Pop quiz: Little Bear is (a) a series of children’s books by Maurice Sendak, (b) a short, chubby and hairy gay dude, (c) a Belgian-inspired gastropub that I am currently obsessed with, or (d) all of the above. The answer is (d) but i’m just going to focus on the restaurant here.
This Belgian beer cafe opened three months ago directly across the street from its fancier French cousin, Church & State, in Downtown’s hip and happening Historic Arts District. It’s the newest venture of The Oinkster’s Andre Guerrero and The Surly Goat’s Ryan Sweeney, which I guess means that this bear is the son of a pig and a goat. Little Bear is a fun place to drink. It’s dark, loud and has a cool industrial chic interior with a funky chandelier and Edison bulbs in glass globes dangling from a high ceiling. The rotating beer list is impressive and filled with unusual gems served in specialty glasses.
But this isn’t just a place for drinks; the food is excellent and features updated versions of rustic Belgian fare. First and foremost is a dish I now crave everyday: Gougere Sliders with Fried Oysters, Tartar Sauce, Bacon and Arugula. For the slider buns, Little Bear uses amazing buttery Gruyere cheese puffs! This appetizer is seriously one of the most delicious things to eat in the whole city and I’m surprised it is only on the dinner menu and not available for lunch. Two other dishes I love are the Duck Confit with Dry Cherry Chutney, Kale, Farro Risotto and Kriek, and the combo of Cassoulet, White Beans, Pork Belly, Spicy Sausage, Smoked Slab Bacon and Duck Breast. I also really like the Sauteed Black Tuscan Kale. For dessert, I recommend the Chocolate and Cheese Plate with Cherry Bread Crisps, Port Marmalade & Candied Walnuts, as well as the Chocolate Waffle with a dipping sauce of White Hot Chocolate.
Little Bear is located at 1855 Industrial Street, Los Angeles (Downtown).
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