zu Robata. However, as time went by, Zu Robata wasn’t garnering much of a client base. The husband and I often found this overlooked space empty at key hours, and that was before the recession. The restaurant tried changing their menu a few times, but unfortunately, it lost a lot of what made it so good in the first place. And, it wasn’t too long until I found myself saying that I was not going back again.
Three weeks after I made that declaration, the Husband and I happened to be driving past the location on our way home from dinner, to find that there was a new sign out front: Bar Food. Of course, we couldn’t resist, popped a u-turn, and made our way in to check it out.
Strangely, it was exactly the same. Same soujou containers, same silverware and glasses, even the old lighted Zu Robata sign was up. But there was a new owner who had completely changed the menu to upscale, minimalist American food. Also, there were a few tvs tuned to sports channels for good measure, and a couple of diners at the bar. This was defintely a new restaurant.
That night, we had a delicious desert, and made a date to return for dinner.
When we did return, we still found the place to be pretty dead. However, we were excited to see if the entrees would turn out as well as the desserts (which, by the way are made by a pastry chef on site - including the amazing ice cream).
First, I have to mention one thing. It felt as though the owner wanted to put as little money into this place as possible. Not only was the space exactly the same as Zu Robata, as I already mentioned, but the menu is just a piece of paper printed from the computer and put in a protective sleeve:
Despite that, though, there is no skimping in the food and the service departments - both are excellent. Our waitress was very friendly and helpful, and the owner came around to introduce himself to us. This is also a great restaurant for beers on tap - they only serve their beer on tap, and had 12 on tap when we were there, with plans to add more. The husband ordered a black and tan, which he found to be perfect, and I ordered their house merlot, which was very smooth and easy to drink.
As an appetizer, the Husband and I chose to split the arugula salad:
This salad was amazing. The Husband is not into what he likes to call “rabbit food” salads, but this is nothing like that. The arugula’s peppery flavor was balanced perfectly with the slightly sweet and tangy vinegarette, creamy blue cheese, and sweet, crisp pears. The Husband proclaimed: “It tastes like steak!” That’s as good of an endorsement from a man eating a salad that you can get.
Next up, the entrees. The Husband opted for the Thai Bangers & Mash:
Nice presentation, right? Anyway, what makes this dish unique is that the sausages had a thai flavor - perhaps lemon grass and cilantro? And that green blob is cilantro mashed potatoes. The sausages were savroy and perfectly cooked, and the potatoes were flavorful and smooth. Overall, this was a very interesting and delicous entree.
But, by far the clear winner on the menu is the cheese burger:
Ummmmmmm…..just look at all of that cheese burgery goodness. It is the perfect ratio of juicy meat to cheese, bun, sauteed onions, and arugula. I would say this is by far the best burger I have had in LA, and it’s only $9! A similar burger at most restuarants would go for between $16 and $25 (but you already knew that from watching Carl’s Jr commercials). Honestly, though - this burger is amazing. The ouside is crusty, and the inside is juicy. The cheese is melted to perfection, and yet not too gooey as to make a mess. The onions are sweet and tender. Okay, enough. I am drooling as I relive it.
To round out the meal, we shared an order of the sweet frites - sweet potato fries:
These were definitely very good: they came out fresh and hot, and were served with a tangy, spicy mayo for dipping. Since then, we have also had the regular fries, which are also very good. It really just depends on your mood.
Finally, to top off our dinner, we had to have more of that fabulous dessert that had brought us back. There are a few items to choose from on the menu, but everyone who works there (and I happen to agree) says that the apple tart is the best dessert item, so that is what we ordered:
The tart itself is a very thin pastery filled with thinly sliced apples and spiked with cinnamon. It’s drizzled with caramel and a creamy vanilla sauce, and topped with their house made caramel ice cream. This is heaven. We shared, but we fought over every last bite. You might want to get two.
While I was sad to see Zu Robata fade and finally disappear, I can’t complain that Bar Food has taken it’s place. I know the Husband and I will be back to visit this neighboorhood spot again and again, and I hope that it is able to survive in the turbulent restaurant world.
Bar Food is located at 12217 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: (310) 820-3274