Buffalo chicken mac n’ cheese with Craftsman 1903 buffalo beer whiz, blue cheese, chicken breast, crispy chicken skin (two orders); buttermilk fried chicken with roasted corn aioli (two orders); rosemary buffalo chicken wings (x12); grilled broccoli with Craftsman 1903 beer whiz; duck fat fries with smoked salt, sweet onion sugar, duck skin cracklins, raspberry mustard topped by duck confit; brussel sprouts with white truffle oil and toasted almonds (two orders); catfish and chips beer-battered in Cismontane Citizen, shrimp gumbo tartar sauce; Beer Belly grilled cheese quad deck 4×4 with cheddar, gruyere, asiago, goat cheese, bacon, maple syrup; deep fried Oreos with nutella, vanilla ice cream (two orders); deep fried Twinkies with strawberry puree, vanilla ice cream. Assorted beers, two bottles of red wine.
That is the order at Beer Belly in Koreatown (on this night that’s pretty much the entire menu). The Monster f-ing loves it! Would marry it and have high calorie kids with it if not for Mrs. Monster. Would write sonnets about it if that were not weird…
This rocking place does just about everything right. Cool vibe inside that doesn’t go too far to be hip, a large (and free) parking lot, great music that you can program from your iphone, deliciously unhealthy food that doesn’t just sound fun but also tastes like acid trip spins on old favorites, a convivial staff that knows their beer and enjoys pouring it and a crowd that is out to have fun, not preen and posture.
Are there a few negatives to the place? Sure. The water glasses (pour your own) are thimbles. Finding the place is a challenge as it’s well off the street on Western. The parking lot directly in front is actually not for the restaurant so if you mistakenly park there you may get towed (or spend your night anxiously checking to make sure you haven’t like the lazy Monster). The order at the bar philosophy can be difficult when the place gets going. If you are not a beer drinker there is only one red, one white and one sparkling wine to choose from (no hard alcohol). They do not take reservations. You may not make it out the door due to heart failure after eating so much wonderfully unhealthy food. But you’re going to die anyway buddy.
With an ever changing menu of food that is excellently prepared (even the veggies were awesome) and a philosophy of showcasing local brews, Beer Belly is just the sort of space that seems to be everywhere in San Francisco and so difficult to find in LA. The food is well priced for the portions ($6 for three large chicken breasts is a steal for example) and no where will you find bottle boyz showcasing there new rides or there tired lines or the girls who like them wearing Forever 21 best hiked up so far everyone sees the stretch marks.
So, for those of you who prefer your evening’s meal spent locked in a club bathroom have it. For those of us who are willing to go to the gym the next morning to pay for our sins, there is Beer Belly.
Why go? You don’t frequent places where adults use whistles.
Monster rating: 4½/5 Monsters
532 South Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90020