Wednesday, November 16, 2011

City Tavern

Table taps at a restaurant? When do we get to go? One of downtown Culver City’s newest offerings is City Tavern. It’s brought to us by the same people behind Rush Street a few doors down with a decidedly more casual feel. One of the main draws is that you can reserve a table with taps, thus eliminating the need to wait for your next drink…they also serve food so how could I say no to a comped media dinner?

Table Taps

We started with a few appetizers. Burrata with butternut squash, pepitas, sweet anise crisp ($10). It’s nice to see burrata paired with something other than tomatoes whose season are coming to an end. There was pureed butternut as well as a few chunks with the pepitas making this a sweet, salty, creamy treat.

Burrata with Butternut Squash

Poutine purists may scoff at City Tavern’s version. With short rib, pimento cheese, and braising jus ($11), it lacks the traditional curds and gravy theme, but is nonetheless, equally pleasing. Perfect beer food.


Meatballs with sweet and spicy sauce ($8) were good and also great beer food.


Cheesy poofs ($8) (yes, named after the snack made famous on South Park). These funny shaped gourgeres are filled with manchego and come with a  house buttermilk dressing. They are light and crispy and totally addictive.

Cheesy Poufs

Buttermilk fried chicken ($12) is a little bit of a letdown. The succotash and sauce take up too much space on the dish taking focus away from the chicken and making it kind of soggy. The succotash adds a bit of freshness, but I think it should have been on the side of the plate or a separate side dish.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken
One thing that City Tavern does surprisingly well is seafood. We tried a variety of dishes. First up steelhead trout with warm potato salad, capers, smoked bacon ($14). The fish is perfectly cooked and the capers add their signature briny bite.

Steelhead Trout

Shrimp and grits with grilled shrimp, fried cheese grits, braised collard greens ($13). The shrimp is a touch overcooked, but I really appreciate this new spin on shrimp and grits.

Shrimp and Grits

I don’t remember exactly what went in to the skate wing special, but I do remember liking it a lot.

Skate Wing

Ben was not such a fan of the roasted opah with baby artichokes, figs, almonds, port reduction ($14), but I loved the sweet and salty flavors and this was actually my favorite of the seafood dishes.

Roasted Opah

We had a few sides that were not what I hoped and dreamed they would be. Brussels sprouts with bacon, and preserved lemon ($5) were a tad too lemony and the bacon was kind of soggy.

Brussels Sprouts

The curry roasted cauliflower ($6) had good flavor, but I would have liked a bit more char on the cauliflower.

Cumin Roasted Cauliflower

The spinach and bacon salad was forgettable, but the special fall salad with Asian pears, and mix greens more than made up for it with it’s crunchy textures and sweet and tangy flavor.

Fall Salad

As always, I was totally full by this point so I only managed a few bites of each dessert. Rustic apple tart with apricot, apple, and mango sauce, vanilla whipped cream ($7). The crust was nice and flaky. I only tasted apple, not the apricot or mango.

Apple Tart

The restaurant also sells half pints Carmela ice cream ($8) each. Carmela is one of my LA favorites (when I’m not making ice cream myself). The cardamom had an intensely grassy flavor which would probably pair well with another dessert, but on it’s own was kind of strong. The salted caramel paired perfectly with the apple tart and was reminiscent of my apple cheesecake bars.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Chocolate tart with marshmallow topping ($9). Ben did the most damage on this since he doesn’t like fruit (what?!). I enjoyed it, but was really too full at this point to think too deeply about it.

Chocolate Tart

The beers came out pretty foamy, despite us tipping our glasses when we poured. We were assured this was only an effect of the first few glasses, but pretty much all glasses came out this way. The restaurant charges by the ounce, not by how many times you pour so it’s a pretty accurate measure of how much you’ve consumed. Service is quick and friendly, so I assume it wouldn’t be a pain to go and order beers at the bar as well. City Tavern is a great spot for after work drinks and a nibble, or gathering your friends for some birthday debauchery (like a table that was near us).

One year ago: Mixed Berry Acai Smoothie
Two years ago: Cotija Corn Off the Cob
Three years ago: Kale Chips

City Tavern
9739 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 838-9739

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The Duo Dishes said...

The burrata dish may have been the first in your long list of dinner, but it stuck even to the end. Something about that combination is really interesting and sounds great.

marla said...

I have never had poutine, but this post reminds me that I must. Some day :)

Joanne said...

I love the sound of that burrata dish! The cardamom ice cream also has me intrigued...maybe to top an apple pie?

emily (a nutritionist eats) said...

If my husband could pour his own beer, I think he would be very happy...adding it to the always growing restaurant list!

Let Me Eat Cake said...

i want the cheesy poofs!!! looks like solid pub grub!

Diana said...

Dude, butternut squash with burrata? That sounds like your personal holy grail!