Despite my proximity, I always feel like the neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silverlake, and Echo Park are a bit too cool for me. My mostly H&M wardrobe seems tame in comparison to the boots, skinny jeans, and band t-shirts I see so many people wearing. However, there a ton of great restaurants in the area and new ones are opening seemingly every day. On a recent Friday, I was invited to sample the offerings at Mohawk Bend in Echo Park. An old movie theater turned restaurant/bar, this place caters to the eclectic crowd in the neighborhood. Tony Yanow of Tony Darts Away, LA Vegan Beer Festival, and soon to be open Golden Road Brewing has created a spot that can fulfill your cravings at any given moment. The menu is 60% vegan and there is no chicken or beef in the non-vegan options. It is entirely possible to have a satisfying dinner of fish, pork, duck, and vegan salads...vegan pizzas...not so much.
To get the night started off right, I ordered a Mischief by The Bruery. There is a small, well-crafted cocktail list, an extensive beer list, and a short (two options only) wine list. Mischief is my favorite beer of the moment.
We were sent platters of flatbreads with assorted dips. In our case hummus, eggplant, and ricotta. They were all good, but I only had tiny bites of each knowing that a lot more food was about to be on the way.
In a group setting, it seems you are obligated to order calamari. This Monterrey squid is fried and paired with a jet black, squid ink aioli ($11). It's good and though the color of the aioli may be off-putting to some, it has a nice tang and pairs well with the light sweetness of the squid.
Spanish stuffed dates wrapped in bacon and stuffed with chorizo ($6) are a non vegan dream. Sweet dates and salty bacon are already great, but the smoky chorizo on the inside really puts these over the top.
I usually don't like eggplant, but I really liked these eggplant rolls with serrano ham, smoked mozzarella, and basil. I think it had to do with the slightly sweet, salty, smoky combo that I just love so much.
We were soon greeted with pizzas. One vegan caprese and one non-vegan caprese (not pictured) (Both $11). Vegan cheese...well, I can't say I like it. It's kind of like cheese flavored marshmallow fluff.
The restaurant plays up to it's movie theater setting. The Abe Frohman pizza ($12) (named after Ferris Bueller's alter ego in a restaurant) is topped with cheese, sausage, and peppers.
The other non-vegan pizza we had was the Private Idaho ($12) with bacon, potatoes, caramelized onions, and creme fraiche. Though I still don't understand potatoes on pizza (carbs on top of carbs?), I quite enjoyed this. So much so, that I didn't get a picture.
We had more success with the vegetarian/vegan options with the salad. We made the JJ Kale non vegan by topping it with some feta, but you really can't go wrong with kale, lemon juice, tomatoes, and jicama. Crunchy and refreshing.
Also refreshing was The Flash Gordon salad ($9) with little gem lettuce, citrus, dill dressing, pickled onions, and pine nuts.
One of the popular vegetarian main dish options is the squash and chips ($11). The seltzer batter is a little bland, but the yuzu ponzu more than makes up for it. I wanted to drink it (but I didn't)
My final course of the night (I had to leave early so I missed dessert) was the Dork Burger ($14). It's a freshly ground duck and pork burger with fennel, pickled onions, and apple. We all ordered it with the optional gruyere and fried duck egg. This is messy and hard to eat, but kind of fun. It's way too rich for one person and can easily be shared between two or three people.
I had a great time at Mohawk Bend. Service was a little spotty (they kept bringing us things meant for other tables) and I think it's really more of a drinks and appetizer place than somewhere to have a full blown dinner. The beer list alone and the fact that it is close by and cab friendly will definitely keep me coming back. The experience has me excited to check out the brewery opening next month.
*All food and drinks were comped. Opinions are my own
2141 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026