Butchers & Barbers: Hollywood Boulevard stop for bone-in chops, whiskey
Name of restaurant: Butchers & Barbers. Why? Because there’s lots of charcuterie and meat on the menu, and the bar space is a former barber shop, circa 1927 (there’s a barber chair at the entrance and meat hooks repurposed as light fixtures).
Chef/owner: This is the first restaurant by Jonnie and Mark Houston (of Houston Hospitality), owners of popular L.A. nightspots including La Descarga, Harvard & Stone and Pour Vous. The executive chef is Luke Reyes, who trained under chef Ming Tsai in Boston. Here in Los Angeles, Reyes previously cooked at the Gorbals, Tasting Kitchen and the Corner Door.
Concept: “Classic American bistro” serving “polished, yet unfussy comfort fare.” Just a few of the current menu items include grilled meats, kampachi crudo and several options for vegetarians. Lovers of charcuterie will be happy to know that Reyes is making pâtés and rillettes in-house and plans to cure his own meats in the near future. Like all Houston Hospitality properties, the decor at Butchers & Barbers is an integral part of the experience. It’s old-timey, cozy and fun.
The bar: Many of the cocktails focus on whiskeys and other darker spirits, all designed to complement the menu. The Sailors Beware goes down very, very smoothly: It’s a potent mix of fig-infused Park cognac, Earl Grey-infused Gosling’s rum, Peychaud’s bitters, lemon and Demerara.
What dish represents the restaurant, and why? The 18-ounce, bone-in pork chop (cooked with the fat cap for flavor) comes on a bed of lentils and is topped with a pine nut gremolata. It’s tender, rich and soaks up the booze perfectly. Runner-up: The roasted cauliflower with brown butter breadcrumbs and sheep milk feta is a great choice for vegetable lovers. Hankering for just a nibble with that cocktail? The popcorn with roasted garlic, rosemary and thyme oil is addictively delicious.
Who’s at the next table? A twentysomething couple (he’s sporting a rather large man-bun) eating oysters, plus a group of women drinking in the far corner. By 8 p.m., the bar and restaurant are packed.
Appropriate for ...: Date night, girl’s night, boy’s night or anyone in search of hearty grub and drinks on busy Hollywood Boulevard.
Uh-oh ...: Most of the main courses are served in very large portions. Suitable for sharing, sure, but maybe show up very hungry if it’s just two of you.
Service: Friendly and knowledgeable.
What are you drinking? Cocktails! Standouts include the Sailors Beware (see above) and the Greta Garbo, made with hazelnut-infused Belle Meade bourbon, benedictine, honey, Angostura bitters, and citrus oils.
Info: Butchers & Barbers, 6531 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 461-1464, www.butchersandbarbers.com.
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