Hollywood: Cocktails and Seafood at Acabar
Acabar in Hollywood opened late this summer and took over an old Moroccan restaurant’s space and kept a lot of the look and feel of the place. The beautiful bar is new and there’s plenty of tables and a lounge area. I found myself attracted to the bar (as usual) and set up camp there. I wouldn’t necessarily go this far to keep with the theme but there was a guy at the bar wearing a Fez hat.
Acabar has a raw bar and serves cooked dishes that nod to the historic Spice Trail. Sometimes Hollywood restaurants can be all flash without good food but Acabar is both visually stunning and has a great cocktail program by Julian Cox and Josh Goldman. Bar manager Aaron Stepka (formerly A-Frame, Sassafras) runs the bar.
Cocktails are listed by historical era. I chose the Ti Punch as my first drink. Considered the national drink of Martinique, the Ti Punch comes from the archaic era of cocktails according to Acabar; about 1783-1830.
Ti Punch – J.M. Rhum Agricole, cane syrup, lime
Who knew you can get great seafood from a restaurant not necessarily billing itself as a seafood restaurant? We had started with the massive Prestige seafood platter. They were out of crab so we got more oysters instead. This also comes with prawns, mussels and crudo. It’s meant for 2-3 people but I would say it’s good for 4 or 5 people as an appetizer. Still, I would love to see the Grand Cru platter meant for 4-5 people.
We also ordered some cooked dishes both admitting to our secret love of shrimp toast. Acabar makes a good one topped with quail eggs.
For my second cocktail, I tried the Cuban No. 2, a drink from the 1930 Savoy Cocktail book. This was such a gorgeous cocktail. This may be a new go-to for me.
Cuban No. 2– cognac, apricot liqueur, lemon
Acabar starts the modern era in 1998. The Juliet and Romeo is a Tobey Malone drink from Chicago’s Violet Hour. I had a sip of it and it’s very fresh, almost vegetal. Really quite perfect for Hollywood/ LA.
Juliet & Romeo – gin, lime, cucumber, salt, rose water, Angostura bitters
Although time and time again I have said I’m giving up ground meat, I can’t help but order meatballs anytime I see them. We tried the lamb meatballs which makes great bar food. I thought it was interesting there was also one quail egg to be divvied up between the three meatballs.
The Creole cocktail is from the Classic Era (1885-1920). From a cocktail book printed in 1914, it’s still as fresh and exciting to drinkers discovering classic cocktails today.
Creole – bourbon, Benedictine, Amaro Cio Ciaro, sweet vermouth
We then asked for brown, bitter and stirred cocktails. My friend ended up with a Fancy Free which is always a good choice.
Fancy Free– bourbon, maraschino, Angostura bitters, orange bitters.
I always feel compelled to get one veggie dish for a balanced meal. We opted for the caramelized cauliflower duo. Served with pickled peppers, currants, dill and za’atar, it definitely had a Middle Eastern influence.
My bartender’s choice was basically a Manhattan made with Bernheim wheat whiskey with a delightful name of Weekend at Bernie’s.
Acabar would make a great choice for friends getting together to celebrate in the lounge or couples having a more intimate dinner in the dining room. Me? You’ll find me at the bar exploring cocktails by era.(323) 876-1400 © The Minty 2013
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