Sunday, May 17, 2009

Barbrix kicks Hyperion into high gear

Two colors of cauliflower, green beans and garbanzos make a pretty plate

When I moved near the rather desolate strip of Hyperion where Barbrix is now located, there was not much around except the terminally grungy Zen Sushi and even older spots like the Flying Leap and Casita del Campo. Comfort Cafe and KP's Deli came and went, and I still haven't been to Speranza, but despite way too many body shops, Hyperion is looking much, much better. Fix Burgers and Tomato Pie Pizza moved in, Fritzie's spruced up into Sila and Zen died and was reborn as the much more pleasant Barbarella.

But enough with the history lesson -- Barbrix, located in a former house-turned-Scientology school, is the best thing to happen to Silver Lake in some time -- at least since Intelligentsia opened, anyway. With reasonably-priced, user-friendly wines, a choice selection of small plates and a cool patio for summer evenings, owners Claudio Blotta and Adria Tennor Blotta and chef Don Dickman clearly knew exactly what the area needed, even if it did take a while to finish construction. Inside, both front and back bars and several tables in-between are all packed, and the opening week noise level is pretty high. Outdoors is much quieter, with the patio thankfully far removed from the street and a screen of bushes already starting to take root. Wines by the bottle are priced as low as $19, but Kathy decides on a glass of Bien Nacido Syrah, while I try the Niepoort Twisted from Portugal -- it's just $6, but the Bien Nacido at $9 is clearly more fully realized. Portions are tiny, which keeps the prices down, so this probably isn't the place to take your 250 lb. male friend from Texas unless you're hitting the steakhouse later on. Dickman's menu is set up like that of AOC, but it stands on its own with some lusty Mediterranean flavors.
One grilled sardine with mint aioli (above) is perfectly nice at $6, but he seems a little lonely on the plate. Roasted cauliflower pops with garlicky flavors; all the vegetables are top quality. The lovely McGrath farmer's plate (left) is also a welcome selection, since so many wine bars neglect the vegetable aisle. All three cheeses we selected were wonderful, especially a ripe, mellow Epoisses and Barely Buzzed Utah cheddar, which is rubbed with espresso and lavender. Service was amazingly cheerful and competent for such a recently-opened spot.
This was just a quick visit, so I'll try to get back soon to try the garlic sweetbreads, ginger shortcake and maybe some wine from Croatia or Slovenia.
Tip: Park around the corner on Tracy or Griffith Park Blvd. to avoid the valet charge, if you can't walk. If you're not familiar with that stretch of Hyperion, look for Baller Hardware right across the street.
Barbrix
2442 Hyperion Ave.
Silver Lake
Barbrix  on Urbanspoon

10 comments:

carter said...

Agree with your assessment. Started last night with the cauliflower and sardine(lonely indeed), followed by the farro salad and prosciutto de parma gran reserva, then on to the sweetbreads and the nonna.
Would have the cauliflower and farro again for sure. The sardine is well prepared, yet not much to eat, especially for 2. The sweetbreads didn't do much and while the prosciutto was very good, would probably opt for other things in the future.
Dessert was good. We sat at the table you were originally getting, as it was too breezy last night for the patio. Definitely noisy, even at that table.
Great addition to the nabe. Duck confit, pork belly and a few other items are on the hit list for next time. Not a cheese person so ignored that section of the menu.
Try the Croatian red - really nice in a light/medium body style at $6.

Anonymous said...

Had the pork belly, duck confit, crostini and the slovenian wine last night. All were delicious, particularly the pork belly- it must be the best pork belly in silver lake / echo park (compared to allston yacht club and the like).

Acai Berry said...

The sweetbreads didn't do much and while the prosciutto was very good, would probably opt for other things in the future.
Dessert was good. We sat at the table you were originally getting, as it was too breezy last night for the patio. Definitely noisy, even at that table.
Great addition to the nabe.

SinoSoul said...

what I can't figure out, from reading ALL the reviews, is how much it actually takes to be moderately not hungry... $25/pp++? $30/pp++?

Anonymous said...

is it full bar or just beer and wine?

Acai said...

The sweetbreads didn't do much and while the prosciutto was very good, would probably opt for other things in the future.
Dessert was good. We sat at the table you were originally getting, as it was too breezy last night for the patio. Definitely noisy, even at that table.

Sandra Harper said...

Everything was delicious, especially the fried squash blossoms, but the portions were just too small. Not enough with a husband. Eat before you go.

meg said...

In answer to SinoSoul's question, the two of us ate and drank well for $60 including generous tip (excellent server and on-the-ball water-filler).

We had the cauliflower, the burrata with broccolini, the Long Clawson cheddar, the deviled eggs with pickled herring, and the boar sausage with bean ragú, plus a couple of glasses of rosé and a couple of Irish beers.

Susie McDonnell said...

They also serve a mint salad which is fantastic.

chad said...

I agree w/ everyones pork belly comments, by far my favorite dish there. Everything that I had tasted amazing & the atmosphere outside was perfect. I took my wife there for her birthday a few weeks after it opened & spent $60 for 3 plates & a couple glasses of wine. Although it was very good, I felt that it was a bit expensive for the amount of food on the plate. I just checked their menu to refresh my memory & it looks as if they've added all new dishes. I look forward to going back & trying some new stuff, but I'll definately eat beforehand. Maybe I'll take my mother-in-law there since she always picks up the check when we go out.