Eating L.A. was in Highland Park not once, but twice last week. The first time was for the preview night at The York, the new gastropub on, of course, York Blvd. where the Wild Hare used to be. They've opened up the space completely with big windows on the street, brick walls and imaginative light fixtures for a very New York feeling. There's a nice selection of beers on tap (we tried the Heavenly Hefweizen) and a good small wine list. Food seems very solid so far -- a super juicy, tasty burger; seared catfish had a clean taste with no doughy breading and a nice side of sauteed corn; fries a bit overdone like I like them and addictive fried garbanzo beans for snacking on with drinks. Only the Cuban sandwich seemed to need a little more work -- the pickle needs to go on the inside to add moisture, not on the side. I'm sure opinions will be divided over whether Highland Park wants/needs a $12 hamburger, but it seemed pretty fun to us.
Saturday night we checked out faithful reader Ellen Bloom's art opening featuring collages of historic L.A. neighborhoods, as well as the amazing pieces by Clare Graham at MorYork gallery and then stopped by Johnnie's Bar. I liked the people, the drinks and the ambiance, but I could have done without "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" playing on the large-screen TV (how about an artsy movie or something fun to look at?) and the incredibly loud music reverberating off the tiny room's vintage tin ceiling.