Three Drunken Goats and the Reign of Spain
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.
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