Sunday, December 12, 2010

Corkbar, You Make Me Gush

Corkbar has been my favorite casual Downtown restaurant for over a year. Selfishly, I wanted to keep it a secret, but I suppose that's just not possible. Plenty of people are in on the secret now, so I might as well spill the proverbial beans.
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Have a glass of wine. There are tons from which to choose. The place is called Corkbar after all. Don't drink? Don't worry. Get a parsley lemonade ($3). It won't get you drunk, but it'll get you giddy.

I am going to make a bold statement. Nothing at Corkbar is bad. Nothing, I tell you. Everybody at your table should leave happy. If they don't, they're not friends worth having. I stand by Corkbar against your hypothetical insane, taste-challenged friends.

Cheddar cheese gougères ($7), Corkbar burger ($12), grilled Fontina cheese with sherry onion marmalade and roasted tomatoes ($9), chocolate tart ($6).
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See those prices? Steal of the century, dear readers.

Corkbar gets pretty packed on nights when there is an event at Staples Center or Nokia. I recommend coming early enough to enjoy your time fully at Corkbar. It's worth it.

Or do what we do. Visit Corkbar during the day.

The vibe is completely different.
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Bright yet serene. We love coming here for lunch.

Shredded duck and Brussels sprout salad with candied hazelnuts, Maytag bleu cheese, frisee, drizzled with a roasted apple and hazelnut oil vinaigrette dressing ($16).
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Incredible. One of my favorite salads ever. Ever. Imagine my heartbreak when Chef Albert Aviles told us he was retiring it. I nearly cried. But he assured me that its replacement would please me, too.

Corkbar always has some familiar staples, but a good portion of the menu is constantly evolving.

Rest assured, like I said before, nothing at Corkbar is bad, including the more experimental stuff.

Pork bruschetta ($8), butternut squash risotto with scallops ($16).
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That's Mr. Monkey with another irresistible cheddar cheese gougère.

Duck cobb salad with housemade duck confit, cucumber, corn, avocado, cherry tomatoes, bacon, topped with grated egg and herbed bleu cheese dressing ($16).
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Chef Aviles made good on his promise. I don't even like eggs in salad. In fact, I hate them in salads. But these eggs? Wow. So fine. So delicate. So wondrous with that generous heap of duck confit. Chef Aviles is my hero.

Spring lamb sandwich with cucumber, mint, onion, and feta ($16); "breakfast" dessert of cinnamon brioche muffin with rum caramel sauce, vanilla whipped cream, and bacon ($10).
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As delectable as they sound. Maybe even more delectable than they sound. No matter what you order, all of your plates will look like this at the end of your meal.

14 comments:

  1. I love it when you gush! This place looks fabulous!

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  2. Wish we had places like that where I live. Looks amazing. jimmyjamesbbq.com

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  3. i need to come back here and give it a second chance.

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  4. yummmmm! looks incredible; will check it out soon! xo

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  5. I'm bummed I never got to try that duck confit salad with brussels sprouts! You think if we beg and plead, he'll bring it back just for us some time?

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  6. My mouth is literally watering. Now it's time to pull out my smashed sandwich out of my bag for lunch. *sigh* I don't know if it will do the trick. :(

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  7. Yum. Sometimes I still think about their grilled cheese sandwich. It's just so so so so good.

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  8. I thought that said Cockbar, and I was like, WTF, how have I never heard of this place?

    I admit the post was a bit of a letdown after that. Nothing personal, of course.

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  9. I went during its opening awhile back. Such a beautiful space. Good food as well!

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  10. Um, yes, yes, yes. Gotta bring Jim here - me thinks we'd love it. :)

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