Friday, October 9, 2009

Nothing dumb about The Village Idiot

I went with my two colleagues to our favorite joint, The Village Idiot. It's an English pub with good beers and food, but with a modern feel and decor. If I had to pick a city that I'd love to live in, London would be it. There's just something about the witty English humor, the casual pub atmosphere, the food (yes!! English food is awesome!), the weather (love wearing my wool coats), and the British system which reminds me of a piece of Singapore.

The space is lofty, with high ceilings, exposed brick walls, large wood framed french windows, walled chalkboard with beer list and an open kitchen. Even though it looks like a trendy Hollywood joint, it is actually a casual, comfortable watering hole. But beware, it's loud in there. Parking on Melrose can be a pain (most of the side streets are permit parking), so shell out the $5.50 for valet.

The food menu is playfully broken out between no face (veggies), two legs (poultry), no legs (seafood) and four legs (your regular meat group). There's your usual pub favorites (fish & chips, pies, burger) but they also have vegetarian plates and sophisticated gastro-pub dishes such as pork belly and albacore carpaccio.

There are about 7 beers on tap, and another 15+ in bottles, mostly from Europe. I started with a glass of prosecco while waiting for the girls to arrive.

When they got to the bar, I was ready for another drink. I ordered the Old Speckled Hen and they ordered the Echigo. The Old Speckled Hen was full, smooth and creamy. The Echigo beer is a Japanese lager and was light and went down easily.

I ordered the Pub Burger, which comes with cheese, grilled onion relish on the side, fries and option for fried egg.
Hello, fried egg on burger? Sign me up! The bun was toasted, and the burger patty was juicy and cooked medium rare. I love when they ask how you would like your burger cooked. I definitely do not want mine well done. The best part was when the runny egg yolk dripped all over the patty and soaked into the bun. The french fries were delish as well. I am not automatically drawn to a burger if its on a menu, but I liked this one. It was just a good, simple hearty burger.

Fish and chips
You could tell that the fish was really fresh. It was tender and crumbled in your mouth. The batter was perfectly fried and held its own (it did not turn mushy). I grew up eating fish and chips here every Sunday, even though at the time I hated fish but my mom would insist that I eat every last piece so I would keep the fish in my mouth all through the ride home. Eventually my mom would take pity on me and would let me spit it out. These days, fish and chips is my friend. I would definitely get this the next time I am back.

Chicken with mushrooms and green beans
Chicken does not normally tempt me when I am dining out, but I had been pleasantly surprised with the chicken dish at RH Restaurant this past Tuesday. The chicken at The Village Idiot was tender as well and the skin was crispy. Somehow it looked dry but it deceptively wasn't at all. The mushroom was really earthy and looked unique - it didn't seem like the regular ones at the grocery store.

I love pub fare and the food at The Village Idiot is delicious. It's definitely comfort food for me and even though the food was simple, I thought it was executed well.

Alcohol tally between the three of us:
1 Prosecco - yeah I know its not pubbish, but its nice to have a little sparkly to start happy hour
2 Echigo lagers
5 Old Speckled Hens
2 Pinot Grigio

4 drinks and a burger cost me $60 including tax and tip. With the pound at 1.5933 now, you'd have trouble getting the same meal in London for $60.

Hits: fish and chips, burger with egg, tender chicken, beer selection
Misses: makes me miss London... Hmmm let me check how many vacation days I have left for the year....
Rate: ****

The Village Idiot
7383 Melrose Ave.,
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 655-3331

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