Looking to rally the troops? Head to Messhall after work next Tuesday. Located in the heart of Los Feliz, on Los Feliz and Hillhurst, Messhall is the ideal home base to reconoiter. The Tuesday specials— $1 oysters and $5 drafts—are the perfect reason to bring friends and family together for a fun and relaxed evening. The craftsmen décor and campfire-chic ambiance add to Messhall’s casual yet edgy vibe.
Oysters on the half-shell, craft beer, and signature cocktails go hand-in-hand, and Messhall has you covered. My troop, hailing from the Miracle Mile, Toluca Lake, and Brentwood, watched in delight as our first round of oysters was freshly shucked at the oyster bar, just adjacent to the long, natural wood full bar. The oysters are served on ice with a pungent house mignonette, smoked cocktail sauce, and Atomic horseradish (be careful here, all you need is a smidgeon unless you’re looking to clear your sinuses!). The oysters, fresh from Virginia that night, were medium sized and full of flavor. They were simply delicious. We polished them off quickly and were sad when only empty alabaster shells remained on the plate.
Try a draft beer to accompany your oysters. Stone IPA is always a favorite with its hoppy zest and 6.9 percent AC. 1903 Lager from Craftsman Brewing Co. is also a must-try with its delicately nuanced, full-bodied flavor.
If you’re craving something a little stronger, Messhall offers an extensive list of signature cocktails, listed under the “Survival” section of the menu. The mixologists are very creative, combining unlikely ingredients to make delightful and unique drinks. The “Feel Good Hit of The Summer” is just that with its winning combination of gin, heirloom tomatoes, rosemary and lemon. The clean, savory flavors are light and not overpowering, making this shaken cocktail smooth to sip on. The aromatic rosemary takes this drink to the next level. It’s definitely a must-try.
Messhall also elevates classic cocktails with interesting and high-quality ingredients, making them exciting and imaginative. For instance, the Penicillin — an old favorite made with scotch, lemon, honey, and ginger — is updated by the addition of smoky laphroaig mist and a candied ginger garnish. The April mule, Messhall’s version of the classic Moscow mule, includes a splash of grenadine and is mixed with a deliciously spicy ginger beer.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Burning Trees. This drink appeals to those looking for something with a kick, with its potent combination of arbol chile infused mezcal, citrus and agave. Its robust and smoky flavor is unlike anything I’ve ever tried before and the heat from the chile in the cold shaken drink makes the cocktail a fun and confusing game for your taste buds.
While oysters are the special on Tuesdays, Messhall’s menu offers plenty of delectable dishes to pair nicely with the signature drinks. We opted for smaller sharing plates, and plan to return for a full dinner next time. The smoked corn fritters are flavorful, fluffy, and somewhat addictive. The sweet, smoky corn is accented by a zesty poblano and pumpkin seed romesco sauce. The sauce’s heat and herbaceous tang cut the richness of the fritters, making the dish a textbook hit.
The short rib poutine is another fantastic dish to share over drinks. These “souped-up” cheese fries are an update of the classic, served in a skillet with braised short rib, chicken gravy and cheese curds. They are sumptuous and sinful, and worth every calorie.
My favorite share-plate of the evening was the hot wings confit. Buffalo wings are always a winner, but Messhall makes them a grand prize with their confit-style prep and modern plating. The wings are cooked in their own fat, making them lavishly rich and fall-off-the-bone tender. They are coated with a distinctive buffalo sauce that is full of flavor without being overly spicy. The wings are drizzled with a cooling blue cheese sauce and topped with thinly mandolin-sliced celery. The plating and flavor make the dish of wings look and taste elegant and refined.
So next Tuesday, when you’re looking to corral your friends to enjoy great food, drinks and atmosphere, head to Messhall. With specials like $1 oysters and $5 house draft beers, Messhall is a win-win.
Messhall is located at 4500 Los Feliz Blvd., at Hillhurst. (323)660-6377. www.messhallkitchen.com. Happy hour Monday through Friday, 4-6 p.m., late night happy hour, 10 p.m. to close, Friday and Saturday. Open for lunch weekdays brunch weekends 10 a.m.-3 p.m., and dinner nightly.
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