Not too long ago, many Angelenos had never heard of a "gastropub." (Some of us confused it with "gastropod" -- a snail or slug with one big foot doubling as a stomach.) The word emerged in London in 1991, combining "gastronomy" and "pub" to describe bar fare more sophisticated than the traditional shepherd's pie, fish and chips, and pickled eggs -- whatever might go down well with beer. Chef Casey Lane's newest restaurant, The Parish in downtown L.A., follows the example of England's elevated pub grub. It opens Friday, July 27 for dinner.
Lane is a Texas-native who worked in Oregon before opening The Tasting Kitchen in Venice. He says his interest in English food stemmed from admiration for London chef Fergus Henderson, author of The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating, an acclaimed cookbook originally subtitled A Kind of British Cooking.As fans of the Italian and Mediterranean-inspired The Tasting Kitchen know, Lane is committed to preparing nearly everything from scratch. He adjusts the Tasting Kitchen menu daily according to the ingredients on hand -- often parts of a whole animal.
The Parish will do its butchering and curing in-house, and offer dishes such as pork head pot pie and pigs feet (served poutine-style along with tallegio cheese and arugula). Also look out for chicken liver mousse on sherry toast and onion rings, and fried frog legs accompanied by jalapeno slaw with sauce gribiche. Other fried foods include olives, oysters, chicken (complemented by heirloom tomatoes) and, of course, fish and chips. You'll find vegetables, too: beets with herbs and horseradish yogurt, grilled corn with honeycomb butter, daal lentils with chutney toast, and a "pot of pickles." No pickled eggs, but rather deviled eggs.
To drink, John Coltharp (formerly of Seven Grand and Caña Rum Bar) is selecting beers from L.A. and Orange County breweries to supplement an extensive wine list. He's also crafting more than a dozen cocktails including the Historic Core (applejack, Green Chartreuse, rye whiskey and vermouth), and certain drinks will feature "distinctive ice cubes."
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The two-story Parish, a brick, flatiron building wedged into a triangular plot, doesn't resemble a stereotypical London pub. The casual first floor dining room, anchored by an open kitchen with counter seats, extends onto a front patio. You'll find the bar and lounge upstairs. Vintage-inspired touches such as wood paneling and iron sconces are meant to evoke downtown's golden age of the '20s and '30s. (Bishop Pass did the design.)
Dinner runs 5:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. nightly, with the bar open until 2 a.m. Daily breakfast could begin within the next few months, followed by lunch service and weekend brunch. Meanwhile, Lane is getting ready to open Itri, featuring hand-made pastas, in the fall. Mark Meyuhas and Bruce Horwitz, co-owners of The Tasting Kitchen and The Parish, are behind that venture as well.
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