Sawyer Brings Seafood, Craft Cocktails & A Great Happy Hour To Silver Lake
Sawyer is shaping up to be one of our favorite summer spots for tasty cocktails, seafood and patio dining. Sawyer opened up in late May in Silver Lake. The charming eatery boasts a smallish dining area out front, and a placid patio out back that manages to be so quiet and shrouded in green that you almost forget you got there via a bustling street like Sunset Boulevard. It's great for mid-morning brunch, but also has a fireplace for those chilly nights.
The space formerly held an Indian restaurant, but Sawyer's owners (Beau Laughlin and partners Brett Cranston and Jay Milliken) elected to split up the venue into two businesses: Sawyer, and cold-pressed juicery and coffee bar Clover. You can access Clover via their street-facing entrance, or, should you really enjoy secret passages (because I know I do) a sliding wall located just inside Sawyer.
Seating can be found among multiple butcher block tables, and the clean, modern decor includes a wall of delicate pink flowers drawn by by artist Carly Kuhn. The bar is particularly striking, also made with a butcher block surface and lovely blue tiles. We'd suggest you come for the space alone, but they do, of course, have food.
The menu, by chef Alex McWilliams, contains a lot of contemporary California cuisine and plenty of seafood, including a raw bar menu of oysters. An interesting share plate can be found in the duck fat popovers, which are flaky, savory pastries that you can tear apart to reveal a soft inside ($8). We very much enjoyed the Carolina fried chicken. This is one of the menu's heartier items, featuring two large pieces of tender white meat in sage gravy, served with a side of jalapeño grits. At $16, you could probably split this with a friend and be very satiated.
We'd also recommend the Maine lobster roll ($18) or the soft shell crab sandwich ($15) if you feel like splurging on your own. The lobster roll can come hot with beurre blanc fondue or cold with mayo. (We suggest the hot, because the fondue is very tasty.) The crab sandwich comes on a black, squid ink bun, containing fried soft shell crab, red cabbage and scallion mayo. On the lighter side, the chilled rock shrimp and avocado is an option, featuring a good portion of shrimp and sliced avocado with lettuce in a creamy buttermilk and herb dressing ($15)—but it's more of a peckish than a famished dish. Plenty of veggie options can be found in the share plates and salad section of the menu, and you'll also find a burger and steak available if you're not in the mood for seafood.
You can also stop by on the weekends for brunch, with options including chicken & waffles, oats, pastries, toast and eggs dishes, the lobster roll, fish tacos and more. Brunch cocktails may be made with Clover juice, for a dichotomy of health fad and our favorite brunch poisons.
Like most modern eateries nowadays, Sawyer has a mixology menu. We'd suggest the Low End Theory for something refreshing, as it combines smokey mezcal with tequila, honey, ginger and lime. However, for something spicy, try the Stranger's Almanac: tequila blanco, yellow chartreuse, grapefruit, grenadine and lime. The most unique drink of the bunch is likely the Sanborn, which comes served in a teacup and is made with bonal, curaçao, thai basil, cucumber and lime. Bonal is a French aperitif made with wine and the wildflower gentiana and chinchona bark—that's what's in quinine. Please note that these carefully crafted elixirs can take time if the bar is busy, so if you're in a rush to catch a buzz, we'd suggest taking a peek at their wine menu, curated by general manager and sommelier Dario Dell’Anno.
Happy hour is daily from 4 to 7 p.m., and offers $4 beers, $5 wines, $6 wells, $8 select classic cocktails and deals on select food—like a $7 fried chicken sandwich. And if you're trying to squeeze in a casual, post-work date, here's a pro-tip: They've got a happy hour special that gets you six oysters and a glass of wine or beer for $12.
And did we say it's good for people watching? In our short time there, we spotted a TV superhero, a well-known comedic actor and a fashion model.
Sawyer is located at 3709 W. Sunset Blvd. in Silver Lake, 323-641-3709.