This neighborhood has seen many up and coming restaurants that have failed. It is a young hip urban area; it has a New York kind of vibe. When Spare Tire opened its door lots of excitement hit this neighborhood and most said it was about time to have this type of gastropub in the Mid Wilshire/Miracle Mile area.
Chef Isaias Pena is bringing really great quality fare to this fun establishment, but after his time at La Sandia in Santa Monica this pretty much would be a no-brainer. I did a review there as well, and it was pretty fantastic. “Cooking for me is truly making everything from scratch,” says Chef Isaias. “We stress that importance with all of our dishes down to the most minute ingredient that may be added to a dish.” Chef Pena is very true to his word. There’s not really an identity to the Spare Tire menu as it crosses all borders.
Here’s what I tried:
Bubbly Fragola with Vodka, muddled strawberries, fresh lime juice & Prosecco. This is more of a Sunday brunch type of cocktail, with its gorgeous fruit essence and bubbles.
The Cloverdale with Hendricks Gin, lime juice, cucumber, ground peppercorn, not my drug of choice, but this drink made me want to drink more gin in the future.
Here is the food I Tried:
East L.A. Street Corn with Chipotle aioli, Parmesan, ancho chile & lime. They serve one ear that they split into 2 and it is on a stick. It is tasty and cooked to perfection, a great choice.
Roasted Bone Marrow, Olive chutney & crusty bread. This dish is usually done with a round bone and the marrow is a dollop in the middle. This was a very different because the bone is cut the long way and the marrow is in a strip. A very unique choice, with an extra bonus with the scrumptious olive chutney.
Crispy Polenta, Cress, mushroom ragu, hazelnuts & saba. Yes, this was one of my favorites; they load this dish with lots of mushrooms. The ragu has a very smoky taste, but really a crowd pleaser.
Chopped Salad with Butter lettuce, raisins, cranberries, strawberries, boschetto & avocado dressing. This salad with make your taste buds dance, its amazing seasonal ingredients are all the more reason to put this right on top of your ordering list.
Lobster Roll with New England roll, butter lettuce & fresh dill. This is a lobster roll to remember, with its huge lobster pieces and even the whole claw; I just loved the presentation and the flavor.
Pizza The Italian Sausage with pickled peppers, oregano, fennel pollen. You can’t go wrong ordering a pizza here, they have their very handsome pizza oven from Italy on full display, so you can watch your creation being tossed and made. It is a special wood fired pizza oven, and cooks the pizza at more than 800 degrees.
Short Rib Gnocchi with, with Ricotta gnocchi, stout-braised short rib. Another outstanding dish which makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.
Basted Rainbow Trout, with Brown rice, roasted vegetables & sherry-lemon butter sauce. I loved the roasted vegetable, but the trout had just a little too much butter.
Garlic Mash, this dish is smooth and wonderful, really a keeper.
Brussels Sprouts, this is another fantastic version of a very popular and healthy dish.
Spiked Milkshakes Highlander with Caramel ice cream & Chivas Regal scotch, who would have thought that a spiked milkshake would be so wonderful. You have got to forget about the calories on this one, I would come back just to have this shake any night of the week.
Apple Dumpling with Caramel & cinnamon baked apple in a golden brown pie crust with Salted caramel ice cream & Chantilly whipped cream. Pretty amazing dessert, super rich, just save room.
Peach Cobbler with Cinnamon, sugar & nutmeg in a buttery pie crust with Vanilla ice cream & Chantilly whipped cream. By far the best peach cobbler I have ever had, especially the ice cream!
Here are the wines I tried:
Borgo Conventi ’12 Pinot Grigio, Italy, this wine was very light and fruity and made the street corn sing with a rainbow of flavors.
Chateau De Sancere ’12 Sauvignon Blanc, France. I especially like this wine with the marrowbones; it has grassy elements to it, which enhanced the delicate marrow flavors.
Ferrari Carano ’12 Chardonnay Sonoma. This is a spectacular wine that you can drink with just about anything; I recommend the lobster roll with it.
Meliomi ’12 Pinot Noir CA. I would pair this lovely wine with the Short Rib Gnocchi, it added to the meaty goodness of this dish.
Cigar ‘12 Zinfandel CA, this is a great wine to drink with their bold sausage pizza.
Atlas Peak ’12 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa, save the best wine for last and try it with the polenta with all of its wonderful mushroom flavors.
They play old foreign subtitled films on a flat screen, owner Paul or Chef Pena decides on movies played for the night. The flat screen is in full view right above the pizza oven. There is a very young vibe, lots of people laughing. Music is a great combination of blues, rock, and hip-hop. The interior is vibrant and fun with a large crocodile on one wall, a big brass chandelier in the center of the room, and lots of celebrities on a walled collage. Neo-classic columns separate the dining room from the bar area. Communal tables offer social gathering spots for guests. French doors open to the sidewalk there are lots of hanging ferns, kind of reminds me of the old fern bars in San Francisco.
Spare Tire Kitchen & Tavern is the brainchild of local Los Angeles restaurateur Paul Boettcher (Ye Olde King’s Head Santa Monica, Sagebrush Cantina Calabasas, Busby’s West Santa Monica and Busby’s East in mid-city Los Angeles). In fact, Spare Tire is in Boettcher’s old El Toro Cantina space, which was there for 10 years. “Spare Tire Kitchen & Tavern is an elevated experience,” says Boettcher. “It is not your typical drinking hole.”
If you live in this cool upcoming neighborhood then you must saunter in for a quick cocktail and then come by again for Happy Hour, and once you had a little teaser you will be back for the full dinner, and be very glad you did.
Spare Tire Kitchen & Tavern is open for lunch, dinner and late-night snacks from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., Thursday through Saturday; and from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, Sunday through Wednesday
Spare Tire Kitchen & Tavern
5370 Wilshire Blvd. 323-525-2618.