A Taste of MessHall, Opening This Summer in Los Feliz

Say what you will about Los Feliz, but having another high-quality food option is something locals and visitors alike will welcome. MessHall is set to open in the former Louise's space, bringing with it thoughtful cocktails, and lively comfort classics.

To give diners a taste of what's to come, MessHall popped up Friday night via a Test Kitchen stint at Short Order. In the kitchen was Mess Hall chef Keith Silverton, and behind the bar were beverage pros Julian Cox and Josh Goldman. A four-course menu and a short set of cocktails were served up, giving Mess Hall's future customers a chance to chow down on some promising grub in advance.

On Silverton's Test Kitchen menu, which opened with a single plump oyster nestled on ice in a galvanized mini-bucket, were old school dishes with a contemporary flair. Beef tartar was served cradled in a shell of crisped parmesan with a side of pickled peppers, while a brandade of potato became even more lushly supple thanks to the runny yolk of the sunny side up egg sitting on its golden top.

Entrees were rich and hearty, like a Red Baron Trout Schnitzel with a spicy aioli and a creamy cup of potato gratin, and a buttermilk fried chicken dish (I, alas, didn't sample). But here's the story of a love affair between a girl and a piece of meat: The standout of the night, a generous "hog chop" glistening with butter and paired with cheddar grits and tangy mustard greens that helped cut the savory heft of flavors. That chop, incidentally, was the best I'd ever had, thanks to its juicy ham-like qualities and perfect seasoning. Hey, I'm not going to try to marry a pork chop, but, look, I'm not going to kick this one out of bed, okay? It was terrific.

For dessert, a buttermilk shake in which you dipped a sandwich of chocolate cookies, toasty marshmallow, and buttery caramel—a fun punctuation to a great night signaling great meals to come.

Libations were complex and herbal, like Under the Boardwalk, (Tequila Ocho, aromatics and oyster leaf—a lettuce describe not inaccurately to us as "a vegan oyster'), or The Glass Kisser (Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon, apple three ways, and mint), and also classics re-visited, like the Singapore Sling (St George Botanivore Gin, Benedictine, Cherry Heering).

Stay tuned for news of MessHall's Los Feliz debut.

Ed. note: A previous version of this story indicated Mess Hall would open in August; we've learned they anticipate a June opening, and our story has been updated accordingly. UPDATE 9/10/12: After some delay, MessHall opens TONIGHT for dinner service