Food writer Merrill Shindler recently tackled the phonetically-challenging iX tapa Cantina, a newcomer to the Colorado Boulevard dining scene. He, first, found that the eatery’s name brought out his inner grammar curmudgeon:
Food writer Merrill Shindler recently tackled the phonetically-challenging iX tapa Cantina, a newcomer to the Colorado Boulevard dining scene.
He, first, found that the eatery’s name brought out his inner grammar curmudgeon:
Look: You’ll forgive me if I spell it “Ixtapa.” Apparently, the spelling chosen by the Jack and Karen Huang, the restaurateurs who opened this Urban Chic Cantina, is the somewhat keyboard-unfriendly “iX tapa,” which will drive me to madness. And it’s apparently caused those who note restaurant openings on the Web to sprain all ten fingers. Take a look, and you’ll find “Ix Tapa,” “ix tapa,” “IX Tapa,” “Ixtapa” — the variations go on and on.
THE PLACE: An Eagle Rock standard, The Chalet, was closed down in the summer to undergo a metamorphosis. The result was The Black Boar, a British-style pub with lots of cheap, craft beers on draft. The shift was met with shock and some tantrum-like resistance by The Chalet’s hardcore fans, who apparently couldn’t bear — boar? — to say goodbye. But is the bar at 1630 Colorado really so different?
THE PRICE: You can’t really argue with a drink list that’s plastered with $5 signs.
And, to think, the price gets even lower during happy hour. That runs from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, when all drafts and well drinks drop to just $3.
Even during peak hours, those five bucks will get you rolling through an impressive draft menu that’s extensive enough to cover all the bases while still offering some unexpected thrills. Mine was Old Speckled Hen, an English pale ale that felt befitting an establishment with a mounted boar’s head as the bar’s focal point.
THE SOUNDS: The original Chalet jukebox survives another day. The machine itself seems to have a following, so let that be the olive branch.
THE FOOD: There’s no food served, but patrons can reportedly bring in the noms from surrounding establishments. Closest of all is Casa Bianca, the famed pizza joint with infamous long lines (the wait’s worth it) and it’s just paces from The Black Boar.
THE VIBE: There’s a barely palpable difference in feeling between the former establishment and the latter. To me, that’s a good thing; The Chalet isn’t dead — it just has new life. But did it need reincarnation? I guess the owners thought so.
Maybe it’s the brighter lighting — The Chalet was always dark as midnight — and the pristine wood that would be better off for some wear. There is something slightly colder about The Black Boar, but isn’t that the stalwart English way? (The stone walls, aside from being literally cold, smack of the not-so-far-away Griffin’s dungeon-esque quality.)
The total effect is hardly bad at all. On the contrary, compared to its former life, The Black Boar still feels easy but also slick, upscale — less den and more iniquity. It’s compelling enough that my Hollywood-based companion opined, “I wish there was one near me.”
AGE GROUP: Oxy kids reign supreme in Eagle Rock, as they do in this pub. Also, for your people-watching pleasure: Local artists and alterna-hippies on the prowl in their Free People dresses and tees.
BEWARE: Beer is the emphasis here, and there’s no custom cocktail menu, despite the so-called “new cocktailian” revolution that’s creeping like kudzu through downtown L.A. and Westside. Still, with an extensive and stately bar, you’re only limited by your imagination.
GO: The Black Boar, 1630 Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock. Daily, 7 p.m.-2 a.m. (323) 258-8800.
MY RATING: 3 — Take advantage of the fireplace and warm up to The Black Boar. You might find things haven’t changed so very much after all.
RATINGS: 5 is really, really hot; 4 is hot; 3 is fun, loose, low pressure; 2 is cool, relaxing; 1 is just OK, sorta cool.