Dining With Grace: Golden Bull

After one of my classmates at our yoga class told me how very good the food was at the “new” Golden Bull, I decided that my friend Barbara and I should try it.

As you likely know by now, this longtime and long-loved Santa Monica Canyon restaurant was sold in December and then closed for a few weeks in order to refurbish and update the bar area, the kitchen and the main dining room. The bar/kitchen were then re-opened so that regulars could again have a place to catch a bite to eat and a drink.

Although the dining room is still closed, Barbara and I were able to enjoy every minute in the bustling bar/dining area.

Bartender Daniel Baker keeps the drinks flowing at the Golden Bull.

The comfy black leather seats and background mirror let us survey the busy bar scene and relax as we read the attractive menu of wines (by the bottle or glass), along with the array of cocktails for which the Golden Bull is famous.

The shortened temporary menu is amazing with four small “Starter Plates” including one of my favorites, Crispy Crab Cakes ($13), which we shared as a starter. These cakes were even better than I remembered with their classic French remoulade sauce topped with pea tendrils. The flavorful sauce of a mayonnaise with mustard, capers and herbs was delicious.

The large plates included the famous Golden Bull burger ($19), a fried buttermilk chicken sandwich ($17), grilled New Zealand king salmon ($26), buccatini pasta with cracked black pepper ($21) and an all-natural hangar steak with frites ($28).

Each offering sounded enticing, but we finally decided on the salmon and the buccatini pasta. As a note, each of the five dishes had intriguing sides that made it difficult to make a decision.

Golden Bull Restaurant in Santa Monica Canyon. Credit: http://goldenbull.us/photos/imagepages/image10.htm

The grilled New Zealand salmon was superb. Fresh, beautifully cooked and thoroughly delicious, especially with the accompanying Brussels sprouts, baker’s bacon and brown butter.
The long, hollow strands of buccatini pasta flavored with pecorino and parmesan cheeses along with cracked black pepper were also tasty and delicious.

I had a nice time chatting with Chase Ahders, one of the quartet of new owners, but as always there was too much food for me, so happily some went home with Barbara.

If the sides interest you, think about the burger with its grilled Maui onions, smoked cheddar and a secret sauce. Or the fried buttermilk chicken sandwich with its accompanying Asian pear slaw, pickled Fresno chilis all on a sourdough roll or the hangar steak with roasted garlic butter and mint chimichurri. All sounded fascinating.

Furthermore, unlike many other places, the main dishes are served on very hot plates which keep the food warm. That is a definite plus.

Our charming waitress recommended the banana cream pie for dessert. It was scrumptious and worth every yummy calorie.

The restaurant is open 5 to 12 p.m. daily (and until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday). Nice to know that you can stop by on your way home from a play or concert.

The new owners hope to have the back of the restaurant open within a few weeks, but in the meantime, they are adding new dishes to the menu so loyal customers have a variety, and to also get a feel what people would like to have on the menu when the entire restaurant is open.

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