Where there are movies, necessarily there must be dinner nearby, or at least a place to grab a microbrew to go with your half-digested Claude Chabrol. And so, an escalator ride away from the Landmark dodecaplex, ground zero for subtitled cinema in West Los Angeles, is the new Westside Tavern, a sprawling, comfortable modern dinner house-slash-cocktail bar, a fortress of fried green beans and carrot caipirhinas, mussels with chorizo and an over-acidic version of the classic Corpse Reviver No. 2.
Could the chicken liver mousse in a jar pass as a body double for the superb one Alain Giraud makes at Anisette? Not quite, but it’s still a mousse worth the trip. Is the jus with the French dip laced with almost a medicinal concentration of rosemary? Sure, although the sandwich, made with lamb from James Ranch in the Sierra foothills, is juicy enough without it. Is the spit-roasted chicken indistinguishable from a dozen other versions in town? Of course, but you probably weren’t looking for transcendence from a post-movie chicken to begin with. Westside Tavern, run by Warren Schwartz, who used to be the chef at Whist, ably fulfills its contract, which is to provide California grill food that’s somewhat better and somewhat less expensive than Houston’s, in a venue unlikely to blast you with Kenny G. And there’s sticky toffee pudding for dessert.
Westside Tavern: 10850 W. Pico Blvd., W.L.A. (310) 470-1539 or www.westsidetavernla.com.
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