LA Confidential Magazine: The Tar Pit

I love working with the folks over at Los Angeles Confidential Magazine, and luckily, they seem to like working with me, too, and throw me some assignments for their issues.

The most recent issue, March, with Vera Farmiga on the cover, features a couple of my pieces on new restaurants around L.A., including the lead restaurant piece on The Tar Pit. The Tar Pit is the latest venture from Campanile's Mark Peel. Though Audrey Saunders from New York's Pegu Club was originally a partner in it and has since exited her deal, the new Hollywood supper club still seems to be going strong thanks to a blockbuster design job by Tracy Beckmann, who was my last FACES interview subject, a fun menu of updated uber-Americana classics (Steak Diane, anyone?), and fabulously nostalgic cocktails. I'll save you the details here, but check out my review below.

You can see the page layout from the magazine, which I've pasted just below here. But to see the review itself, either click HERE to go to the page on the magazine's website, or keep reading below where I've pasted in the text!


TRY THIS RECIPE: Start with famous local chef Mark Peel (Campanile), add a jigger of mixology from New York bar owner Audrey Saunders (Pegu Club), then muddle them together in a lounge space that’s a classy throwback to 1930s supper clubs. What you get is The Tar Pit.

You’ll notice lots of things when you walk in the door—the dark marble-topped bar, the ornate glass chandeliers, the live band playing old standards on a small side stage and the Art Deco partitions separating the plush booths. Peel says the Golden Age of Hollywood design was inspired by the screwball comedy My Man Godfrey starring Carole Lombard. “There’s a club all the characters go to at the end of the movie called The Dump, and we based The Tar Pit on that,” chuckles Peel.

That lighthearted sense of nostalgia is evident in Peel’s menu, with dishes such as pickled deviled eggs sprinkled with Smithfield ham, crab cakes with preserved lemon remoulade and duck sliders with orange gastrique. Steak Diane gets updated with green peppercorns and cognac in the Madeira sauce, while cornichons and fried capers modernize the shrimp Louis.

Then there are new versions of the old-fashioned cocktails your grandparents would have ordered at their first USO dance, including a Gin-Gin Mule with mint, lime, simple syrup and house-made ginger beer and the politically incorrect Old Cuban—basically a mojito made with aged rum and Angostura bitters finished off with Champagne.

Now if we could just get FDR back in office.

609 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, 323-965-1300;