Friday, May 16, 2014

Provence Menu and Paul Sanguinetti's Cocktails at Kendall's Brasserie

I've always only thought of Kendall's Brasserie as that pre-theatre and opera restaurant. Sure, it's a Patina restaurant, but I never really tried to visit the restaurant sitting below the Ahmanson and Dorothy Chandler. Their cocktail menu has gotten a big revamp, as well - more on that in a bit.

Well, recently I finally made it in to try their limited-time Provence menu. I started with the Chabrirou Gratinée (Baked Goat Cheese on Potato Salad, Mixed Frisée-Arugula Salad, Picholine Olives - $15)

Goat Cheese
How can you go wrong with warm baked goat cheese? You can't!

Brandade Cake (salted cod and potato cake, fennel, arugula salad - $16)
Cod Brandade

The cocktails here have gotten a huge upgrade since Paul Sanguinetti (Ray's and Stark Bar) took over the menu. He has a few special ones for the Provence menu ($12 each).
I started with the St. Tropez Swizzle (Absolut Elyx Vodka, Imbue Petal and Thorn Rose Vermouth, Chamomile Syrup, Fresh Lemon Juice, Fever Tree Soda Water, Crushed Ice)

My friend had the Rose Wishes and Lavender Dreams (Aviation Gin, Cotes de Provence Rose, House Made Lavender Syrup, Fresh Lemon Juice, St. Germain, Shaken, Served Up).

While I tend to be wary of gin and lavender cocktails for fear it would be too "soapy", it was not the case with this one. Aromatic but well balanced.

We enjoyed the Steamed Mussels Provencal with White Wine, Garlic, Shallots, Tomato, Fennel ($15)
My friend even asked for extra bread to soak up the broth.

Another cocktail on the Provence menu is a nice variation of Negroni called the Nice Negroni (Nice as in the French city). Instead of Campari, Paul substituted Salers Gentian, an herbal, bitter liqueur that is not quite as bitter as Campari. This was mixed with gin, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, lillet rose, and garnished with a lemon peel.

For the entree we tried the Calamari Sétoise (Rice and Greens Stuffed Calamari, Minute Ratatouille - $25)
Stuffed Calamari
I've had calamari stuffed with sausage but never with rice and vegetables, which I found quite nice. The overall flavor of the dish is rather earthy, which is unusual for a calamari dish to me.

Our other entree: Braised Pork Cheeks and Panisse Provençale Daube, Chickpea Fries, Tapenade ($29)
Pork Cheeks
Not as exciting as the calamari but the pork was pretty tender.

The newest menu revamp at Kendall's is the brunch menu, which also included new brunch cocktails. I tried Paul's version of the Ramos Gin Fizz with Aviation gin, lemon juice, lime juice, and orange blossom foam.
Gin Fizz

As you can see, this is not a classic Ramos Gin Fizz, but uses a housemade orange blossom foam instead of being shaken for a long time with orange flower water and egg white. This is probably a better way to maintain consistency for the location, and the slightly sweet foam is a nice touch for a solid cocktail.

The Provencal desserts included Tarte Tropezienne and a Chocolate Pear Charlotte Vanilla Poached Pear, Chocolate Mousse, Pistachio Sauce ($10)
I've never had Tarte Tropezienne before this but I'm not sure I'm really into it ... on the other hand, I enjoyed the chocolate pear charlotte.

On the regular dessert menu, there's a housemade absinthe ice cream with chocolate chips. If you like absinthe, this is a must try!
Absinthe ice cream
Kendall's Brasserie also has a happy hour, which may be a good time to get a cocktail and try some absinthe ice cream.

Kendall's Brasserie
135 N Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 972-7322
Kendall's Brasserie on Urbanspoon


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