NEW SEASONAL COCKTAILS HIT THE SPOT
Ever since I discovered Khong Ten, a modern Vietnamese restaurant serving exciting California-inspired Vietnamese dishes in West L.A., I feasted at dinner, and indulged at brunch, including a Bánh mì bonanza. And recently I sojourned through the new, seasonal cocktail menu.
The vibe a Khong Ten is comfy and cozy, yet there’s a vibrant energy there, which could stem from the cocktails, which range from Tiki to refreshing and delicious, to downright boozy.
A nice and refreshing option on the drink menu is the View of Saigon made with Aperol, BroVo Witty Vermouth, house turmeric syrup and lime. This is an easy libation to start your day or evening.
I think two of my favorite menu cocktails were the Tiki ones. Both have great presentations and deliver that terrific Tiki taste. The Golden Pineapple is a heavy drink—literally as the golden Tiki goblet is heavy to hold and it also packs a mean punch. A mix of white rum, dark rum, coconut rum, Bravo Falernum, lemon, pineapple, and farm fresh fruit this one really delivers. Pricey at $29, that should be reason enough to pace yourself as this could be considered a one-and-done drink.
Another Tiki winner is the Weiser Farm Watermelon Mai Tai made with rum, BroVo Falernum and curacao, orgeat, Weiser Farm watermelon, and lemon. Personally, I love the taste of watermelon and I really love watermelon in my cocktails so this one was right up my alley. Presented in great Tiki fashion, this is a tasty and boozy sipper.
While the Rau Ram Boulevardier with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Cynar, BroVo Sweet Vermouth, and Rau Ram (Vietnamese coriander) is not a classic Boulevardier, it is nice and comes across as a good, modern take on a classic—much in the same way as the Khong Ten fare does.
Another menu winner is the Spicy Yellow Dragon made with Fidencio Mezcal, BroVo Curacao, jalapeño, agave nectar, lime, pineapple, and chile. I’m not a particular fan of spicy drinks but the pineapple in this case does a great job of balancing the drink so that the spice isn’t overwhelming. The taste is very Tiki and because the drink is well balanced, you can appreciate all of the flavors that make up this cocktail.
A spicy drink that didn’t work for me was the Morally Acceptable, which I just found to be unacceptable. A mix of gin, yellow chartreuse, BroVo Witty Vermouth, cilantro, cucumber, jalapeño, lemon, and grapefruit, there was no balance and all I was left with was the taste of jalapeño as the gin and yellow chartreuse were sadly overwhelmed.
Doves Versus Hawks with La Gritona Reposado Tequila, Lo-Fi Gentian Amaro, grapefruit and lime came across as a Paloma. It’s a good day drink, although I personally prefer my homemade Paloma.
Bravo to the bar Khong Ten bar team for coming up with an exciting and pleasing summer menu. Because the food and drink menus are farm fresh, ingredients are always fresh, which only helps the taste. Whether your day drinking or enjoying a night out, the drinks are solid and will only make the mood more festive. Sounds like a good time to me. Cheers!
Khong Ten is located at 11520 West Pico Blvd. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11am to midnight with happy hour from 3pm to 6pm and late-night drink specials starting at 10pm. Call 424-832-7000.
Story & Photos By: Jose Martinez