Old School Drinks and Dining w/ a Twist at Angel's Santa Monica
We've taken a quick look inside of Angel's, the new piano bar and supper club that Temple Productions (Temple Bar, Zanzibar, Townhouse, and Little Temple) replaced Holly's West with on Wilshire. It's a sexy looking space designed by Nathalie Chapple, with a cute crush of Westsiders that appear, thankfully, out of college for once.
But alas, we have our priorities straight and headed directly to the bar and menu. So far, almost everything intrigues us; some for the good, and a couple for the curious.
On first glance the food is rather manly, with occasional dips into the "metro pool." Macho dishes from the supper club scene of yore, where fellas ordered for their molls, are accessorized slightly for both Benny Siegels and Virgina Hills.
Oysters on the half shell get a cucumber mignonette; Black tiger prawn scampi comes artfully on skewers; and a 4 Oz. flank lays on watercress, basking in chimichurri. There's a lot on there, with traditional sounding takes on tomato saffron spiced Manila clams, Scottish fish and chips, Parmesan mussels, and beef carpaccio
Stranger, but with great potential, are Southern favorite "chicken oysters" topped with a fried egg, mini-bbq ribs with a Spanish marinade, and wagyu sliders that sound like a little bit of a knock from a quite, ahem, notable favorite, stuffed as they come with bleu cheese and uncured apple wood smoked bacon, plus topped with caramelized onions. All specialties, minus oysters on the half-shell and the aforementioned scampi, are priced at $13 or below.
Cocktails take it back to the old school with Harvey Wallbangers, Singapore Slings, Manhattans, Bellinis, Sidecars, and Rusty Nails, but veer off that course for "absinthe-minded martinis" from absinthe decanters and a few other modern mixes.
We'll have to see if all this brave and fun fare justifies a "supper" in Angel's surname. Like the promised piano performances through the weekends, Depression-era radio tunes in between, and late night modern dance tunes, it appears as though it is trying to be many things to many people.
In the meantime, we could play Raymond Chandler or Mickey Cohen here for a few stiff ones, then slide off to Harvelle's without ever remembering we're in the aughts. Especially if we hit that absinthe.