Chef Tony Alcazar presides over The Bottle Room, a brick-walled gastropub in Uptown Whittier that he co-owns with a pair of firefighters. Craft beer lovers already view The Bottle Room as a destination thanks to the high-test taps, but don’t sleep on the food.
Alcazar previously worked as chef de cuisine of Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse for two years, spent a sting at Mike & Anne’s in South Pasadena and logged time at The Langham under Craig Strong. He’s now turning out some of the more interesting beer-friendly fare in L.A. County. Better yet, he changes the menu seasonally, or as inspiration strikes. The Bottle Room also hosts compelling brewmaster dinners, tap takeovers and other events on a regular basis.
The Bottle Room blends seamlessly into the Uptown Whittier streetscape. Look closely.
The clean, contemporary space occupies a former jewelry store. The Bottle Room now features a covered patio, L-shaped bar, high-top tables, bricks walls, high ceiling with exposed ductwork, drop down Edison bulbs, and twin flat screen TVs.
Tony Alcazar pays close attention to his taps, rotating craft beer handles constantly.
The Bottle Room Original Burger is one of L.A. County’s best’s hamburgers, with egg-washed brioche cradling rosy-at-the-center sirloin, Swiss, molten blue cheese, arugula and caramelized onion that Alcazar accents with brown sugar and balsamic.
Jumbo BBQ Prawns grace cheddar grits with a chunky, potent Cajun-style Andouille, pepper and onion sauce. Scallions complete the picture.
Pigs in a Blanket aren’t what you’d imagine. They consist of boneless Kurobuta pork shortribs cradled in a crepe, topped with tangy tomatillo sauce and fried eggs.
One of Alcazar’s off-the-cuff bar snacks consisted of a brioche slider with apricot jam, St. Andre triple cream cheese, crispy speck and a (thankfully) judicious amount of truffle honey.
The Bottle Room’s “Mexiterranean” Heirloom Tomato salad combined baby cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, mozzarella balls, red onion, avocado, micro cilantro and chile oil.
Alcazar often can’t help but be meaty, and his pork belly qualified, with a hearty slab joining stewed Italian beans, cherry tomatoes, and to put the dish over the top, fried egg.
Bizarra Capital is Whittier’s go-to taco spot, but Alcazar’s Tacos de Camaron were solid, with plump shrimp on thin corn tortillas with sweet corn salsa and spicy chipotle aioli.
Bread Pudding joins buttery brioche with brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and heavy cream, plus Ciao Bella hazelnut gelato, salted caramel and hazelnut crunchies. My bartender, John said re: Smog City Groundwork Coffee Porter: “This and the bread pudding are going to be friends, like Legos in your mouth.” True story, thanks to the beer’s bitter body and chocolatey finish.
Not many spots make good beer floats, but The Mad Monk is a winner with North Coast Old Rasputin Stout, caramel gelato, sea salt caramel and crunchy hazelnuts.