Dinner at The Federal

Feb 1, 2013

Ed Levy of Bow and Truss promised me a treat by hooking me up for dinner at The Federal. What he didn’t tell me was that the treat was to not only my palate but also my eyes. All these beautiful young spirited NOHO people. So much excitement under one roof, I walked in and the place was filled with the aroma of wonderful food and the atmosphere was absolutely electric!

The Federal is the one of the best gems here in the artsy NOHO district; it really holds its own to the other restaurants popping up. It’s got an old Chicago or San Francisco saloon type vibe. Like Mickey Cohen or Bugsy Siegel could be sitting in the booth next to you, after all they have curtains that close at every booth. With its large leather bar, kind of like Board Walk Empire meets modern day chic, this place holds lots of intrigue. It is the oldest standing structure in the San Fernando Valley, and in the 1960’s was Kennedy headquarters for the presidential election.

The lighting is good for all, it’s comfortable and looks cool, a nice evenly lit bar with that beautiful soft amber glow that makes everyone look younger. The ceiling has a very large picture frames in gold. The brick walls add to the grace, charm and overall grandeur of this building. They have flat screen TV’s for sports events as well. The night I was there the bar area was very happening. The upstairs area has local bands playing, and the line to get up there was long, and the people very happening.

Here’s what I tried:

Pass Arounds:
Smoked Trout, pesto toast, pickled red onion, hard boiled egg, the presentation on this menu item is stupendous, the trout is so great, and the accompaniments are just perfect.
Crab-n-corn Fondue, with seasonal vegetables and house made crackers. It is served with zucchini, and tomatoes. The fondue has a very nice cheesy flavor, and is wonderful with the crab, a very fun way to do a fondue.

Curry Cauliflower, fried, with lemon aioli. This is so fresh healthy and fantastic, a great way to eat cauliflower.
Fed Chop Salad, treviso, iceberg, tomato, cucumber, pepperoncini, garbanzo bean, manchego cheese, oregano and lemon. A great take on an old stand by, really good salad. I could see many of the nearby studios ordering this for lunch take out.

Fried Brussel Sprout Salad, crispy red onions, goat cheese, baked apples, balsamic reduction. This dish is wonderful.

Tomato Basil, very savory, nice tomato flavor.
Summer Grilled Corn Chowder, great homey flavor.

House Fries, herbs, parmesan and garlic with truffle salt. Very rich, fantastic truffle flavor.
Maple-Glazed Sweet Potato Tots, I loved the idea of these sweet potato tots, and have never seen them done this way.
Bacon Brussel Sprouts, smoked goat cheese, once again a great way to treat brussel sprouts.
Skillet- Sautéed mushrooms, such great mushroom flavor and lots of different types of mushrooms.

The Federal, garlic chips, smoked cheddar, Bibb lettuce, balsamic onion. Very unique and different, I liked this burger the best.
OMH (oh! my habanero), pepper jack cheese, pickled habanera, avocado, and cayenne crispy onions, really flavorful, packs a serious punch. My producer said it was delicious…just too hot for me.
Greco, lamb, feta, parsley, tomato, olive, and tzatiki. Loved this surprise burger, very Mediterranean.

Ipa Braised Short Ribs, melted leeks, hulk smash potatoes, big bold flavor, and the leeks added a nice touch as well.
Grilled Swordfish, forbidden rice, Swiss chard, sherry braised shallot sauce. The rice is very unique and very good, the sauce is kind of sweet, and the fish was nicely prepared.

Ox Tail, braised garlic kale, mash, and jus. I would only order this if you have eaten Oxtails before, not for the meek or finikey. Very bold flavor.

Dogs and Sammies:
Vegan Wenna, spicy chipotle dog, avocado, tropical fruit salsa, and cilantro cream. They claim the one is a popular item for Vegan folks. I would have to say two big thumbs up. It is rich and filling, with so much great guacamole flavor that you’ll never know that it’s healthy for you!

The Angry Chicken Sammie, fried chicken breast, wing sauce, blue cheese, arugula pepperjack, served with coconut ranch. Kind of like wings, but classier.

White Riff Pinot Grigio Venezia, this wine worked great with the smoked trout plate, with its nice drinkable fruit essence.

Mac Murray Pinot Grigio, Sonoma Coast, CA. I like this wine with the corn chowder; it added a whole new dimension of flavor to this soup.
Sean Minor Chardonnay, Central Coast, CA. Loved this wine with most of the pass arounds.

Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay, Russian River, CA. This wine is very elegant and was terrific with the swordfish.
Greg La Foliel’I’E Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, CA. The perfect grape, perfection in a glass, great with the angry chicken sammie.

Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, CA. Really terrific with both brussel sprouts dishes.
Rosenblum Zinfandel, Paso Robles, CA. For me I loved this wine with the Greco burger; it gave this dish an extra exclamation mark.
Quivire Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, CA. This hearty zinfandel added a wonderful nuance to the tasty short rib dish, as well as the oxtails, and of course all of the burgers.

The deserts were obscene: The Elvis Pie, with its rich creamy smooth peanut butter and banana inside, was like a big explosion in my mouth.

The Red Velvet Cake, had a chocolate crust with luscious velvet cake and a cream filling in between. This is sumptuous and velvety smooth, ripe with great chocolate flavors.

So unique, so special, this place is a stand out. There are so many subtle nuances, you won’t even be able to pin point why you are so happy being here. Maybe one reason was my fantastic server Katie, who landed in Los Angeles from Chicago. She has a very L.A. story, she is an actress and her husband is a writer and has been with The Federal since they opened in February 2 years ago. Katie made my experience extra special, with her knowledge of food and wine and fun personality; I just would not have wanted anyone else! Chef Shawn from Manhattan was also very helpful, and fired up some amazing grub for my gastronomic pleasure.

So take a stroll in the NoHo Arts District, check out the music, the art and the entertainment, on the street or all under one roof at The Federal. Ignite your palate here, you will be happy that this kind of place exists so close to home.

The Federal bar
5303 Lankershim Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91601
(818) 980-2555



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