Bar Food on Wilshire Blvd. is amazing and I have yet to frequent a bar that is up to this level. I gave it 4 stars on Yelp, but that’s because I’m stingy with my stars and they have potential to grow and be even better…hence the 4 star rating. Honestly, it blew me away…this is one of those few life-changing food moments.
A relatively new establishment, Bar Food is located where the old Z Robata used to reside. In keeping the previous decor, it adds a classy touch to a traditional pub. While there is only street parking in the neighborhood, it’s not tough to find a spot. Once inside, the staff are friendly, sincere, and genuinely helpful. Also, the owner, Jason, makes his rounds and makes time to talk to his customers. He’s a charming, charismatic Irishman with great stories to tell and doesn’t mind serving his customers. That’s a great touch!
They have happy hour from 5:00-6:30PM every weekday except Monday, because that’s the only day they’re closed. During happy hour, they give out free hot dogs. On a Friday night, it’s not packed and the music adds a casual, laidback ambiance. This is not a trendy hotspot, it’s a local hangout where people kickback and relax with some good food and great beer. With flexible seating arrangements, Bar Food provides a great location for larger parties and groups. If you come here regularly or even a couple of times, I bet you’d feel like you’re in Cheers…”Where everybody knows your name…”
Bar Food serves wine and beer, but with more emphasis on the beer. The wine selection does not list the details of the wines, only the type of wine you’d prefer. So all you wine lovers, if you want a particular bottle, tough luck. But if you’re new to wine or want to try a blind taste test, tell them what kind of white or red wine you’d like and they’ll bring you a glass.
Currently, with 12 beers on tap, it’s a great starter set. You got the standards that most people want and a couple surprises to round out the selection. I hear it’s expanding its beer selection, so don’t worry if they don’t have what you want right now, they’ll probably bring it around soon.
We tried 4 beers and they were all solid. I can’t tell you the exact spices and ingredients in the beer, but I can say that it’s good. The Fat Tire is a standard starter with a light, crisp flavor and good carbonation. The seasonal beer right now is the Mighty with a refreshing citrus aroma. The regular Guinness is rich, dark, and creamy. The Guinness 250, the original formula, has a lighter body with a smoother taste. I’d have to say that the Guinness 250 puts the regular Guinness to shame…it’s that amazing!
I had a monster feast and with maybe two more trips, I’ll have tried most of their food menu. At first glance, it seems eclectic with regular Irish pub food and some Asian inspired snacks. But once the owner explained a bit about his Irish background and his girlfriend’s Thai ethnicity, it made more sense. Now onto the food…
For $2 you can get the hot dog and it comes with ketchup, mustard, and diced onions. A pretty standard item that’s good when it’s free during happy hour, but not really something I’d especially order again.
The Bar Burger is a great burger that’s perfectly cooked at medium. With carmelized onions, bits of bacon, cheese, and some greenery, this is what a burger should taste like. With a side of ketchup for you sauce lovers, it’s a great pairing, but the burger can do find without it. This burger rivals the Father’s Office Burger and I think this one stands on top especially because it is a traditional burger.
My new favorite…the sweet frites, or sweet potato fries. The fries are about the size of regular fast food fries but that’s where the similarities end. It’s cooked perfectly with a light crispiness and a soft center. The spicy aoili that comes with it adds hot kick to contast the sweetness of the sweet potato. I’d have to say that Father’s Office sweet potato fries are good, but there’s just no comparison to these ones. There is one other place that had great mind-blowing fries like these and it was a Citrus at Social Hollywood.
The mussels are steamed just right. At the top of the plate, they are a bit dry, but are quite fresh. The broth at the bottom is delicious! It mades a perfect dip for the buttered toast on the side. My only note is that if they added just a wee more broth, it’d be absolutely perfect.
The fried calami was also a great dish. Lightly battered and perfectly fried, it wasn’t even greasy! The sauce that was paired with it matched just right. I prefer my calamari a bit softer, but I know that if it was softer, it’d be chemically altered. So, this au naturale calamari is fine just the way it is and it doesn’t need any tweaking!
If you know your Irish staples, you’d reconize the bangers and mash, only this is Thai Bangers and Mash. What’s the difference? Well, they have Thai sausage, a horseradish/mustard-type sauce, cilantro mashed potatoes, and some scallions on top. It’s a great spin on a old favorite and it works well. We got a bit carried away so we cut into it before we took a picture.
The apple tart, classic dish with a facelift that just screams gourmet! With layers of pastry and thinly sliced apples, this apple tart has a subtle apple flavor with a nice crunch. The ice cream complements the tart without overpowering it. Plus, the sauces add a nice richness to the dessert.
After 4 beers and 7 dishes, the total came out to be about $80. That’s a sweet value and once you check the prices, you’ll see that everything is under $10. The menu is spectacular, but if you want the highlights, go for the Bar Burger, the Sweet Frites, the Thai Bangers and Mash, and the Guinness 250. You can’t go wrong with that selection!
I know I’ll be back.
12217 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025