Now I know why this place is called Beer Belly. Because after you try Chef Lieberher’s crafty culinary bites, it’s not the beer that gives you that Buddha-like physique, it’s the food. Of course, the average person probably wouldn’t have indulged in as many of the “bites” that we ordered, but I felt like a close relation to Buddha after we left, sated but happy.
My foodie girlfriends and I have been getting together regularly at some of the most popular favorite eating places in L.A.–either favorites with the populace or favorites amongst the group. Beer Belly was on our growing list and we decided to check it out for an early Sunday dinner.
Beer Belly offers craft beer and crafty food. Everything is ordered at the bar so grab a seat and a menu–I guarantee you’ll want to order just about everything. Offering a wide variety of craft beers from local breweries on tap as well as craft cans, small bottles, sours, and big bottles, you’ll also find all natural bubbles and wine on their menu as well as craft sodas, root beers and iced teas. Be warned–if you’re counting calories, this place isn’t for you. Beer Belly’s crafty menu is full of flavorful, rich, creamy, and fried comfort food items kicked up a few notches that pair perfectly with its 4x as long drink menu (you can be sure that their food will soak up all that alcohol!). LOL! Since the next day was a work day, we decided to go for drinks of the non-alcoholic variety: Thomas Kemper Orange Cream, Gus Dry Meyer Lemon, Rat Bastard Root Beer (my drink of choice) and Buderim Ginger Brew.
Being the foodies that we are and each of us contributing to the growing list, we had chosen twelve items to try and share among the five of us (including dessert):
BEER BELLY | Sunday Dinner, July 15, 2012
DUCK FAT FRIES | Smoked Salt, Sweet Onion Sugar, Duck Skin Cracklins, and Raspberry Mustard for dipping. So glad we ordered these. I have such a weakness for french fries. What had me was the “duck skin cracklins” and it just took it to another level of taste.
BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN | Chicken Breast Strips and served with Roasted Fennel Aioli for dipping.
PORK BELLY CHIPS | Pork Belly, Sweet Onion Sugar, and Tabasco Aioli. Yesssss!!! Pork Belly Chips. So, so, good.
CATFISH & CHIPS | Beer-Battered in Eagle Rock Manifesto, Seasoned Salt, with Malt Vinegar and Horseradish Aioli, and served with Fries. This was actually the sole dish of one of our foodies. She gave it a big thumbs up.
BRATWURST BALLS | Pork Bratwurst, The Bruery Mischief Spicy Apple Mustard. I think this was my least favorite dish. The flavor fell a little flat for me. Not even the mustard helped.
BEER & HONEY BRAISED SHORT RIBS | Braised w/ Eagle Rock Manifesto, Cheddar Puff Pastry, Horseradish Mash Potato, and Pickled Radish. Great flavors in this hearty, comfort dish–I can enjoy this one on its own with a glass of red wine.
PORK ROLL SLIDERS | Belly Slaw, House-made Pickles, and American Cheese. Nothing really special about these sliders. Just eh.
BEER BELLY GRILLED CHEESE | Quad-Dec 4×4 Cheddar, Asiago, Gruyere, Goat Cheese, Applewood Back, and Maple Syrup. I liked this interpretation of the traditional grilled cheese sandwich; the sweetness of the maple syrup cut through the gooey-ness of the cheeses. When it first arrived at the table, I had forgotten about the syrup and thought that the grilled cheese was sitting in oil. Sigh of relief!
ROSEMARY GORGONZOLA MAC | Jack and Brouwerij West Blond Ale Cheese Whiz, and Bacon. This was a bit too rich for my taste and I’m not a big fan of gorgonzola.
JAR O’ PICKLES | Red Wine Shallots, Garlic Cucumber, Beer & Bacon Carrot, and Sherry Fennel are beautifully layered in a clear glass jar. Simply delicious.
SUMMER VEGGIE SALAD | Zucchini, Squash, Corn, Tomato, Spring Mix, Toasted Almonds, Asiago, and Lemon Clove Dressing. This dish was a refreshing, welcoming sight and a beautifully plated dish. I loved the fresh flavors of the veggies and the dressing added that perfect sparkle.
DEEP FRIED TWINKIE | Deep Fried Twinkie, Strawberry Puree, Whipped Cream, and Vanilla Ice Cream. Believe it or not, this was my very first deep fried Twinkie and I couldn’t believe how incredibly light and perfectly sweet this dish was.
My personal favorites were the Duck Fat Fries, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Pork Belly Chips, Beer Belly Grilled Cheese, Jar O’ Pickles and Summer Veggie Salad. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the Deep Fried Twinkie. Overall, it was an enjoyable meal and we really put a big dent in their menu–there aren’t that many more items on their menu that we didn’t try. Great place to hang out after work or on the weekend with friends. It’s not a huge space so get there early if you mainly want to grab a bite to eat. Beer Belly is north of 6th Street and set back on busy Western Avenue in Koreatown. Limited parking in its own small lot (valet parking is available) but you can also self park in the lot next door or find metered parking on the street.
532 South Western Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90022