Eat It Jamaal: Sawyer

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If you listen to the What’s Bruin Show on a regular basis you’ll often hear hosts Bill and Jake erroneously refer to me as a hipster. Sure I live in Echo Park (we were here way before the hipsters showed up), yes I wear t-shirts of my favorite TV show (The West Wing), and on occasion I will blast Mumford and Sons.

Sorry folks but I’m not a hipster, although on one night in Hipster Land I did get to eat like one. On a rare date night for the wife and I we decided to keep it local by discovering one of the many new restaurants that have opened in Silver Lake.

We decided to try Sawyer, which opened up in the Spring of 2016. Located on Sunset Boulevard right in the middle of Silver Lake. If you go to their website you’ll see Sawyer calls itself a Kitchen and Bar, and not a restaurant. This is their way of telling you they aren’t pushing out Denny’s blue plate specials.

When you walk into Sawyer you’ll definitely notice the crowd skews young and despite the fact that it was a late Thursday night, the place was full and noisy. Again the place lends itself to a more contemporary look, no linoleum or safari themes. If you didn’t know that Sunset Boulevard was just outside, the interior reminds you of what you might see in other burgeoning neighborhoods teeming with youth.

We started with drinks, of course we didn’t have bartenders, nope the good ol’ mixologist was behind the bar acting like a mad scientist.  My first drink was titled Up In Smoke (a Cheech and Chong reference?)a mixed drink with mezcal, chareau (California plant basedliquer), verjus a blanc (literally White Grape Juice),and orleans (a plum variety, not the band).

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The drink is mixed and poured into a glass that has been treated with fire hence the smoke, unfortunately that smokey flavor overwhelms and you don’t get the other flavors coming out.  You could have told me I was drinking straight bourbon and I would have believed you.

Since the first drink wasn’t to my liking I ordered another one.  This time I got a Low End Theory (a nod to A Tribe Called Quest), a cocktail over ice this time with mezcal, tequila, and reposado (known in my family as the Mexican trifecta), honey, ginger, and lime.  A much better choice very refreshing especially with the hint of citrus.

Started with an appetizer of shrimp and grits.  A southern staple this is item is popping up on more and more menus.  This variation was very savory and cheesy, finished off with little bits of bacon.  The flavors mixed great together and I would make everybody order this if they came into the restaurant.

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For my main course I went with their burger with bacon, which came with fries.  The burger had pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, pickles, caramelized onion with a mac sauce.  This is no hockey puck burger, it was gigantic and you’ll definitely need two hands because it can get pretty sloppy.  The patty had the right amount of crust on it making it a very tasty burger, but the caramelized onions and mac sauce made it a slippery mess. More of the burger ended up on my plate than in my mouth.

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Due to the large portions I should have eaten either dishes but not both, and because the burger was a sloppy mess I would have just preferred the shrimp and grits.

On the recommendation of one of the servers we decided to get a peanut butter chocolate pie for dessert.  This was the perfect marriage of the chocolate flavor with a whipped version of rich peanut butter, it was like eating the best Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup you could eat in your life.

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Overall Sawyer was a great experience and it was nice to be a hipster for one night.  Don’t forget your tattoos, vinyl records, and Chuck Taylor’s if your going to go, and Eat It!! just like me.

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