The march of the wine bars continues, small plates and boutique vintages, glasses of Bourguiel and Bierzo sneaking into neighborhoods where Sonoma Chardonnay may have been exotic just a few months ago. Perhaps the largest wine bar to open in the last several months is Three Drunken Goats, an enormous dark-wood dining room in a former wine store on the Smalltown U.S.A. main drag of Montrose: open kitchen, racks of wine bottles and ESPN on a flat-screen TV.
Three Drunken Goats is named for the common translation of the Spanish cheese cabra al vino, a goat cheese marinated in lees-fortified wine. Of course, cabra al vino is one of the cheeses on the restaurant’s all-Spanish list, which goes with the all-Spanish menu and the all-Spanish wine list: dozens of Priorats and Jumillas, Riojas and cavas available by the taste, the glass and the bottle.
With La Española, the best Spanish-style sausage maker and cheese vendor in the United States, as a local resource, Los Angeles has seen a lot of tapas bars lately, but unlike a lot of places in town, Three Drunken Goats is more than a slice-and-serve joint. Coins of Spanish chorizo find their way into a truly delicious plate of grilled octopus, as well as in a predictably soupy shellfish paella. (The search for a decent California paella continues.) A cazuela-full of stewed judias beans supports disks of Spanish blood sausage and pillowy-soft chunks of braised pork belly. There are roasted piquillo peppers stuffed with Basque cheese, the inevitable bacon-wrapped dates and grilled lamb chops with mint.
The chef, Jason Michaud, comes to the venture from a long stint at factory Cobras & Matadors, and the cooking is nothing you haven’t seen before at that restaurant or at A.O.C. As always, the small plates, mostly priced from $5 to $15, can add up to a substantial check if you’re not careful. But there’s caution, and then there are freshly fried churros served with a demitasse of melted bitter chocolate. 2256 Honolulu Ave., Montrose, (818) 249-9950.