The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2012

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Page 44 of 124

MERRILL SHINDLER'S WORD OF MOUTH Gastropubs in S ince it fi rst reared its tasty head late last century, the Gastropub Movement has moved from "quirky oddity" to "populist trend." Indeed, it can be argued that for those of us who live on the Coasts, the chances are now better than even that a new restaurant will fall under the broad banner of gastropub. In Excelsis Chef Brendan Collins. Tomazos used to run the eponymous Alain Ducasse in New York, before moving on to Thomas Keller's Per Se—credits and a half. Collins was the sous for the fabled Marco Pierre White in London, before heading for L.A. to work with Josiah Citrin at Mélisse and Alain Giraud at Anisette. In other words, these guys have world-class resumés. So, naturally, they got together to open a gastropub in what used to be a coffee shop. At Waterloo & City, there's a charcuterie selection that runs to exotica like a smoked tongue and carrot terrine with sweet and sour chilies; a chunky duck and walnut country paté with poached fi gs; potted pigs trotters with sweetbreads and a Hispanic salsa verde; and a venison and huckleberry terrine with an Italian cow's milk cheese called Juni. The steak tartare comes with truffl ed pork paté and the yolk of a quail egg. There's a sublime smoked trout salad with ultra-sweet Chioggia beets. Even the Caesar salad is made with dried prosciutto. The beef cheeks are Kobe (natch!) and served with pickled chanterelles. Some of the charcute- rie off erings at gastro- pub Waterloo & City in Culver City, CA. other words, a gastropub is whatever you want it to be—as long as it serves beer with odd names, and food that goes beyond peanuts, pickled eggs and Slim Jims. The term "gastropub" is a Britishism for a pub that serves food that transcends the fi sh 'n chips and bangers 'n mash usually referred to as "pub grub." The derivation of the name is actually well-documented ; it's a conjoining of pub and gastronomy, coined in 1991 by restau- rateur/chefs David Eyre and Mike Belben, who used it to describe their London pub The Eagle. Consider, for instance, the excellent Waterloo & City, a gastropub in the Culver City section of Los Angeles, named for a line in London's Underground. The principals behind Waterloo & City are frontman Carolos Tomazos and 44 / the tasting panel / june 2012 The wine selection is every bit as edgy as the food—and reasonably priced. This list is a tribute to the notion that fi ne wines can be found for under $30 a bottle. Wines from Austria and America, from Italy and Argentina, from Chile and Australia, with many stops in between. The wines are served by the bottle, and by the glass. But when I'm in a gastropub, it's beer that I drink. There are nearly three dozen on the beer list—and specials pop up all the time. I'm actually perfectly happy with a nice draft pull of Hofbräu München Lager, one of my longtime faves, which goes for a modest $7. There are beers on the menu that range all the way up to $28. And they're probably very good. But Hofbräu München does it for me. And lots of crispy rosemary fries. This is how we eat—and how we drink—at this point in our gustatory history. CREDIT: PHOTO: ERIC WATERMAN

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