Between the butcher shop and five-course tasting menu, there are plenty of reasons to visit Curtis Stone's Gwen, the meat-centric and seasonal-inspired restaurant that's bringing a bit of old-world glamour back to Hollywood. Now, two of those reasons include the newly-opened patio and à la carte "Butcher's Scraps" bar menu, which provide a little taste of Gwen without the serious commitment (or hard-to-come-by rez) of the set course menu. We had an opportunity to kick back on their enclosed outdoor enclave, a little haven on the busy streets of Hollywood, and enjoy some of the creations off their cocktail list. And while we're still looking forward to the full dining experience, in the meantime, we could easily see ourselves coming back for some after-work bites and libations on the patio.
Starting off with the cocktails, we ordered the Spritz in Nature and the Collins Family, both fresh takes on classic flavors. Served in beautiful, vintage-style glasses adorned with gold, art deco designs and metal straws, both really tasty and fun.
Kicking off their Butcher's Scraps bar menu is a wonderful assortment of charcuterie, including smoked duck breast and some ridiculously good pork rilettes. It's a great way to sample the highlights from the butcher shop.
One of their most intriguing dishes, the Octopus Terrine was definitely a highlight. With some of the most tender octopus I've had, it was accompanied by a little burst of fresh tomato along with a melt-in-your-mouth tomato water gelée. Definitely not your average bar fare. The dish also came with a little side of Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho (not pictured), which was another fresh accompaniment to the octopus, and a lovely chilled dish for a warm evening. Another side was a nice dollop of burrata, which was creamy and delicious and topped with crunchy bread crumbs. All together, a wonderful assortment.
A nod to Stone's Aussie heritage, the pork pies are a home-y, comforting dish that highlight's the meat-centric menu as well as the seasonal accoutrements. Enclosed in crispy, flaky, and fluffy dough, the meaty pies were decadent little bites, and balanced well with the sweetness and acidity of the tomato jam. They were seriously addicting, and I would have easily taken more of these to-go.
Seared foie gras is just another dish proving this bar menu is not-your-average. The foie itself was rich, flavorful, and fatty, definitely a heartier, meaty take on this delicacy. An indulgent hors d'oeuvre that seems a bit dressed up for a patio, but definitely allows you to feel as if you've gotten a fuller and more complete experience of the restaurant.
Finally, we finished with the Lamb Ribs, one of the favorites off the regular menu. The were really nice and tender, while the slight gamy-ness of the lamb was nicely offset by the fresh leek yogurt and smokey eggplant. A filling and satisfying way to end our little meal.
Overall, we had a really nice evening. The patio is lovely, and definitely fills up as the night goes on. Of course, we would love to come back and eat in the restaurant, but in the meantime, it's nice to know that we can pop over to the patio and enjoy some great food and drinks in a more casual environment.