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Bar Marmont: Butterflies Stay, Monkeys Gone

From tammyloh, Flickr

We just received some excellent intel in the Eater LA inbox regarding the new Bar Marmont. As we reported yesterday, Carolynn Spence, hailing from NYC's The Spotted Pig, recently took over the reins at the Bar (and soon the Chateau kitchen). Our fears of butterflies being ripped from the ceiling have been soothed. But it's a sad day for anyone who loves the plastic drink toys:

Ate there Sunday evening. Place still pretty much the same (butterflies are safe)---they have a new door replacing the faded glory from your photo, new chairs, etc. but space has same look and feel. Nook is a little more formal, and there are a couple of tables squeezed between the stairs and the rest rooms where the small couch used to be. Martini's served in standard large Martini glasses now (no small glass and backup tumbler) and the monkey's holding the olives have been replaced by standard wooden cocktail sticks.
Not the monkeys!!!!
Cocktail list seems to have been expanded some, with more focus on champagne---bellini's, etc. Basically they haven't screwed it up, but they haven't made it any better. Major question is what the fuck are the female staff being forced to wear nowadays? Dress looks like a hooped lampshade my great aunt used to have in her conservatory---most of the poor girls seem to be wearing sweaters, etc to try to cover it up.

They seem to be focusing on a small menu heavily leaning towards comfort food, with a bunch of small plates and a list of about 7-8 mains. Had a jazzed up version of French Onion Soup to start (theoretically with 7 kinds of onion, but reassuringly old-style) followed by a good braised lamb shank that was reminiscent of the Spotted Pig. Deserts were interesting as well---the pistachio cake and ice cream we shared showed great promise. My partner had the soup and gnocchi (looked rather traditional and certainly not the gnudi served at the Pig), and with two Bellini's, a decent bottle of Pinot Grigio (they now have a half serious wine list), and coffee the bill for two was $198.

I used to use the place to drink, ocassionally grabbing a burger at the bar to offset the cocktails a little, but was impressed by the food on offer. The space is still much more bar than restaurant, and I can't see it becoming a destination just for the food, but I can see myself ordering food more often at the bar. My great worry was that they were going to ruin the place with the remodelling, but it appears not, thank god. Not sure what it's like getting in on a Friday and Saturday nowadays, but it was pretty relaxed on the Sunday night - crowd was a little older and smarter than before, but not noticeably so. But they need to bring the monkeys back.

We're excited for braised lamb shanks and onion soup, but we can't agree more about the monkeys.
· New Chef at Bar Marmont and Chateau Marmont [Eater LA]