Federal Bites

While it's not uncommon to discover that little NYC side streets and tucked-away alleys boast some of the best food on the planet, it's not necessarily as expected to discover consistent deliciousness on a busy thoroughfare like Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood, California.  Hollywood, sure.  West Hollywood, absolutely.  North Hollywood ... meh.

Our spread of appetizers at THE FEDERAL BAR.
That said, you'd be surprised.  Housed in a restored bank building once the victim of an infamous bank heist, The Federal Bar is a fantastic neighborhood bar & restaurant space with killer food, great brews on tap, and a surprisingly solid collection of spirits (they have Laphraoig 10 year Scotch.  Winner).

I had one of the best burgers of my life at Federal — a pastrami burger with a patty made of corned beef atop of prime sirloin burger, sitting on a pile of sauerkraut, all served on pretzel bread.  Did you hear me?  Pretzel.  Bread.  I wish I had a picture of it.  (I wasn't blogging then.)

THE FEDERAL BAR: Mini-Stuffed Bleu Cheese Burgers.
THE FEDERAL BAR: Mac-and-Cheese.
THE FEDERAL BAR: Maple-Glazed Sweet Potato Tots.
Federal is, for all intents and purposes, genuinely upscale pub fare, making it a refreshing option for the locals and businesses in the area.  It's also one of my favorite places to sit back, relax, and tuck into a table of tapas after (or during) a long work day.  After one particularly brutal day recently, in fact, I grabbed a couple of girlfriends and we attacked their menu of appetizers and sides.  No need for a formal meal when you just need a beer and a bitch session.

Consistent favorites are the Mini-Stuffed Bleu Cheese Burgers, the Federal Hot Wings (sprinkled in bleu cheese rather than drowned in dressing), Maple-Glazed Sweet Potato Tots, Bacon Brussels Sprouts (with a deep fried goat cheese ball ... hello), and the perfectly crusty, always bubbling, richer-than-Bill-Gates Mac & Cheese, with applewood smoked bacon, three cheeses, and smoked poblanos.  It will kill you, but you'll go straight to Heaven.  Trust me.

THE FEDERAL BAR: Federal Hot Wings.
THE FEDERAL BAR: Bacon Brussels Sprouts.
The fact that so many of these dishes come served in mini-cast iron skillets is, frankly, smart.  Fun.  I love fine dining, but there's nothing quite like kicked-up comfort food, and these guys do it well.

So if you find yourself in NoHo ... or you live there, or in Toluca lake, or you're tired of the offerings on Riverside and Ventura ... stop in and get an Allagash on draught.  Amazing.


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