It was only a matter of time before The Lady of Virbilia took a stab at Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne's Tavern in Brentwood, throwing down 2.5 stars. Right away SIV states, "Tavern is just a wee bit disappointing in terms of its food at this point, which is very much in the Lucques genre but not quite there yet." Perhaps the restaurant/cafe/bakery/larder falls a bit short because of its ambition to serve three meals a day, in addition to acting as an "abbreviated gourmet shop," which is all clearly quite the undertaking. Nonetheless, SIV dotes on the sleek, "sophisticated and welcoming" space that looks like an updated London tavern. Straying not to far from her AOC and Lucques roots, Goin serves up a short menu of reinvented California-Mediterranean" fare at a somewhat reasonable price point with most main courses under $30. However, SIV warns that you may want to stick with the starters and desserts.
While the menu choices frequently change, SIV deems Goin "some kind of genius with first courses and salads," like the multicolored heirloom tomatoes with roasted baby eggplant, pesto and "some deliriously good fried mozzarella," and the "lovely" roasted asparagus with fried egg. Other hits include the merguez with apricots, and the duck sausage with a kumquat marmalade. As for main courses, this "is where the menu tends to falter." SIV calls them "clumsy" with "a blur of flavors," though she did find a couple of dishes to her fancy like the mussels and clams steamed in vermouth and the devil's chicken. Unfortunately, all fish is overcooked and the grilled lamb is "messy and unattractive." As for dessert, the " impeccable" fruit crumble with juicy peaches and blackberries is a success, as is the chocolate coupe "that combines a gutsy espresso granita with rich praline ice cream." Though Tavern isn't perfect it's a " swell spot for breakfast" and "the best thing going in this part of town." [LAT]
THE ELSEWHERE: The Find tries Beijing specialties at Ning Jie, LAmag takes a turn at Domenico in Silver Lake, LAist gives Ludo Bites a shot, the OCR brunches at Mark's, OCW does the taco truck thing at Alebrije’s Grill, Sinosoul does Korean at Al Be Ne, and LA and OC Foodventures samples French fare at Melisse.