April 22, 2014 – Dinner at Tipple & Brine
The urban sprawl of downtown Los Angeles is a location every restaurateur would aspire to be. Well, Tipple & Brine has captured that vibe and more. The more is that they are in Sherman Oaks! With it’s wonderful food, it manages to get the word out there that you really don’t have travel to the Westside, Santa Monica or downtown to find a pearl of a restaurant, its right here on Ventura Blvd.
Inspired cuisine, gracious hospitality and inviting atmosphere is what Tipple & Brine is all about. Owner Richard DiSisto has brought to life his perfect ideas of what all should go into this new venture, and he’s got is all right! The Blvd. has never seen the likes of this; industrial interiors, with ingenious design details, all hand made by Richard. So much thought and detail went into Tipple & Brine, honestly it deserves an interior design award on its own.
The garage style electronic lift contraption used to raise the front windows is a wonder in itself. Most of the upholstery is French grain sacks and Italian military blankets. There is even a manhole cover from Mexico which somehow fits in perfectly with the decor. You got to love the very old 50’s television in the front lounge area along with the exposed ventilation air ducts in the ceiling. The wood used everywhere is 200 years old. Richard says, “Everything here is born out of the dirt.” The chicken feeder light fixtures and chandeliers, as well as the movie hanging table lights made from movie theater speakers are all the brainchild of owner Richards’s marvelous imagination.
Richards’s history dates back to the 80’s when his Italian family owned a business in New Rochelle and was on the forefront of the new wave music scene. His grandfather started this business and came to New York by way of Ellis Island. Richard started working in the business when he was 14, and is now a very young and handsome 50. The music being played was reminiscent of the 80’s.
A lot of the staff came out of the downtown phenomenon called “ The Parish”, including Executive Chef Mike Williams; under his direction the kitchen is run like a finely tuned piano. Manager Emily also came from The Parish, she says about the staff, “This is a ship that was already sailing. Everyone works so well together and gets along great!” You can tell from all of the staff that hospitality is not a lost art, and every customer is made to feel very special.
I digress, lets talk about the main attraction, the food. I was completely blind-sided. When I came to the grand opening they were serving some of there menu items, but when its tray passed in little portions its very hard to discern flavors and textures. This time, with some of the newer menu items in full portions, it’s a real treat for every sense.
Here’s what I tried:
You can’t leave out the Tipple, the cocktails and wines I tried:
Faster Young Fruit with potato vodka, Blanc vermouth, lemon soda, grapefruit twist. This is a very refreshing cocktail, full of vim and vigor.
Mexican Firing Squad with Reposado Tequila, Lime, House-made Grenadine, Bitters. Very reminiscent of a margarita, but with a little more of a kick, hence why they call it Mexican Firing Squad.
Pinot Noir, Municipal Winemaking Santa Barbara, this is a sure bet with the asparagus salad, it hit all of the right notes.
Nebbiolo, Travaglini “Costa della Sesia” Piedmont. This wine was area hit with Lamb shank and the Skirt steak; it had nice cherry overtones that added to the overall meaty goodness of both dishes.
At this tasting I wrote about almost everything, because it was that good!
Fresh Oysters on the half shell, Hood Canal, WA, Marin Gems, CA, Eastern, NJ, each oyster is as fresh as it gets, some are large some are small, but all are incredible, all served with a ginger mignonette.
Asparagus, sherry-maple Vin, crispy egg, manchego. You open the egg and let the yoke drip all over the asparagus, in all its glory. This is a very sexy dish, and it melts in your mouth.
Scallops with parsnip, crispy pancetta, horseradish, oyster mushrooms and arugula. The best part of this dish is the little swirls of pancetta; the whole mix of ingredients is so brilliant, and with the scallops, I died and went to heaven.
Crispy Oysters with creamed nettles and smoked onion jam. This dish really ignited an otherworldly experience for me. The crispy fresh oyster, with the creamed soft nettles. Then you have the smoked onion jam on the top, all I can say is this dish is a knockout.
Lamb Shank with creamy grits and fava bean gremolata. The lamb is rich and buttery, pretty much falls apart when you dive into it. The sauce is dark with such a lovely lamb jus, truly a winner.
Flat Iron Steak with fried artichokes, celery root mash, salsa Verde and horseradish. The steak is cooked so that you can taste the delicious meat; with the sauce it adds a tangy flavor that is both full of vinegar as well as spicey horseradish, quite the combo.
The one to rave about is the 4-layer carrot cake with bourbon butterscotch sauce oozing out of it and the very lovely candied pecans, this is by far the very best of the best carrot cakes I have ever tasted.
Their oyster bar is all gussied up, and ready for your mouth to do a big dance. The brine part of this experience is fantastic. I think the signage that adorns the back wall sums it up with “It was a brave man who first ate an oyster”!
The thing to really talk about here at Tibble and Brine is their outstanding food. I can’t recall a tasting that has lingered so long on my taste buds; I keep comparing my newest tastings to this one, it is my new standard. I will have to come back and try everything else on their astounding menu, I am sure I will be completely blown away again, just like my readers will. So, go for dinner, have a cocktail and try an appetizer, from the first bite you will be hooked, just like me!
Tipple & Brine
14633 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403