When Mohawk Bend opened last year, it was with a lot of press and hoopla. I’ve been quietly slipping in for lunch and dinner since last Halloween, and have yet to be disappointed. Like its sister restaurant, Tony’s Darts Away, it’s all about the beer. They offer over 100 selections including Barleywine. Seriously, when have you even heard of barleywine outside of a folk song?
They also serve an assortment of cocktails. The Darby Crash struck us as a little morbid, but then we had to try it. Rhubard liquer, limoncello, grenadine, OJ and soda, miracle mile sour and cherry bitters mixed up by Mikey was reminiscent of a Tequila Sunrise with the citrus and cherry flavors. We kind of want them to make a sorbet with it. Mohawk Bend make all of their own sodas, and if I could ask for one thing it would be to make a sugar-free creation or start serving iced tea for diabetic customers.
The high ceilings of the refurbished movie theater open the room up, but the use of woods and other natural materials along with dim lights give the room a cozy feel. The crowd is drawn from the gentrified echo Park neighborhood, causing some people to comment on the hipster factor. I’m actually quoted in Wikipedia complaining about hipsters, yet the Mohawk Bend crowd has never bothered me.
Service has always been friendly, if a little unpredictable. Sometimes your food arrives almost before you order it, and sometimes you have to hunt down your server for butter. But you can tell they put a high emphasis on customer service and lack of ‘tude.
The menu is enticing, with lots of potatoes, snacks, and vegan items. Lunch is a smaller version of the same menu, which rotates seasonally. While we were not blown away by the burger, and the short-lived pork burger was purely a novelty, there are many arenas in which they soar. The smallplates, especially anything involving potatoes, are cookedto perdection. The flatbreads are kind of a cross between pita and lavash, cooked so that the ends are crisped like crackers. There are a variety of dips, although I have only tried the black eyed pea hummus, a dish that proves what vegan can be in the hands of a skilled chef.
The mixed leaf salad with a maple vinagrette was not as sicly sweet as I had feared, but it’s definitely for those who like acidic dressings. The soups are house-made and comforting. The potato-cabbage soup is so mild it was more like leek soup. It made me wish it was raining outside.
There are two dishes that will keep us coming back. Their fish and chips are simply stellar, a cross between the crunch of King’s Head, and the puffy ones my mom used to fry up at home. The other impressive dish is their pizzas. They seriously kick ass. The Fun Guy with mushrooms is rich and earthy with a nice crisp bread, and the Private Idaho, although a bit heavy on the carbs, comes with a chewier oval crust. We are a bit wary of the Breakfast all Day pizza, but another unusual pizza blew us away. The Pig Newton with serrano ham, fig & cherry tapenade, goat cheese, topped with arugula and black currant balsamic is something out of an angel’s dream. A pork-loving angel.The fig and cherry tapenade is such a perfect foil for the ham, and every other ingredient is carefully thought out. It may be the perfect pizza.
Now if I could only remember the name Mohawk Bend. It sounds like some outback Canadian town. For some reason I’m always thinking,”Buffalo Jump?” “Whiskey River?”