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A Look At LA’s SmithHouse Tap & Grill

Beer

01.24.2012

SmithHouse Tap & Grill

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name…

And other times, you want to go to a smart gastropub with a crowd of well-dressed peers and a massive selection of really good beer.

SmithHouse Tap & Grill opened in August 2011, by Curtis NySmith and Top Chef all-star Angelo Sosa. With the exposed brick and low, swooping arches, this place could easily be something far more lofty and less approachable. But in this case, the elegant interior comes across as comfortable and warm – the perfect setting for happy hours and get-togethers with good friends to…

wait for it…

wait for it…

Pour your own beer, tableside, from one of the restaurant’s five built-in taps.

Yes, LA is in the middle of an explosive beer Renaissance, and you can’t swing a wilty hop without hitting a new gastropub or beer bar. But SmithHouse stands out not only for its hefty 120 beer offering, but also in their dedication to serving these beers the way they were meant to be served. They boast six different temperature lines and different pressurizations, so each draft comes the way God or, (more likely), some monk, somewhere, intended.

SmithHouse Tap & Grill

And what is a gastropub without the grub? SmithHouse’s food is solid, if mostly dressed-up bar food. Their tuna pastrami is fresh with good spice, the onion rings are very onion ringy. They have the requisite chicken fingers, chili, wings, dips. There are a few Asian dishes, including a dumpling appetizer, banh mi and a few rice bowls. You won’t go wrong ordering any of the burgers – the cheddar crunch burger actually tastes like Fritos! – Their proprietary cheddar disc is almost exactly like a perfectly round hard tortilla shell. Kinda nifty. I didn’t bother trying a salad, because anyone who orders a dinner salad at a bar is a d-bag…

But the real winner and must-try is the beer fondue. I like to think of myself as a pretty classy dame, but I had to fight the urge to run my fingers along the inside of the bowl and lick each digit clean. It’s this creamy/salty concoction, with a kick of spiciness at the end. It’s served with a side of three soft pretzels (but, based on empirical research, tastes good on almost everything – especially french fries). On the menu, they say the fondue is infused with Harp’s Pale Ale to “bring out the salty/sweet flavor of the cheese;” I felt the beer actually brought out a savory, nutty quality, and dialed the cheese’s lactic sweetness down a notch or two. I invite you to try it and see for yourself…

SmithHouse – come for the beer, stay for the beer fondue. Or come for the beer fondue and stay for the beer… Either way, come: Your tableside tap is waiting.



Comments

  1. Justin | Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Well i am sold! can’t wait to try it out… most good fondue’s actually use beer, so im sure it definitely brings out the nutty quality ha

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