The Proper Dining Experience
Visited: August and October 2015
Restaurant Type: American
“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world…”
Channeling our inner Humphrey Bogart, we decided to visit a restaurant known not only for its food…but for its gin. As it turned out, we liked the Flintridge Proper Restaurant & Bar (aka The Proper) so much that we visited again a few weeks later and wished we could have a “neighborhood joint” like this in our neighborhood.
Tracy and I met our friends at this La Cañada Flintridge restaurant to celebrate Jerry’s 70th Birthday. We had been thinking of trying this restaurant since it was recommended by our web designer, Rolando, for its bar, containing the “World’s Largest Collection of Gins” and especially for the flaming Proper Old Fashioned.
The Proper is located on the east end of Foothill Blvd. in a strip mall (don’t drive too fast or you’ll miss it). There was no parking to be found on this Monday evening so we parked on a nearby street. The restaurant has nightly specials, Monday being “Neighborhood Night,” where the second entrée of equal or less value is only $5. Such a deal!
A platter of grilled house-made bread with shredded butter was brought to our table while we perused the menu. Since it was a school night and we could not get our Uber app to work, we didn’t partake of the extensive cocktail list.
However, since I was not the designated driver, I ordered the Proper Gin and Tonic ($12) with Beefeater 24 Gin and Fever Tree Tonic (a new favorite we discovered on our recent trip to Spain). The menu said that this version of the Gin & Tonic was “originally developed as a Malaria cure for British officers.” Even though I was malaria-free, it was very good.
Jerry had a birthday martini to start. Jerry’s martini was served in a small glass with a side carafe of extra martini (ala Musso & Frank’s).
The table shared two Wedge salads ($9) to start. The house-made blue cheese dressing was phenomenal. Tracy and Jerry had the swordfish special on a bed of potatoes which was actually large enough to be shared.
Melissa decided to go with the American pot roast ($19) which was fork tender and served in a cast iron skillet with garlic mashed potatoes, sautéed greens and baby carrots. Kevin and I both ordered the grilled New York steak ($28) with Béarnaise butter, garlic mashed potatoes and Noel’s Brussels sprouts with bacon and Parmesan cheese. The steak was huge and cooked to perfection. Our waitress, Alexandria, was a hoot and even photo bombed Jerry’s birthday picture for us.
The Tuesday night Pot Pie special ($19) is something we would like to try in the future.
While Kevin and I checked out the bar, the owner talked to Tracy and Melissa about the Artisanal cheese selection, which included an American blue cheese, which had recently won against its French competitors for the first time ever. Although we didn’t try a hamburger, the restaurant was recently awarded Top 10 Best New Hamburgers by LA Weekly. Some friends have told us that the burgers here are “stupendous.”
The restaurant hosts many events and tastings. Be sure to check out their very cool website with cocktail recipes and a gin tasting guide.
A few weeks after our first Proper experience, we returned to The Proper on a Sunday evening for Prime Rib night with our friend Susan. We were there early (5:15 p.m.) as we were attending a Halloween event at Descanso Gardens (see Maitai’s Musings for event and California Dreaming for Descanso Gardens description). This time we were seated in the bar area and were lucky enough to have Alexandria again as our waitress.
She talked me into trying (a not too difficult task) the flaming Proper Old Fashioned ($14). The drink has “Angostura bitters and a dash of peach bitters.” They “set the glass on fire to caramelize the sugar, add ice, Old Forester bourbon and then garnish with flamed orange.” Yes, if you drink too many you could get lit rather easily. We were slightly disappointed they did not flambé it at the table, but I guess the fire department wouldn’t be very happy with that (flaming drink photo courtesy of L.A. Weekly).
I opted for the tomato basil bisque to start…
…followed by a HUMONGOUS prime rib served with roasted carrots and garlic mashed potatoes ($28). Tracy and Susan wisely decided to share their prime rib ($3 split fee). By the way, we were a little early…the Prime Rib meal starts about 6 p.m., however the cocktails made the wait quite worthwhile.
To be perfectly honest, the prime rib is not quite in the class of a Lawry’s or the Dal Rae in Pico Rivera, however neither is the price, and the cut was still very, very good.
Corkage is $15 per bottle.
Since gin is my new libation of choice, I think we will have to go back for a tasting one of these evenings.
As stated earlier, I wish we had a restaurant like this closer to us. From The Proper website: “The Neighborhood Restaurant Reinvented. The Flintridge Proper was created by local entrepreneur and longtime area resident, Brady Caverly, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, who live in the area, have kids in the local schools and are passionate about great food, proper libations and friendly, gracious service. They were originally inspired by the sense of a genuine community center they found in the “pub culture” of England and Ireland where three generations of families would gather to share a pint, a story and a smile – A culture that was so authentic and specific to an individual community that the British actually refer to “their” neighborhood pub as “their local.” The Caverly’s goal was to create a similar environment here that would truly embody what their family loves about the La Cañada Flintridge community – A place that would be so specific to this community they love that if you only had a half hour and to convey to a visiting friend all that is wonderful about La Cañada Flintridge, sharing a cocktail at the Proper bar would tell them all they need to know.”
Maitaitom rating… (Dinner) 4.2 maitais out of 5 • (Cocktails) 4.8 maitais out of 5
Flintridge Proper Restaurant & Bar
464 Foothill Blvd
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. • Friday 11:30 a.m. – 1 a.m. • Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 1 a.m. • Sunday 8:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Parking: Parking lot free…or nearby street parking
Website: theproper.com • http://theproper.com/the-proper-bar/our-gins/