Another gastropub? I know, I thought the same thing, too. But the same thing the Churchill is not. This new gastropub on West 3rd Street right across from Magnolia Bakery is named after Sir Winston himself and it could do a good job making you as rotund as the old guy. Not because the food is fattening. (Although I admittedly went a little carb crazy.) It’s because the food — locally and sustainably and organically sourced — is so good that you’re gonna keep eating and eating until you feel like you have to be trundled out rolly-polly style like Violet from “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.” (Which I’ve secretly always kinda wanted to do.)
So what did I have and what did I like? To start we had the pizzas from the wood oven. So good! I haven’t been this excited about pizza since Stella Rossa’s purple kale and spinach version. And while Churchill’s crust isn’t as crisp in the center as Stella Rosa’s, it does have the right amount of chew. Do yourself a favor and order the following two: Wild mushroom (lots of enoki) and artichoke. The latter is, like SR’s kale, a revelation. It’s one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” combinations with baby artichokes, roasted pistachios, burrata, arugula and just a squeeze of lemon. OMG to live for!
Also really good: The rockfish stuffed with a little roasted fennel, olives and corno di toro peppers served on top of eggplant puree. Really flaky and flavorful, if just a touch dry. Oh, and the mac & cheese with a dusting of bread crumbs and the option of adding broccolini? Brilliant! You can delude yourself that adding some green makes it healthy. As creamy as the dish is, it’s not overwhelmingly heavy. Somehow they pulled it off.
I was told the braised rabbit gnocchi is the ultimate dish on the menu, but being that I’m not a harey eater, I can’t give it a personal endorsement. But I can highly recommend the chocolate panna cotta and homemade donuts for dessert. Also, FYI: They make all their own pastas and sausages and cure their own meats. I didn’t expect this place to be so serious about food because it’s so casual, but I’m glad they’re paying attention.
Being that this is a gastropub, there are plenty of cocktails to be had. The bar can whip up whatever suits your fancy, but the drink menu is very Prohibition inspired. If you like to swill a little smoky and meaty somethin’ somethin’, then you gotta do the Cedar Room made with bacon-infused bourbon and garnished with house-cured bacon. I went the way of the Pimm’s Cup served in a Mason jar with homemade thyme-tinged lemonade. It was perfectly delightful and light since I asked for one-fourth of the usual liquor content. Still, I could only finish one fourth of it.
Finally, the staff is absurdly but not annoyingly friendly and the space itself is laidback and rustic with wooden communal tables, cool concrete floors, framed black-and-white photos, old books, an outdoor patio with fireplace and an upstairs dining area with a DJ booth and photo booth. (Perfect for private parties.) Churchill is located right on the corner of West 3rd Street and Orlando and offers FREE VALET! In fact, it’s attached to the Orlando hotel, but they would really like to keep their own identity thank you very much. (Even though they do provide room service for the hotel.) Fortunately, you don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to get your fill of the food. See you there!
Open daily. The Churchill, 8384 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048.
More info: www.the-churchill.com