Beauty And The Little Beast
Visited June 28th, 2015
Restaurant Type: New American
Thanks to the generosity of TravelsWithMaiTaiTom subscribers Jenny and Nik (a very nice gift card), Tracy and I were treated to quite a delicious dinner at Little Beast, a quaint neighborhood restaurant in Eagle Rock. We heard so many great things about this place, so we were very excited to try it out on a recent Sunday evening, well, late afternoon as it turned out. I had gone online a few days previously, and the only time slots available were 5:30 and 8. Since this was a “school night,” we opted for 5:30, which as we would find out was optimal. They have an interesting reservation policy (check out “Facts” below).
Little Beast occupies a charming 1911 bungalow on the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Loleta Avenue (former site of Larkin’s). The restaurant is the brainchild of former Chateau Marmont sous chef Sean Lowenthal and his wife, Deborah Schwartz.
It is another in the wave of restaurants offering menus that encourage plate sharing. It also has larger main dishes. The menu changes seasonally.
There was seating available outside, but since it was humid, we decided on indoor dining. As it turned out to be very warm inside as well, upon further reflection, we should have probably dined on the patio to the side of the building (there’s not much to be done about humidity, which is why Florida is not on my short list of places to visit). We entered through a small bar area and were seated in a very cute room (probably the living room in 1911).
Beauty came in a couple of different forms on this evening. First, the food is gorgeously plated…not that we viewed it for very long. Every dish we tried was so delicious that Tracy, Susan and I quickly devoured each and every one.
Secondly, the prices turned out to be beautiful, because (unbeknownst to us) we hit the last half hour of The Little Beast Happy Hour (every day except Friday and Saturday, they offer ½ price small plates and two special wines ($5 white & red between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.). Suddenly, I didn’t feel bad that we were having a “Sunset Dinner.”
We started by sharing the “small plates.”
First up, Hamachi “Tataki,” yellowfin tuna on a bed of heirloom tomato guacamole, with sorrel aioli, topped with crispy potatoes …$14 ($7 happy hour price). The guacamole was fantastic!!
Next, we tried the Chipotle hummus served in a small jar with hot, freshly fried smoked paprika pita crisps. An extra serving of pita crisps at no charge…$8 ($4 happy hour price). Humma Hummas…we were in the chips, baby!
We continued with the Burrata Caprese (which sounds like it should be a classical music piece), burrata and heirloom tomatoes, with basil, mint, balsamic, extra virgin olive oil and arugula served on a baguette…$14 ($7 happy hour price).
Our favorite small bites dish was served next: Crispy Brussels Sprouts (yes, Brussels Sprouts) and sweet potato in a maple vinaigrette, with cashews and nori topped with crispy sweet potato chips…$9 ($4.50 happy hour price).
There was one special for the evening, lasagna, which we passed on. For the main course, Tracy and Susan dined on the cauliflower risotto ($18) with Meyer lemon, pecorino, aged Gruyère, pickled cauliflower, peppadew puree, and micro celery. I ordered the charred skirt steak ($25) served with asparagus, watercress, red wine demi-glace and two giant crispy samosas (fried pastries that can double as nightsticks) stuffed with mashed potatoes and mint. The samosas exploded with taste. We might have to learn how to make those. Both main dishes were excellent!
We had decided to pass on dessert, but when our terrific waiter Desmond mentioned a Brioche Bread Pudding topped with Crème Anglaise, Cinnamon Caramel and Whipped Cream ($10), I thought, “What’s an extra 1,000 calories amongst friends?” It tasted as wonderful as it sounds.
The corkage fee was $18 per bottle, but with the Happy Hour Special wines (we all tried the $5 Spanish White Rioja Solar de Estraunza…Tracy, and I were still in Spain mode) we didn’t open the bottle we had brought with us.
Susan and Tracy shared an excellent Prosecco Borgo Del Col Alto ($11/$42) with dinner, while I (taking advantage of the fact I was not driving) tried a glass of the Sangiovese ($13/$50) and glass of an Argentinean Cabernet Sauvignon ($12/$46), while also stealing much of the ladies’ Prosecco. I take this “sharing” thing seriously!
By the time we had eaten half the menu the gift card was history, but so was our hunger. We will certainly return and try some of the other menu items that would not quite fit into our expanded stomachs on this evening.
Little Beast also serves up some other surprises. Desmond told us that each Monday Little Beast offers a Crispy Fried Chicken dinner complete with Buttermilk Biscuits, Coleslaw, Honey and Sweet Butter from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. And every Tuesday, you can come for “Date Night.” Dinner for two is only $35.
This is one “Beast-ly” experience. I will look forward to trying again and again in the future. The Little Beast in Eagle Rock…rocks!
Maitaitom rating: 4.7 maitais out of 5
1496 Colorado Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. • Friday/Saturday: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. • Sunday: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Happy Hour: Sunday – Thursday: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Street Parking: Free
From their website: (We accept reservations up to three months in advance for parties of up to 5. For parties of 6 or more, please call 323-341-5899. Please note that 40% of our restaurant is set aside for walk-in guests. Reservations are held for 15 minutes unless a guest calls to inform us they are running behind. Parties of 10 or more will need to choose a limited menu to ensure proper service and execution due to the size and limitations of our kitchen.)