I love pub food. My father lives in Bridge of Weir, a small village near Glasgow, Scotland. Whenever I visit him our last night out is always at a local pub called the Fox and Hounds. After a few pints of Velvet beer we head upstairs to the Huntsman restaurant. Now, I’m a huge fan of fish-and-chips and bangers-and-mash type pub food. But the dishes upstairs at the Huntsman are always extra special… the amazing local salmon, aged sirloin, charred crayfish & scallops. The casualness of the pub, combined with the first-class meals upstairs just make for a really special evening.
I always wished I had a local pub near me that felt like I was back in Scotland, but not the coerced feeling I get when I visit an “authentic British pub” in Los Angeles. Too many union jack flags and portraits of princess Di, with terrible versions of scotch eggs and shepherd’s pie. Like Disneyland these theme pubs are fun to visit every once in a while, but they could never be a regular hangout for me.
Laurel Tavern. I love the name. It sounds like it’s been on Ventura boulevard for years, but it’s only been open for a few days. Last night we (my husband Peter, and my best friend Laur) went for drinks and dinner. Walking in and taking a seat near the back felt so comfortable. Like we’d been going there for years.
I was expecting the usual American bar food… burgers, maybe a grilled fish taco… Burgers yes (delicious) but Pork Belly Skewers and Marrowbones on the menu? Woa. I think I’ve found my kind of pub! Casual? Yes. Inviting? Yes. Delicious? Yes. Now if only I could get my parents and little brother to fly out from Scotland for dinner tonight… it would be perfect.
What we ate:
We started with the Heirloom Tomatoes and Burrata ($10) then had the Grilled Artichoke filled with Lemon Garlic Walnut Pesto ($10). The Hickory Burger with Caramelized Onions, Tillamook Cheddar and Hickory Sauce ($9). Everything was terrific but my two favorites were the Crispy Pork Belly Skewers served with Lime Wedges and Cilantro ($6 we ordered two) and wait for it…. Hand-cut Fries cooked in HOT PORK FAT ($6). I’ve had fries cooked in duck fat (Citrus at Social) but not PORK FAT! Brilliant! Those were so good and filling that I wasn’t able to order the Roasted Marrowbones… or the Chorizo Fondue… or the Pork Belly Sandwich. I’ll be trying those on my next visit.
Slow-roasted Crispy Pork Belly Skewers.
Hand-cut French Fries cooked in hot PORK FAT, seasoned with sea salt and pepper.
Heirloom Tomatoes with Luscious Burrata.
Updated 10/12/08 We went back for dinner and loved the Chorizo Fondue!
The Chorizo Fondue and the Pork Belly Skewers are my current favorites.
Lovely Roasted Marrowbones
11938 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91614
The Fox and Hounds (in Scotland)
More Laurel Tavern Photos