This Week's Restaurant Review, The Condensed Version: The Parish
Anne FishbeinThe bar at The Parish
Food: Lane sites the great gastropubs of the world as his inspiration: St. John in London, The Spotted Pig in New York. As such, he's looking to present upscale pub food -- bar classics with great ingredients and cheffy twists and touches. Over the past six months though, turnover in staff and tweaking on Lane's part has added some more upscale entrees as well, like duck breast cassoulet and grilled branzino. Still, the best food here is elevated drunk food: fried oyster poutine, fried sardines, a burger topped with stinky cheese.
Drinks: As you might imagine, drinks are important to a pub, and The Parish doesn't disappoint. There's a great beer and wine selection, and truly some of the best cocktails downtown.
Looks: While the food and drinks are pretty great, the best thing about The Parish is the way it looks and feels. It's a flatiron-shaped, two-story building, with a cafe downstairs and the main dining room upstairs. From the review: "[The] restaurant...feels like the glassed-in deck of a 1930s ocean liner, sailing through downtown Los Angeles. That's especially true toward the back of the room, the base of this isosceles, where a vintage map of the city holds the place of honor, and the wood walls cast the room in a mahogany light, with a twinkling, clubby, swank feel that embraces you like the romance of an old movie." The Parish is enjoying a moment of popularity right now, and as such it's a little hard to get into, especially in the best part of that upstairs room.
Service: Service can be an issue. Sometimes harried, occasionally downright hostile, often overwhelmed. The bartenders are quick and friendly, and there's a team of incredibly efficient runners/bussers on the floor, but the waiters themselves are struggling a bit.
Takeaway: Two stars (good). There are some truly wonderful things about this restaurant -- the room, the drinks, the poutine. But right now it's a little hard to use the way we'd like to use it, that is as a casual pub. For one thing, it's hard to get into (no fault of theirs, of course). But for another, it's expensive (entrees are in the high $20 range, mostly), and can be uncomfortable and rushed. Occasionally the food doesn't seem as special and the prices might indicate. However, if you manage to snag a spot at the bar, have a few drinks, and partake in the best of this booze-driven menu, you might just fall for The Parish.
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