It's not every day that a brewery owner talking about his first restaurant endeavor uses words such as "tuna crudo," "62-degree egg" and "stinging-nettle chimichurri." But then again, Jeremy Raub isn't every brewery owner and Eagle Rock Brewery isn't every beer maker.
Since opening in 2010 the first brewery in Los Angeles city limits since Prohibition, Raub and his brew team have defied many expectations of what the traditionally working-class beverage can and should be. When everyone thought they would open with a West Coast IPA, they made the more demure Populist. When craft beer fans asked for an imperial stout, they released their flagship, Solidarity, an English mild.
So it comes as no surprise that the food menu, upon expanding into brewpub territory — Eagle Rock Brewery Public House, which officially opened for dinner service last week — bears little relation to the burgers and pizza most have come to expect from beer-focused restaurants these days.
"It's thoughtful food, is how we like to describe it," Raub says. "A lot of people in the neighborhood were expecting pub food ... but why can't we have elevated food at a brewpub?"
The Public House takes over the former Fatty's location on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock and is decidedly a new kind of pub. In addition to serving eight taps of Eagle Rock brews (which are, for now, made just down the 2 freeway at the original Glassell Park facility), wines by the glass and bottle and a selection of sour Spanish and California ciders, the food menu is an equally creative mix of small and entree-sized dishes from the mind of executive chef Jerry Su.
Yes, Su is the brother of Raub's wife, co-owner Ting Su, but his involvement is a case of good genes, not nepotism.
Jerry studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa before cutting his teeth at restaurants including Bouchon, Momofuku Ssäm bar and Son of a Gun. Meaning that instead of heavy pork belly sliders or duck fat fries to pair with your Manifesto witbier and Jubilee holiday ale, Jerry is crafting reconstructed Caesar salads (made with kale, Pantaleo cheese and that 62-degree egg); topping seared scallops with raisin miso; and brining, roasting and then frying Cornish hens (which then are topped with stinging-nettle chimichurri).
A raw bar serves up daily oyster selections and a cheese plate is curated by nearby Eagle Rock cheese shop Milkfarm. It's all meant to be consumed in the historic, exposed-wood-and-brick dining room, a space thankfully free of TVs but not natural light.
Eventually, the Public House will add more dinner items as well as lunch service; and after the new year, Raub begins the arduous permitting process to build a small brewery in the unused back half of the property. Until then, the original brewery (which, of course, will maintain its regular taproom hours for drinking, growler fills and food-truck eats) will churn out small-batch beers made specifically for the Public House.
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"It's nice to support food trucks at the brewery, but this is how we like to eat," Raub says. "Sometimes, I just want to eat oysters and drink a beer."
Eagle Rock Brewery Public House, 1627 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, (323) 739-0081