The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2011

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 84 of 124

ON-PREMISE PATTER In a city as large as Los Angeles, the diversity in the flavors and flairs of bars and restaurants is equaled only by the amount of traffic you’ll hit getting from point A to point B. THE TASTING PANEL calls L.A. home base, but we’re continually surprised by the unique energy of un- or re-discovered gems that make up this sprawling City of Angels. Here’s a closer look at two accounts that are Making L.A. Great by Rachel Burkons / photos by Maria Schriber A Southern (Wine) Revival From 1966 until the early 1990s, Maverick’s GM Earnest Ross knows that his customers want a name they recognize when making their wine selec- tions. “The Coppola Cab is a classic,” he says. Flat was a central figure in the African- American entertainment industry and was a must-stop venue for Blaxploitation stars, prom- inent musicians and big-name comedians who gathered to listen to great music, celebrate their community and, of course, have a great drink. After falling into disrepair in the ‘90s and sitting vacant for 12 years, Maverick’s Flat was restored, refurbished and reborn in late 2010 and is now back in action with live music, a Gospel Brunch, fine dining and a beverage program that focuses on the classics. “We want to give people that old-school, classic drink experience,” explains General Manager Earnest Ross as he relaxes in the straight-out-of-the-‘70s (in the best way possible) private lounge, where the original furniture has been reupholstered in white leather and hand-made candle-wax tiles softly glow from the ceiling. For Ross, an industry vet and jazz enthusiast (he refers to the genre as a “humble delight of measures,” a description too good not to print), putting together a classic beverage program means more than just Manhattans and Martinis. “I’ve been around the restaurant business long enough to know that a great wine list makes the difference,” says Ross, who explained that this was the reasoning behind putting Maverick’s Flat’s wine program in the capable hands of Southern Wine & Spirits, resulting in a balanced, 100%-SWS list that provides his customers with the perfect wine experience. “With as many suppliers as Southern has, there’s something for every- one,” explains Ross. A Taste of Chicago For those familiar with the Windy City, the name Rush Street signifies a collection of some of Chicago’s hottest bars; in the au courant Los Angeles neighborhood of Culver City, Rush Street is a bar/restaurant that channels the best of the Midwest and mixes 82 / the tasting panel / april 201 1 it with a touch of California cool, resulting in a restaurant that delivers consistently great food and hand-crafted cocktails—and is rented out for the occasional bar mitzvah or serves as a ladies’ night meeting spot complete with pole-dancing lessons. “We just like to have fun here,” says wwner Brian McKeaney as he chows down on one of Rush Street’s signature burgers before washing it down with a Kahlúa- and Absolut Vanilla–based “Death by Coffee” cocktail-slash- dessert. His staff agrees, including mixology mastermind Steve Taschler, who built Rush Street’s cocktail program around the concept of having a cocktail to please every palate. Rush Street GM Charles Hueston, Mixologist Steve Taschler, Event Coordinator Jennifer Collins and owner Brian McKeaney enjoy a snack and some cocktails in the restaurant’s upstairs lounge. Downstairs, Hollywood execu- tives meet for power lunches, while the upstairs lounge becomes a see-and-be-seen scene. “We always ask people what they like, and then we’re able to turn around and use every type of alcohol to create different flavor profiles,” attests Taschler, who has noticed a particular uptick in the demand for low-cal cocktails, creating the Spring Rain in response. “With Plymouth gin, muddled cucumber and other low-cal ingredients, this is the perfect cocktail for our weight-conscious crowd.” It doesn’t get more “L.A.” than that.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - April 2011