Dining presidential-style, minus the traffic blocks, can be yours by walking into Tavern Restaurant, Bar & Larder in Brentwood. After all, Barack Obama held an April fundraiser here.
Tavern's seating is first come, first serve and the restaurant combines the feel of a trendy New York eatery with a hint of an upscale Italian deli. You'll want to revel in the restaurant’s distinct flavors, brought to you by the chef and sommelier team of Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne.
A tall case features the day’s fresh-baked breads, while cookies and cupcakes line the restaurant’s marble-top counter. But before sitting down to eat, you might first have an aperitif at the bar—the very room Obama held court in.
“Ah,” I think. “If only these walls could talk. What would they say?”
The bar’s warm, dark colors and seating evoke thoughts of an old London pub. The loudness of the room hits you immediately, yet the conversations all seem to float upward and dissipate into the staggeringly high ceiling.
Finally, it comes time to enter the dining area.
The dining room is a decorator’s dream. The colors may be muted, but the vibrancy of the room bursts from every corner.
I feel adventurous and decide on two plates: the Crab Louie with little gems, tomatoes, eggs and Russian dressing ($17), preceded by an appetizer of roasted dates ($6).
The dates, stuffed with small pieces of Parmesan cheese and wrapped in bacon, tended toward the smaller side. The mix of flavors danced on my palate even though several of the dates were slightly burned. I suppose it happens to the best of us.
I paired the dates with a lovely red blend recommended by my knowledgeable server.
Next came my salad. The crabmeat tasted fantastic, seasoned with perfectly balanced flavors. I had to cut my own tomatoes—a pet peeve of mine. This drives me crazy. I paid $17 for a salad, and the tomatoes were cut in huge wedge pieces.
The chef left the butter lettuce in large pieces as well. This brings working for your food to a new level. But the salad was worth the work.
With my salad, my server recommended a Vermentino, another great pairing.
My glass of white wine cost the same as my salad, which had tomatoes I had to cut myself, and my dates tasted slightly charred, but in all, the meal —paired with the wines—made for a lovely late afternoon treat.
But next time I dine presidential-style, I will just grab a cupcake and a coffee drink and enjoy the larder.
As I walked out of Tavern, I noticed that the larder offers a brown bag lunch. For $16, you get the sandwich of the day, house-made chips, an apple and a cookie.
Also, there is a wine and cheese club held in the larder. Count me in.