Culver City: Cocktails and Pizza at Batch
As I drove up to the new Batch in Culver City, I realized I’d been to this particular restaurant space before. Not as its previous incarnation of Sublime Food Lounge but as Wilson. At the time I went to Wilson, I was looking forward to wild boar chili cheese fries but it didn’t seem to be doing the “comfort food with global influences” thing anymore. I had a barbacoa plate. The menu at the time was leaning on high end Latin, long before the Red Os of the world. I should have known it was a dying restaurant but I hadn’t been enough to recognize the signs. Then it turned into Sublime Food Lounge. I can’t say why I never went to SFL other than I didn’t like the name. Too cheeseball for me.
I was meeting friends for happy hour and was the first to arrive. There wasn’t any space at the bar or the cute tables out front. I could have nabbed a table in the back but then the restaurant needed the table back within the hour. The main dining room tables were empty but I’m sure it was the same story. Eventually my hovering at the bar paid off and I got a seat. As happy hour ended, more bar stools opened up.
I ordered the Scorched Earth (Scotch, Benedictine, house ginger, curacao, Peychaud bitters, Angostora bitters) which later turned out to be not on the happy hour list. Ah well, it was the one I wanted. I was a bit surprised by the kinked stem on the cocktail glass. What is this, 1999? At least my cocktail was good.
My friend had the Sage Advice (gin, sage leaves, Cointreau, lime, orange bitters) which had too much citrus. It overpowered and I didn’t get much sage from it.
We asked what were the popular cocktails from the list. The Drunken Sow (bacon-infused bourbon, Carpano Antica, Sapling, cinnamon bitters) would probably grab the bacon addicts but I’m kind of over bacon-infused and fat washed cocktails. I did try the Sapling which is a maple liqueur on its own and I bet it’d be wonderful on top of vanilla ice cream. The other popular one was the Fireside Chat (rye, Firelit, Gran Classico, cinnamon, flamed orange disc) but it sounded too sweet for me. Firelit is a coffee liqueur I first had at MB Post. I could have had a Martinez, a classic cocktail, but I had just had a fantastic one the other night and didn’t want to try Batch’s version. I was half-way on deciding to get the Soother (dark rum, Cognac, fresh apple, orange curacao, lemon) but after checking the menu again, I decided to just add booze to one of their mocktails.
Batch has quite a few mocktails for those who don’t wish to imbibe and also for those who just want more than a soda. I have been on a Fernet and ginger kick lately, asking bartenders to create something for me along those lines. When I spotted the Tummy Settler (fresh grated ginger, lime, simple syrup, bitters), I knew Fernet would be the ideal addition. It was perfect.
We did nab a happy hour pizza before heading out to our next destination. I wanted the lamb meatball. It had a nice crispy crust and the toppings were quality. My only note would be that the kitchen should make sure every slice had a meatball on it.
I’m hoping Batch makes it from this cursed restaurant space. The people are very friendly and they have a great spirits selection. I’m interested in coming back for a full dinner.