West LA: Freddy Smalls
“Hey, Freddy Smalls is open. You wanna go?”
“Sure! Let’s invite so and so.”
A week or so goes by. “Hey, we’re going to Freddy Smalls. You wanna come?”
By the end of the week, our group had grown from two to more than a dozen and then we ran into others at the small bar and kitchen. Freddy Smalls is appropriately named. It’s tiny when you try to cram everyone in there and yet miraculously we had a big booth in the corner. And our sweet server never blinked when we all clamored for food and drinks. I’ve never seen anyone so unfazed. Bonus, no automatic gratuity (we left approximately 25% because we were so impressed).
The menu is divided into a selection of appetizers, charcuterie, cheese and small plates all meant for sharing. The BBQ cashews with candied bacon was the perfect snack to go with our cocktails, beer and wine.
Since there was a group of us, we went with the cheese and meat plates. The baller board includes all three of the charcuterie selection of chicken liver mousse, rabbit mortadella and country pork pates.
Other snacky items include the Buffalo Deviled Eggs and bruschetta with burrata, artichokes and an olive-capers vinaigrette. I am not really a blue cheese fan so the deviled eggs with the crispy chicken skin would probably be more appealing to someone else. I did like the bruschetta but it included pretty much all my favorite things.
I didn’t snap every cocktail floating around but I did try the Whiskey Stones (Maker’s Mark, stone pine liqueur, barrel-aged bitters, Dolin dry vermouth) and the Rum Papa (Flor de Cana silver, maraschino, lime, demerara-dandelion syrup). I was hoping to get more pine out of the Whiskey Stones. I fell in love with stone pine liqueur which I assume is Zirbenz about a year ago at the Vesper in Las Vegas. I enjoyed the Rum Papa more.
I also tasted the Mayberry Smash (Death’s Door gin, fresh berries, sage honey, lemon, mint leaf garnish). Some thought it was strong. I thought it was kind of girly.
The two table favorites of the night were the mushroom and farro stew and the fried Brussels sprouts. We ended up ordering three bowls of the stew and four orders of the Brussels sprouts. I enjoyed the stew and thought the Brussels sprouts were a good rendition with smoked goat cheese and apple cider glaze. I may attempt to recreate those sprouts around Thanksgiving.
I was hoping we were there late enough so I could order the late-night fried pig’s ear and egg sandwich but they don’t serve it until 11 PM and after on weekends. Instead I settled for the Reuben’s Gluttony, a sort of deconstructed pastrami sandwich. With three thick tender slices of pastrami, a giant bone marrow and plenty of relish, mustard and what they’re calling Yorky pudding (the buns), I was an absolutely satisfied camper. While my friends polished off their bowls of vegetarian mushroom and farro stew, I ate all the meat. Well, someone had to.
I’d like to come back for that late night sandwich but if I don’t the grilled Monterey squid, abalone and pork belly and the bacon gourgeres sound great.