Before I write this review I feel it is vital I mention how opposed I was to going to The Parish. Not because I’d heard bad things, but because i’d checked the menu online a few times and nothing ever appealed to me. Pigs ears, Fried Olives, Bone Marrow and Chicken Liver are words that tend to steer me away from a place, I mean come on, I am the fussy one!
The boyfriend (FG) said we had to try it because our dear friend Edwin Cruz, originally of Tlapazola Grill, was working behind the bar. It is always great when we see Edwin because not only is he as informative as he is friendly, he’s also a very talented barman. I grudgingly agreed to give it a go, but was somewhat concerned I wouldn’t like anything on the food menu.
We arrived on a typically ‘urban’ street (dirty) in Downtown, and I once again worried at our choice for the evening but when I saw the entrance I was pleasantly surprised how pretty it was. Fairy lights around the trees lit the way, then after going upstairs I found myself in a spacious and attractive restaurant, with a HUGE bar. I say huge because the depth of this bar is incredible, the most work surface space i’ve ever seen for a bartender.
I decided to start with the ‘Black bee’ which at first I thought would be a ‘beer-tail’ (a drink that tends to have majority beer and minimal anything else) but it was actually the complete opposite.
It was an interesting cocktail with a splash of stout at the end. It was great. Incredible mix of flavors from the lemon, bourbon and stout. They all came through in different waves. It had a sweetness as well as a slight bitter hoppy taste from the beer, there was also a little fruity flavor but not sure where the fruit notes were coming from. Cismontain imperial stout and Telegraph porter were the beers used and they gave some dark coffee notes too. I felt somewhat tipsy from this one drink, the mix of beer and liquor obviously got me buzzed…makes sense, being called ‘The Black Bee!’ (yeah I know, super cheesy, but it’s true!)
The Black Bee- Bourbon, Lemon Juice, Honey, Stout $12
We started with the Chicken liver on toast. Yes, you heard me, CHICKEN LIVER. At first I thought the portion was a little small for sharing, but after a few bites I understood it’s size. It was very rich and flavorful, had a slight gamey taste but nothing too obtrusive. It was a soft rich pâté on a crunchy piece of toasted baguette, and was actually a very enjoyable dish. To be honest I was proud of myself for trying liver at all.
Chicken Liver Toast- With Bacon and Armagnac $12
FG’s first drink was the ‘Queen Anne’s revenge.’ He loves his twist on a Negroni and this was no exception. Really bitter drink with a lime nose that was interesting and seemed to keep the whole drink fairly balanced. Not for picky drinkers like myself but great for FG. The rum used was 151 lemon hart, very strong and very tasty.
When I read FG’s drink name I realized that the majority of the menu was inspired by England. The whole menu had a British Gastro Pub feel to it with several uniquely British dishes such as ‘Fish and Chips’, ‘Lincolnshire meat pie’ and ‘Sticky toffee pudding.’ I felt quite at home!
Fried Chicken- Brussels sprouts, Date Vinaigrette $25
I’m not a big fan of greasy fried food anymore, but when Edwin suggested the Fried Chicken and every review we could find on The Parish from the bloggers, Yelp and Foursquare said to try it we decided we had to give it a go. I’m so happy we did.
The meat was tender and juicy, with a buttermilk battered crispy skin that wasn’t at all greasy just seasoned perfectly. It came on top of cold Brussels sprouts and dried arugula that made a delicious salad underneath. The date vinaigrette had actual pieces of date in it which added a touch of sweetness to the whole dish. Totally scrumptious!
Celery Root Mash- With Harissa Butter $7
We decided to order some celery mash to go alongside. OMG! this was also delicious. The Celery flavor was there but it wasn’t overbearing and the dish had an interesting texture like creamy mashed potatoes mixed with grits. It worked with the chicken beautifully and the Harissa butter on top gave yummy spice flavors. The whole second course ensemble was serious comfort food and I loved every bite. It was absolutely ‘finger licking food’ and at one point FG caught me cleaning the plate with my finger, I wanted every last drop! Just Excellent.
Being a true Brit myself I felt compelled to try a true Brit dessert, sticky toffee pudding. This version had dates in it, we all know how fussy I am about bits in dessert and sadly, the pudding didn’t work for me with the date pieces, but the flavors were good and FG devoured what I didn’t eat so it can’t have been bad!
We finished with ‘The Nightshift’ because it seemed like a great option for an after dinner drink. It was very bitter from the espresso but the chocolate came through at the end which was nice.
I couldn’t taste the bourbon that distinctly because it was masked by the bitterness of the coffee and fernet. Not a bad drink at all, and I’m sure it would appeal to the after dinner espresso drinkers.
The Nightshift- Bourbon, Czech Fernet, Espresso, Milk, Pu-Erh Tea and Chocolate syrup $13
I am giving the drinks 4.5 out of 5 coupes. I really enjoyed my drink and FG loved his two, they were executed perfectly by Edwin and the mix of ingredients for each drink were interesting. John Coltharpe, previously of Seven Grand, created the bar program here and I think his choices were fun and different. The mixed drink menu is varied and a grand selection of beers on tap makes this a great location to take any of your friends. There is something for all tastes.
I am giving the food 4.5 out of 5 Platters. Every bite of what we ate was delicious, but admittedly I felt the menu to be a little daunting and if I hadn’t been in the mood for fried chicken i’m not sure what I would have had. All in all this was a great night out though, and the menu forced me to try new things (which is what this blog is all about). The music was fun and the place itself had a nice vibe. Trendy but still romantic, I really liked the atmosphere. We will definitely return soon.