This is a whole new concept for El Cid, eating on the patio with grilled menu items. But hey it’s summertime and there is nothing better then a night out on the town, in a very hipster environment, eating wonderful cuisine, grilled to order. El Cid in my book is an incredible find in an oasis of too many mundane dining establishments that think that they are the next big thing. Tried and true El Cid has more history than any of them, and can really offer you a fun, memorable, comfortable experience.
I went to East Los Angeles meets Napa a while back and wrote about it, I met so many new eclectic Chefs that were mostly Latin inspired cuisine. When I met Jovenal, chef at El Cid Verbena, he was stirring an immense huge pot of seafood Paella. The flavors hit it out of the park, and I was so happy when he invited me to try his cooking at El Cid.
Here’s what I tried:
Smoked Blue, pear, caramelized onions, lavender honey, and watercress. The combination of the smoked blue with the caramelized onions with the pears is so fragrant and delicious, a definite winner.
House-made Sausage, feta cheese, roasted fennel, micro arugula. More for the savory lover, but delicious as well.
Fried Artichoke Hearts. Not like any other I have ever had, just fantastic.
Muhamara, fire roasted bell peppers, walnuts, pomegranate molasses, and flat bread. More of a starter that is good with fun conversation, but just a teaser really.
Camperola, micro cilantro, wild mushrooms, baby oak lettuce, Dijon and tarragon emulsion, pink peppercorn, polenta croutons, and micro herbs. I loved this salad; it has all of the right components in one very wonderful dish, especially the polenta made croutons, what an inventive idea!
Watercress, sprouts, Anson Mills farro, fermented rainbow carrots, black lentils, hazelnut soil, rose dates, lemon, and EVOO. This salad is nutritious and filling, as well as very yummy.
Flat Iron Steak, piper olioa, root veggie chips, salsa de ajo, and micro cilantro, with grilled bread. The steak is served on skewers and there are some nice chips and grilled bread, but not for the no carbs person.
El Cid Flamenco Dinner
Paella De Mariscos, Our house specialty paella for 2 featuring saffron rice, mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp and chorizo, topped with a 4 oz. lobster tail. The star of this show for me, with its very fresh shellfish and lobster tail, how could you go wrong? (You can ask for menu items off of their inside menu, that is where this dish came from.)
Lomo Campero, Spanish country style rubbed and 1 – 2 weeks cold dry cured 9 oz grilled Tenderloin filet over farro succotash and Tempranillo wine sauce. This meat is very complicated and you can tell that will every bite. Tender, flavorful, packed with enormous taste, you just have to order this steak.
Chocolate Chip cookie cooked and served in an iron skillet with ice cream, this is a big huge cookies served warm with very melty ice cream, a must for the cookie lover.
Flan, a perfect way to end this wonderful meal, and done the right way it is excellent.
Apple Pie with ice cream, very American, but very good.
Clos Siguier Cahors, Malbec, Tannat. I would drink this wine with the Lomo Campero, it has a lot of jammy flavors that worked really well with this delicious steak dish.
Colomé, Torrentes, and a bit fruitier then I like, but went good with the Paella.
Q-tini, 100% Fair-trade Quinoa vodka shaken, dry vermouth-wash and served tableside with olives or cocktail onions. This unique concept of serving and making tableside cocktails is just wonderful, it adds a very personal touch to the over all dining experience.
Sangria, very fruity and extremely drinkable, this will quench anyone’s thirst.
So the outside patio area is La Verbana, which means: 1. (fiesta) fair; [de santo] open-air celebration on the eve of a saint’s day; (baile) open-air dance, street party 2. (Botánica) verbena. Chef Juvenal has managed to capture the an authentic feeling of a street party translated into the outdoor dining of La Verbana at El Cid. The inside of El Cid has all of the same history, with lots of fun memorabilia and folk art pieces everywhere. They even have 2 complete different menus for outside and in. The inside is their traditional flamenco style cuisine. But La Verbana has turned any kind of tradition on its head. This is a very good thing, and very smart. Chef Juvenal’s customers are all types, but many with very refined palates. If you want the old menu you can still order it outside, I had a little bit of both.
When you find a place in Los Angeles that can hit all of the right notes you really want to make it a staple in your weekly gastronomic experiences. El Cid offers a very Hollywood atmosphere, with lots of today’s youth going out for some nite club type entertainment, seeing the local talent and enjoying this incredible food and drink. I used to come here back in early 2000 with a boyfriend who has lots of friend playing in their inside showroom, I tried the Paella back then, but it all seemed to have gotten much better, the food, the crowd, and the feel.
Here is some of El Cid’s history in chronological order:
1915 – D.W. Griffith films scenes from The Birth Of A Nation in the cornfields behind where El Cid now stands.
1925 – This remarkable gem of a venue and restaurant is one of the rarest of LA monuments that has remained intact and treasured since its birth as a speakeasy in 1925. El Cid began life as the Jail Cafe, a popular cafe/speakeasy with a curious ’20s era jail theme, complete with watchtower overlooking Sunset Blvd, booths set in jail cells, and waiters in jailers stripes. Our ’20s/’30s hot jazz night — The Moonrise Club — allows you to step down our fabled stairs into that very era. No telling what went on at the Jail Cafe in those Roaring ’20s. There are plenty of secrets kept in these rafters and perfect wood dance floor.
1932 – The Jail Cafe became the Gateway Theater, a theatrical playhouse where The Blackguard had a continuous seven-year run.
1963 – Over 50 years ago, El Cid began its long-standing tradition as a supper club and bar in the image of a 16th century tavern, that features live Spanish Flamenco entertainment.
El Cid’s flamenco tradition is still alive, and paired with world-class Spanish cuisine and exclusive craft cocktails. El Cid has been chosen by the LA Weekly as one of the top-ten bars and restaurants to see live music in Los Angeles, and is a favorite of musicians and performers alike. They have a full entertainment calendar inside, but if your interested in traditional Flamenco see a variety of Flamenco at their dinner theater, running Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The showroom is U shaped with the theater at the top of the room, which makes for good sound and viewing, it also boasts a very large stage.
The Patio is very rustic, hand painted Latin angels adorn the walls. There are striped umbrellas and canopies, with concrete and paver floors. All enhancing your overall enjoyment.
I would rate this whole experience very high on my must list of things to do in LA, and it is very affordable. My server Ryder helped me with my fun experience. Next time you want to impress your date try El Cid, or if your just hanging with your friends, either way give El Cid a try, you will be very excited about all of their endless possibilities.
4212 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90029
* Note some content is taken off of their website.