We’ve been preaching about The Tasting Kitchen pretty much since it opened its doors on Abbot Kenney almost a decade ago. Over the years, the bar has served to produce some of Los Angeles most-forward thinking and best known bartenders. Former individuals behind the bar have gone on to helm some of the city’s top-rated bars, and yet TTK seems to get overlooked.
It might be because Chef Casey Lane produces some of the Westside’s finest fare. Food is protein and carb heavy, with savory and bright pastas plated alongside perfectly cooked meat. Nonetheless, the bar has remained one of the neighborhood’s busiest spots for years, and for good reason. Tens of housemade bitters, purees, and other concoctions line the bar, and the liquor shelf is stacked with varieties of spirits that were hand-selected with their ever-rotating cocktail menu in mind. You simply won’t be finding a bottle of Ketel One here, and that’s truly wonderful thing.
There is a tree in the center of the downstairs dining area, and cocktails are fresh in every way. We’ve been suckers for the Road Runner ever since it first splashed past on our tongues. Mezcal, lime, St. Germaine, and lavender serve to create a bright, citrus forward melange that pairs perfectly with a hot summer night just blocks from the water.
Usually $20 cocktails are tough to stomach, but not at The Tasting Kitchen — to a point that it can be dangerous for the pocketbook. It’s not only a bar for the late night Venice crowd either, brunch cocktails show an attention to craft that is generally missed by the hordes at other neighborhood locales pounding bottomless mimosas and rum punches. If you’re looking for a little pick me up after a long night, nothing is better than the Night Shift. Everyone has their own play on a milky, coffee morning drink, but none can touch the iced pleasure that comes from this cold espresso, bourbon, milk combo. If you are looking for a hot variety, their Irish Coffee is made with Red Breast.
TTK remains our home away from home whenever we find ourselves on the Westside, and for good reason.