Tapenade - Happy Hour
October 29th, 2013
by: Maren Swanson
After tackling a sake seminar/tasting event recently with over 100 sakes, my boyfriend and I left starving. So when a gentleman approached us after exiting our event with the enticement of happy hour, naturally, we caved. We were in West LA, parked at The Olympic Collections, and completely unfamiliar with our environment. Blame it on the generous pours from sake vendors or our lack of visits to that particular area, but either way, we needed guidance that day, and thankfully we received it from a hidden new happy hour gem: Tapenade.
A French sounding host (a manager perhaps) guided us into the restaurant and seated us on the patio. He enthusiastically explained the happy hour options and walked us through descriptions of a handful of dishes. I was indecisive (as I usually tend to be) about what drink to chose, so he politely offered to grab me a taste of the Rosé on the happy hour menu. As I mentioned before, we were starving, so we immediately ordered a few dishes.
First of all, the French Rosé, Listel (one of my new favorites), was a great glass of Rosé for the happy hour menu and it was only $4. Tap beer goes for $4 too. The first plate we sampled was an Jamón Ibérico pressed sandwich with orange segments and Manchego cheese. The Ibérico ham (super high-quality) was served open-faced on toasted bread and the sherry vinaigrette drizzled on top complemented the slight saltiness of the ham with a hint of sweetness. Post sandwich, we devoured the Tuna Crisp: chopped tuna mixed with avocado, seaweed salad and an orange-ginger dressing. It was delightful.
So far, everything had tasted fantastic and my only question was: how do I decide what dish to order next? I try to be inconspicuous when spying on other guest’s dining experiences and I always feel awkward, kind of like cheating on a test. The couple next to us was definitely in love; whether with each other or with the food I will never know, but I was a definite indicator that something was working at their table. Taking their lead, we ordered the brussel sprouts for the grand finale. They were roasted crispy and served “Italian style” with currants, pine nuts, shaved Parmesan and an aged balsamic vinegar. They were so crispy in fact, that one more minute and they would have been overcooked, but I liked them exactly the way they came.
Oh, and did I mention the Truffle Fries? Nothing like warm fries, not too thick or thin, with truffle oil and Parmesan to make to make this lady go gaga. Once we paid the check, we headed inside to survey the rest of the place and as we walked into the bar, we ran into a friend of mine. We call him Darby. He raved about Tapenade’s happy hour and offered to buy me a glass of discounted wine, but I had drunk my share of booze for that day. I still had to figure out how to get back to my side of town, yikes.
Now you won’t catch me on the West side of Los Angeles too often, but if I return, Tapenade will be on my to-do list. The Mediterranean fare is tasty and full of value, especially on the happy hour and next time I will definitely try the smoked salmon with crème fraiche and truffle honey...what?! Now I just wish I could have a Tapenade in my Weho hood. Hey, a girl can dream in truffle.
11301 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Happy Hour: Monday - Friday, 5pm - 7pm
$4 Beer, Wine $6 Appetizers
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