A2 Rating Scale (out of 5):
Rumor has it that La Brea is LA’s new restaurant row and with the opening of Odys + Penelope, the chatter continues. FIRE. SMOKE. WOOD. These seem to be the theme of not only the menu, but the space as well.
Odys + Penelope could not be more different than the Hatfields’ late restaurant Hatfields (RIP). With not a white table cloth in site, O+P is all about sleek, industrial, and wood on wood. From the exposed piped ceiling, to the wood walls and the open kitchen with visible flames, the design is simple and spacious. An olive tree (seemed a little measly to us) at the end of the generously sized bar pays homage to the name inspired by the Greek epic The Odyssey.
We opted to forgo our reserved two-seater table in the back of the restaurant in favor of the high, reservation-free, communal table in the main room; we like to be at the center of the action, that’s how we roll. So, if you’re NOT on a business meeting or romantic date, no need to change your plans if you can’t snag a res since the communal tables and bar’s open seating are just as fun and readily available. Be sure to grab a metered spot on La Brea if you’re lucky (fingers crossed, as the tab will be heavy), otherwise the valet stand is right out front.
While the space is modern, the food remains pretty classic; cooking meats all types of ways with a Brazilian-style churrasco, grill and smoker. We say “pretty” classic because the menu pairs the traditionals with some ‘out there’ ingredients. And although meat is what comes to mind, they offer plenty of options “from the garden”. All items are best shared but warning, the garden sides are VERY small.
The crowd was a mix of people of all ages, couples and families, and for a Monday night, we were happily surprised with how busy the restaurant was. While the communal tables are conducive to larger group dinners, they’re very much located at the center of the space so privacy is limited.
There were highs and lows with the food and service; some waiters really just had no idea what was going on while the hostess was more than willing to give us her recommendations. And while we wish their special of the night was a regular menu item, other dishes were pretty inedible (more below). That being said, we wouldn’t rush back, but we’re definitely keeping it in the back of our minds if they decide to switch anything up.
THE MEAT AND SUCH WE ATE:
Smoke Stack ($12) – [Alie] Chipotle infused tequila, lime agave, smoked salt. I was definitely in need of a strong drink on this Monday night and the waiter recommended this one. Smoky and spicy is what comes to mind. Not my two favorite adjectives or tastes but if that’s what floats your boat, then give it a try.
Malbec ($13) – [Alex] Big price-tag, small glass. Definitely going the cocktail route next time.
Grilled Bread Crostini ($16) – creamy crab, avocado, fennel, fresno chili. This was really good, as it was fresh and light. Definitely a nice counterbalance to all the heavier meats on the menu and in our bellies.
*Special of the night:* Spare ribs ($16) – So incredibly delish. Can someone please explain to us why this isn’t on their menu? Just a special — SAY WHAT?! Fall off the bone, melt in your mouth, sauce all over your face and lick your fingers clean AMAZING. Even if on a hot date, you need this in your life. Give the people what they want O & P… more ribs please!?!
Bacon wrapped chicken thighs, lemon date chutney ($18) – Sounded promising, looked gross, and unfortunately tasted even worse. Fatty bacon, fatty meat and it was sweet like honey. Confused on all levels. Spend the extra money to get yourself something else from the brasero or a different main — don’t make the same mistake we did.
Kennebec fries, za’atar, yogurt aioli ($7) – if you’re trying to cut the carbs, save em’ for somewhere else. We finished them, but mostly because we barley touched the thighs. While they definitely have some sort of twist, it felt like you could make them at home by mixing everything on your spice rack together.
Chocolate pie, rye crust, Spanish peanut crumble, vanilla-malted ice cream ($10) – Finished in less than five. With the Hatfields attached, dessert is a MUST and they didn’t disappoint. If you’re sharing with someone, make sure to get a generous bite of that crumble and fresh whip, it will be a sad day if you don’t.