Atwater Village: Dinner and Drinks at The Morrison
Recently The Morrison welcomed new Executive Chef Michael Ruiz (formerly Cobra and Matadors) and Beverage Director Steve Calabro (formerly Red O, Craig’s) to the year-old Scottish gastropub.
When I talked with friends, everyone suggested a burger. But I have a weakness for Scottish eggs and fish and chips. Why not get all that to share?
One of the best drinks we tried this night was the Applewood with Wild Turkey bourbon. Although it’s whiskey-based, the sweetness of the apple juice and tea makes it a good cocktail to introduce to non-whiskey drinkers. Yet there’s an edge to this drink as the apple juice has been smoked and the bitters balances out the drink.
Applewood – Wild Turkey bourbon, house-smoked apple juice, sweetened yerba mate tea, Peychaud’s bitters
The table wanted to share some appetizers so we started with the pork belly bites. The sauce leans more Korean than Scottish but we are in California– Atwater Village to be exact. Actually, the whole gastropub concept is taking traditional pub food and putting a spin on it. This wouldn’t be terribly out of place at a modern pub. Get them because they’re tasty.
For those bleu-cheese stuffed olive fans, there’s a martini for you. The Babes Ending martini even has bacon stuffed with the bleu cheese.
Babes Ending Martini – vodka, bacon-bleu cheese stuffed olive
A group-satisfying appetizer would be the cheesy fries. The cheddar and gravy fries are topped with a fried egg. Once the yolk is broken, it’s even more rich and decadent. The gravy is vegetarian so this is vegetarian-friendly (although not hips and thighs friendly). Aren’t you glad I asked?
Speaking of rich egg yolks, the Scotch egg at the Morrison is cooked just right with the yolk spinning out of the perfectly fried sausage wrapped egg.
Beverage Director Steve has worked with Jose Andres and knew a molecular mixology trick or two. In his Manhattan version, he combines both Jim Beam rye and Veev, an acai spirit, with sweet vermouth and bitters. The “cherry” turned out to be a sphere he’s made with Luxardo.
Morrison Manhattan – Jim Beam rye, Veev, sweet vermouth, aromatic bitters, house-made cherry sphere
Another couldn’t resist the mac and cheese. I thought adding bacon was a nice touch but you can also add short ribs. That would make this a meal rather than a side. Doesn’t everyone order appetizers and heavy side dishes along with main courses?
For a refreshing sipper, the Unicorn with Russian Standard vodka and Cedilla, another acai liqueur. Cedilla does have macerated acai berries giving it a deep purple hue. The cocktail is a lovely mauve color once combined with ginger beer.
Unicorn – Russian Standard vodka, Cedilla, lemon, simple syrup, ginger beer
The Morrison’s fish and chips reminded me of the fish and chips I had in London.
I actually quite enjoy the mushy peas and thought the pickled onions were a nice touch to lighten up the dish. Of course I couldn’t resist dipping my fries and fish into the malt vinegar. I also created a sort of Thousand Island dressing by combining ketchup with malt aioli. I suppose you could also dip the fries into the mushy peas as well. It’s good to have choices.
There are a couple of different burgers on the menu but I recommend you get the Morrison burger. Once I read the signature Morrison had a burger patty topped with a piece of filet, I knew I was lost. We had to order this burger. It comes on an English muffin and I was very happy the thick patty was perfectly medium rare. I worry a bit when I see small but tall patties. This burger was expertly cooked.
A beautiful comforting dish is roast chicken. The Morrison serves there’s on top of mashed potatoes and topped with Brussels sprouts and bacon jam. I had a bite and the chicken was very juicy.
I’d like to try the Shepard’s pie, another love of mine, the next time I hit up the Morrison and Atwater Village.
I used to have port or Madeira at the end of the meal but I’m intrigued with the idea of something a little bit more bitter. The Jaron’s Sazarac at the Morrison would be a good one to try. I like the Bulleit bourbon instead of the more traditional cognac or rye. Depending on the absinthe, sometimes I like the extra sweetness from the booze rather than the sugar in the drink.
I’d like to check out the bar next time to explore more of the classics with a twist cocktails. There are also a couple of beer cocktails that I think would go very well with the food.
Jaron’s Sazarac– Bulleit bourbon, Angostura bitters, Peychaud’s bitters, absinthe, baker’s sugar
We got a bread pudding for the table but Steve also brought out a couple of his house-made boozy ice creams; a bourbon and Luxardo and Scotch and chocolate. I liked both but leaned towards the Scotch and chocolate. That surprised me a bit since I never really ate chocolate ice cream growing up– I was much more a nutty or fruity ice cream fan.
For a lovely warm drink, the Loch Ness kept the chills away. The toddy style drink had chai tea, bourbon and surprisingly, Pimm’s. I usually think of Pimm’s as the base for Pimm’s cups and very summery but this worked very well. It’s nice to see Pimm’s used in a different drink.
Loch Ness – warm bourbon, chai tea, Pimm’s
Bread pudding is one of those comforting desserts that goes well with a menu of comforting offerings. The butterscotch custard bread pudding was moist and a generous portion. I loved the whiskey sauce that came with it. It went so well drizzled on top of the vanilla bean ice cream.
The Morrison is a wonderful neighborhood hang out but also a must-stop if you like modern British pub food.(323) 667-1839 © The Minty 2014