MIDTOWN BAR & KITCHEN
LARCHMONT VILLAGE HUB FOR DRINKS & BITES
Just around the corner from Larchmont Village on busy Melrose Avenue, Midtown Bar & Kitchen stands as the new neighborhood hub for quality, handcrafted cocktails, including an extensive wine list with over 60 wines from around the world, as well as delicious, contemporary fare.
From the powers that be at Hotel Café and Osteria Mamma (located on the same block as Midtown), it’s my understanding that when Midtown first opened, it was supposed to be a local wine bar, but that quickly gave way to a first rate full bar program along with a compact but impressive dining menu.
"There really wasn't a place in the area that had a full bar and great food,” says co-owner Marko Shafer of Hotel Café. “It’s a wine bar and a whiskey bar with great small plates."
Some of the great, small plates include grilled lamb chops, and sautéed scallops, and a cocktail menu that is more mezcal heavy than just about any other spirit—kudos for the bold and original drink approach.
During our recent visit for dinner, we started with the sensational Black Truffle & Duck Salami Crostini served with truffle sauce and Grana Padano cheese. Think of this Montadito as a delicious and extremely flavorful open sandwich. This is a truly terrific starter item.
Trust in sommelier Filippo Cortivo of Osteria Mamma to handpick a terrific wine to pair with your meal. I’m still thankful to him for introducing me to Monte Xanic Chenin Colombard 2011 Valle de Guadalupe, a first rate Mexican white wine. Who knew, besides Filippo?
If you’re looking for savory libations, the Mezcal Mule, a refreshing mix of La Penca mezcal, Cock ‘N Bull ginger, and fresh squeezed lime is a great variation on the tried and true Moscow Mule. I really loved the smokiness of this drink and I’m not the world’s biggest mezcal fan.
Likewise, the French 75, mixed with Hendricks Gin, St. Germain, champage, fresh squeezed lemon, and lemon zest, is really zesty and a great way to start your night.
The zesty gin drink would probably pair well with the divine Avocado Salad, prepared with avocado, corn, grape tomatoes and red onions. I took a chance on this dish and was so happy afterwards. It’s so fresh and tasty. Again, this would also go well with the aforementioned Mexican white wine too.
There are some really tempting and hearty entrée selections, including Grilled NY Steak, Chicken Marsala & Porcini Mushroom Sauce, as well as Prosciutto Wrapped Shimp, but we opted for the Grilled Lamb Chop Balsamic, which is so tender and tasty, and the Melted Mozzarella Burger served with truffle fries. This is the most comfort food dish on the menu, and it’s a solid and satisfying burger. We paired both of these plates with a nice recommended glass of red wine.
For desserts, we went with truly decadent choices. The Petit Walnut Sliders with Blackforest Sauce is a real treat. It’s a walnut biscuit with vanilla cream and dark chocolate cherry sauce that really hits the spot.
Not to be outdone, The Glühwein (think mulled wine) Chocolate Almond Brownie with white chocolate honey ice cream is a real winner. This dish is all about flavor and is a great way to cap off dinner.
Thanks to the team of Filippo Cortivo of Osteria Mamma and Max Mamikunian (the man with the cocktail plan) and Marko Shafer of Hotel Café, the neighborhood, including Larchmont Village and Mid City, as well as nearby Hollywood, now has a great destination for drinks and fine fare without any pretentious vibe. You can make a night out of it a Midtown or really get things going before hitting the town, including Hotel Café just a few minutes away, or Pour Vous, which is just down the street (great for drinks but no food). Now it’s a really great day in the neighborhood.
Midtown Bar & Kitchen is located at 5722 Melrose Avenue. Hours: Mon-Thurs 6pm to midnight; Fri & Sat 6pm to 1am. Call 323-460-4090.
By: Jose Martinez.
Some Photography courtesy of: Midtown Bar & Kitchen