Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lexington Social House: Kiowa Bryan Goes Hollywood

Lexington Social House is the latest addition to the burgeoning Hollywood restaurant and cocktail scene.  Its opening brings back Kiowa Bryan, who garnered significant attention in her previous role as the head bartender at Fraiche in Culver City for her creative cocktails.  You can find her Thursday - Saturday evenings at the bar in the back patio at Lexington Social House.

This patio area can get crowded and become quite a scene but a few sips of Bryan's cocktails and you can forget that you are in Hollywood and just enjoy the beverages and the cool evening air.  The Lexington (below) is a great way to begin exploring the menu.  It is made with Earl Grey infused Woodford Reserve Bourbon, honey, lemon juice and orange bitters.  The Lexington is well balanced and  the citrus plays well with the bourbon.

The Lexington
For a frothier touch, the Smoke and Mirrors brings mezcal to the forefront.  Del Maguey mezcal, Herradura Silver tequila, honey, lemon juice, egg white, barbeque bitters and smoke sea salt are all shaken together and served in a couple glass.  The smoke from the mezcal comes through yet the cocktail is light and frothy.  This is an excellent cocktail for those who may not have tried mezcal and the combination of mezcal and tequila and is a deluxe way to continue celebrating Cinco de Mayo all summer long.

Smoke & Mirrors
Bryan uses custom ice cubs in several drinks.  The Name Dropper (not to be confused with Dave Kupchinsky of the Everleigh's legendary Panty Dropper) utilizes hibiscus water ice cubes and the Wicked is cooled by an cucumber-water ice cube.  The Wicked (below) is made with Plymouth Gin, lime juice, simple syrup, lavender bitters and is served in a rocks glass with a large cucumber-water ice cube that is bright green.  The cocktail was named for the musical, which played at the Pantages theater nearby, due to the green hue, which reminded Bryan of the color of the wicked witch.  The cucumber flavor becomes more pronounced as the ice cube melts and its fun to see the flavor profile of the drink change.  That said, it is difficult to let this cocktail sit long enough for too much of the cube to melt.

Bryan's playful side comes out in the Super Hero, made with cranberry-infused Absolut vodka, lime juice, simple syrup and Red Bull pop rocks.  The pop rocks are served in a glass alongside the cocktail and the guest can add the pop rocks all at once or bit by bit.  Bryan made the Red Bull pop rocks in-house, in collaboration with Executive Chef Mette Williams.  Bryan said it took a lot of experiments to get it right.  The drink, while on the sweet side, is fun to drink.  Who doesn't love pop rocks?

Super Hero
The food menu includes several small plates, which are just the right size to accompany some cocktails.  The Lamb Pita is recommended.  Four house-made pita pockets stuffed with generous portions of roast lamb served with hummus, raita and pickles on the side.  The hummus is good enough to request extra pitas to scoop up any leftover dip.   Chef Williams spent years working for Wolfgang Puck at Spago and Cut, so it is not surprising that she knows how to run a kitchen.

All cocktails are generally $14 each.  On the evening I visited cocktails were $7 or $10, for Cinco de Mayo pricing.  The small plates were $6 on this visit.  I am unsure of regular pricing.  I was told that happy hours or other specials may be in the works.

The back patio (photo courtesy of Lexington Social House)
Hollywood is now home to a variety of spots that make legit cocktails including The Spare Room and the Library Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel, B Side Lounge at Rolling Stone, Hemingway's Lounge, Harvard & Stone, and the forthcoming Writers Room in addition to Lexington Social House.  What a great evolution in the neighborhood.

Lexington Social House: 1718 Vine St, Hollywood.  Phone: (323) 461-1700.  Website: http://www.lexingtonsocialhouse.com/

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