Wednesday, August 8, 2012

L.A. HAVENS - The Park Restaurant



1400 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Chef Joshua Siegel wanted to create a true neighborhood restaurant when he opened the Park in 2008. Because of its strong word of mouth, excellent special offers and, of course, amazing food, the Park was just named one of the 15 Neighborhood Gems In and Around L.A. by Zagat.

When we initially moved to the area, the Park was one of the first restaurants we visited, and it remains one of our favorites; we eat there at least once a month. After a long day, being welcomed by manager David, seeing the familiar black-and-white checkerboard floor, the collection of well-worn cookbooks available for perusal in the foyer and original paintings on the walls are all such welcome sights. I have been to the Park for brunches, lunches and dinners and tried all of the staples that remain on the menu throughout the year. The majority of the menu changes with the seasons, but some of the stand-out seasonal dishes tend to return every year (like the amazing New England clam chowder with bits of smoky bacon and the refreshing watermelon salad with feta).

Chef Josh prepares a special appetizer and entree every weekend. Specials that we most recently tried were a delicious and unique Smoked Brisket Salad with organic plums, aged gouda, watercress, picked onions and barbecue sauce vinaigrette and a Grilled Wild Salmon with salmon tartare in a sesame miso cup, a crispy green onion pancake, soy sesame dipping sauce and saut̩ed pea shoots. Every Sunday the special is Beer Battered Fish & Chips, which is outstanding. The fish is battered just right Рnot too heavily. The hand-cut fries are always the first to disappear from my plate because everyone at the table can't stop eating them, and the homemade cole slaw and tartar sauce are perfect compliments to the meal.
The Park Burger

Earlier this summer, the Park hosted Monday sushi nights with $5 rolls, but the main draws are always Speakeasy Tuesdays (3-course prix fixe meals for $15), Wednesday Burger Nights ($5 for a 7-ounce sirloin burger or homemade veggie burger and a side. Yes, $5!) and Friday Supper Clubs ($25 for any appetizer, entree and dessert on the regular menu).

One of the can't-miss Tuesday meals is the Buttermilk Fried Chicken with biscuit, gravy, collard greens and mashed potatoes. There is always a vegetarian option offered as well (usually mac and cheese on fried chicken night). Without fail, my son always orders the Park Burger. The homemade pickles on it are addicting. The veggie burger is good too. I usually always order it with a side of potato salad if I'm at the Park for lunch. Other favorites include the Roast Jidori Half Chicken with delectably crispy skin coated with demi-glace and served with French fries and arugula, the heavenly Caesar Salad (with anchovies, of course!) and the Szechuan Fried Calamari with spicy sesame-soy glaze.

Whether the dishes are Asian-infused, Mediterranean or down-home American, Chef Josh concocts an array of flavors that dance harmoniously on one's palate. I've never had a bad experience at the Park, and it continues to be a true L.A. Haven for me.

For reservations and more information, call 213-482-9209 or visit

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