Dammit, found another awesome place for cocktails all the way on the Eastside. Add it to my growing list of fave bars that I can’t visit often enough and never really get to: the Good Luck Bar, Tiki Ti and Bigfoot Lodge to name a few.
However, unlike those bars with their endearingly zany cocktails, Little Dom’s on Hillhurst in Los Feliz is offering up something for fans of classic cocktails. That’s right, apparently they just got their full liquor license several weeks ago and are now serving up the hard booze, but in a classy way. I’m talking Sazeracs, Proper Highballs and Dark & Stormys.
The spawn of Hollywood institution Dominick’s, LD’s an upscale-casual bistro designed to feel just as old school as its forebear — sometimes through legit means (antique bar and light fixtures; ’40s-era celebrity headshots), sometimes not-so-legit (furnishings “aged” by the very set designers that created “Clint Eastwood”).
The only thing is you’ll be lucky if you can score a seat at the fabulous antique wood bar itself. Little Dom’s, actually a cozy restaurant serving Italian-American fare, is small and definitely not the sort of place you can just drop by for a bite or a drink. At least not without a bit of a wait. Reservations are always a good idea here, especially around dinner time.
Fortunately since Sarah from The Delicious Life and I were meeting up with some savvy friends who already knew the deal and had made reservations, we were able to score a booth in the front room right across from the bar. Going with four gals is also a great way to try a bunch of different cocktails at the same time.
In our zeal to try everything we ordered the Dark & Stormy ($10), a delicious take on the classic ginger beer and rum cocktail; the Los Feliz ($12), a surprisingly tasty gin treat which made me overcome my aversion to sweet peppers; the Proper Highball ($11); an alchie Cream Soda ($9); a Sazerac ($11); and an off-the-menu something the manager called a tangerine Sazerac (?).
All were hits but the unanimous favorite at our table was the Dark & Stormy which uses housemade ginger syrup in place of ginger beer. And of course, I appreciated the potency of the Sazerac (Rittenhouse Rye, Herbsaint and Peychaud’s Bitters) I had ordered but definitely a sipping drink; and on this night I was in the mood to guzzle.
The Cream Soda was a second fave, but you really can’t go wrong with vanilla bean-infused vodka and gingerale — my fave vodka cocktail.
Some of the cocktails on the menu were created by manager Nikki Sunseri while the rest was a collaborative effort. And a really good list it is — there are about 10 drinks. Here are some of the other cocktails of interest:
- Amaretto Sour ($10): Disaronno, egg whites and fresh lemon juice
- The Godfather ($12): Chivas Regal, Amaretto, Amarena cherries and fresh orange peel
- Enzoni ($12): Bombay Gin, Campari, fresh Concord grapes and a touch of sweet
Oh yes, and the food there was awesome. We noshed on appetizers and pizza, trying to share everything, which I found really difficult to do. Everything was just so good. The Escarole with avocado, radishes, baby tomatoes and shredded aged provolone ($11) tasted so fresh and I couldn’t get enough of the baked ricotta and Biellese wild boar soppresatta ($15). And of course we had to get the rice balls ($9) of which there were only two. We just broke off pieces with our forks. “Anyone else want this?” I always asked before I digging in again. I felt so rude eating all the food but it was so yum! Next time I’ll just have to get my own dishes.
The only thing we ordered that we weren’t crazy about was the side of brussel sprouts with bacon which ended up being blah. Apparently bacon wasn’t enough to save it.
The dinner menu is a bit on the pricey side for me — $11 pizza margherita, $15 burger, $24 wood oven-roasted cedar plank salmon and $41 grilled prime NY steak. The pizza we ordered with sausage ($2 for the additional topping) was yummy with a crisp crust. I’d probably stick to the pizza next time I have dinner here. Although I may be tempted to treat myself to the $17 ricotta gnocchi fritto with chanterelles, Cavolo Nero and porcini cream. Dude!
I see Little Dom’s as a special occasion restaurant if only because of the prices. There are dining tables on the sidewalk and booths in the front room leading you to believe it’s perfect for casual dining. And I guess it is for ye of fat wallet but for a cheapskate like me, I’m saving it for a date night or birthday dinner. There is a warmly lit main dining room that’s perfect for both occasions. BTW, another great thing is that breakfast and lunch are served all day. Alll. Dayyy!
2128 Hillhurst Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90027 (map)