Re-Visit to The Federal For Dinner – June 3, 2014 & June 10, 2014

Don’t mess with a good thing, my sentiments exactly about The Federal. My first review was on Feb. 1, 2013, and at that time there were no real kinks to work out, the atmosphere was great and the food even better. My tasting consisted of many menu items and everything was stellar.

The Federal was one of the first gastropubs in in the heart of the fantastic Arts Noho District, The Federal promised to be a lighthearted excursion into a little Los Angeles unknown hot spot.

We had our own private room upstairs in what’s called The Library Room, followed by dessert and drinks downstairs in the main room with the Randy Emata band entertaining us all.

My dear, hilarious friend Henry Eshelman knows how to throw a party; he arranged my first tasting and my re-visit.

Executive Chef Shad Davis and Chef de Cuisine James Markham showcased both new and familiar creations, all with the utmost attention to detail.

Here’s what I tried:

Fresh baked Pretzel – Served with a beer and Gruyere fondue. The beer is really all the taste in the sauce, which is a good thing, and they make their own pretzels in house. For a pretzel aficionado this would have to be a must once a week.

Disco Poutine – Fries topped with their braised short rib, Gruyere cheese & sunny side egg. Honestly this was not one of my favorites, but it everyone else went crazy so I tasted it. It is interesting, but for me not worth the calories, and there are a lot.

Mini Stuffed Blue Cheese Burgers – Grain mustard, crispy onion, brioche. Just the right amount of burger with this great brioche, a hefty slider with a lot of bang for your buck.

Lamb Chops – Spicy chimichurri on a bed of arugula. Outstanding presentation, with the tenderest lamb chops ever. Even though this is technically an appetizer, I would order this as an entrée on my next visit.

Ahi Tuna Crudo – Cilantro, blackened onion, pickled Serrano, cilantro aioli crostini. They use the best tuna and with it seared edges it makes you realize that tuna need never be cooked all the way through. The accompaniments were also wonderful.

Quinoa Salad – Roasted pear, grilled grape with lemon thyme dressing. So healthy and light, my go to salad whenever I am here.

Brussels Sprout Salad – Spinach, pear, almonds, blue cheese, apple cider dressing. A great way to get your green on, each bite is packed with vitamins and flavor.

Mac N Cheese – Vintage cheddar, chorizo, broccoli. This is one of my all time favorite Mac N Cheese, crispy on the top and nice meaty pieces of chorizo all the way through.

Crispy Gruyere Chicken – Roasted yams, beer kale. An interesting rendition of what could be a boring dish, but the oozing cheese and the beer nuances in the kale make this a memorable menu item.

Fried Pork belly Sliders – Arugula, citrus gaze. It’s kind of like a square baby back pork rib. The fat become very caramelized, and the flavor is a cross between BBQ and Chinese style red pork. Whatever it’s packed with goodness.

Bone-In Short Rib – Corn mashed potato, braising jus. My waitress
forgot this dish as part of my order, but luckily I tried someone else’s. This would have been my favorite, but honestly the small mini bites just left me wanting more.

Michelada Mussels – Cherry tomato, Serrano, house lager, roasted tomatillo salsa. Great little mussles with a little bit of heat and my kind of luscious broth.

Grilled Artichoke – Cilantro aioli, garlic Parmesan sauce. Petite artichokes packed with garlic flavor makes this dish not just any ordinary artichoke appetizers; it’s a real crowd pleaser.

We graduated to the down stairs area for some fabulous desserts; every one of them was unbelievable, wow. So fun fun in the course of 3 hours, for a Tuesday night it was very crowded. For any of my readers that live near by you must make a habit of going to The Federal at least once a week. Get you drink, food and music on, and in a very smart classy way. THANK YOU HENRY!!!

The Federal Bar
5303 Lankershim Blvd,
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 980-2555

Dinner at The Federal Bar – Long Beach – June 10, 2014

The Federal is located in downtown Long Beach on Pine Avenue, which is an up and coming neighborhood. The Metro Blue Line stops very close, so you can get off and see what all downtown has to offer. The building itself is an old bank from the 1920’s, you can feels its historic aura. The ceilings are high and the artwork on the roof of the dining area was exquisite. All of the wait staff were dressed like flappers and greeted every person with a big smile on their face. The open dining area gives the customers lots of options with its high top tables, dining tables, and booths.

The Federal’s bar area is presented in a grand manner. Behind the bar there are very high shelves that are full of different varieties of high-end alcohol, a very magnificent backdrop for people to experience fun and frivolity. The bar lends itself to be the perfect place for a happy hour, every day from 4-7pm.

Henry Eshelman arranged this tasting in the perfect order. We started with cocktail hour and it was very relaxing. There was classical music playing in the background, which added to the historical vibe.

Here are the cocktails that I tried:

Amaro Smash, with Absolut vodka, Averna Amero, lemon juice, orange and agave. This drink was extremely refreshing and is the perfect cocktail for summer. The hint of orange gave the cocktail the kick it needed, with its sweet flavor; it nicely balanced out the vodka.

The Fiddler, which is The Federal’s, take on a Moscow mule, with Jameson Irish Whiskey, Frangelico, Bundaberg ginger beer and lemon. This drink was fantastic; it had the sweet taste of ginger blended with the bitter taste of lemon and whiskey. The whiskey was perfectly rationed, the taste was certainly present, but it did not give too much of a bitter bite.

Pass Arounds:

Dirty Chips with smoked kettle chips, pickled onions, pepper bacon, pickled Serrano, blue cheese crumbles, blue cheese cream sauce, avocado crema and scallions. This dish was incredible, had a combination of flavors that were unexpected. The blue cheese was not too heavy or overpowering and the avocado crema had a very subtle hint of flavor, and really brought this dish to life. There were so many toppings that were piled on top of the chips, but they were not soggy and kept their delicious crunch.

Short Rib Poutine, with house fries, short ribs, gravy, mozzarella, and scallions. This is a traditional French Canadian dish, which is something I grew up appreciating. This dish was absolutely delectable and something that I would go back for time and time again. The thick cut French fries were perfectly seasoned, they were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The short ribs were seasoned nicely with a slightly tangy sauce; they were smoky but not overpowering. The cheese was piled high and melted all the way through; it gave a great mozzarella flavor without taking away from the ribs. From a Canadians perspective, growing up eating poutine, this West Coast twist on the dish was impressive.

Main Dish:

Roasted Salmon, with wild arugula potato salad, red onion, kalamata olives, roasted tomato vinaigrette, and balsamic drizzle. The salmon laid on top of the arugula salad, which was perfectly roasted to perfection. The salmon was crisp around the edges and soft enough to break with my fork, but very tender inside. The tomatoes that were placed on top of the salmon. The combination of the salad and potatoes was absolutely delectable with the dressing perfectly drizzled through out the salad. The onions and olives were a beautiful touch to this dish and were obviously fresh. This dish was an incredible blend of the salmon flavor, without being too fishy.


Bread pudding, topped with roasted marsh-mellows, fresh strawberries and a hint of whipped cream. This dessert was unlike anything that I had tasted before, bringing the taste of the classic s’more with the sweet taste of bread pudding. The bread pudding itself was not too sweet or heavy, and had a light texture. The marsh-mellow flavor was subtle enough that the chocolate in the dish could be recognized, but it was enough to acknowledge the classic s’more combination.

Elvis Pie, which can only be described as a giant Reese’s peanut butter cup taken to the next level with bananas. The peanut butter flavor was the dominant ingredient in this dish, but the chocolate and banana flavors gave the peanut butter the twist that it needed. The Elvis pie was an instant hit amongst the table.

Red Velvet Cake, topped with a raspberry, a small dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of raspberry and chocolate sauce on the plate. The cake was extremely moist, had the perfect combination of the tart raspberry sauce and the sweet taste of red velvet.

After dinner was complete, we were escorted downstairs to The Federal’s small nightclub and treated to a DJ. It was unlike other restaurants of its kind because upstairs was an amazing and elegant dining area, yet downstairs had the fun and electric nightlife atmosphere. You need to check out their nightly live entertainment, they have a list of events on their website.

The great staff of The Federal was extremely friendly and efficient. All of the staff looked like they were thoroughly enjoying their jobs, making the atmosphere elegant, classy, and very fun. From the moment I walked into the restaurant, I felt as though they were dedicated to making my experience a positive one. One of the guests at our table was a vegetarian, they offered to make her the mac-n-cheese dish with soy, and she loved it.

As a resident of Palos Verdes, I am not too far from downtown Long Beach. Next time I am looking for a place to eat with my friends, I will be heading over to Pine Avenue to enjoy another meal at The Federal.

Written by Guest Columnist Candice McEachen

The Federal Bar
102 Pine Ave.
Long Beach, CA, US, 90802
(562) 435-2000


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