It doesn’t matter where you perch at International; you’re guaranteed a picturesque view of San Jacinto Plaza. The downtown bar has been open for over two months, but was no small feat with construction lasting a year. The tri level, high ceiling bar has an airy, urban feel, balancing modern and historic design. The second level is made cozy with couches and bookshelves, while the rooftop bar overlooks the park and features a walkover skylight that peers down to the first level.
Craft cocktails including a revolving boozy slushie, wine and eight beers on tap are served, and now, a kitchen houses multiple surprises. For one, you’ll notice Tap nachos are on the menu, and that’s no tribute to the legendary bar’s appetizer. It’s the same recipe, thanks to The Tap’s co-ownership of the kitchen, which also means bar and food tabs are paid separately. The other surprise is that Chef Michael Diaz de Leon (formerly of Comfort Co. food truck and Funkmeyers Rec Room) has culled a menu of seemingly tame items made up of worldly flavors, laced with smoke and complexity.
Six lunch items are served with your choice of yuca fries, sweet potato fries or house salad (strawberry, feta and candied cashews in a maple Dijon vinaigrette). Heartier items include a smoked provolone cheeseburger, buttermilk-marinated fried chicken sandwich, duck confit grilled cheese and a seasonal veggie sandwich with feta and hummus. Housemade preserved lemons do double duty as ingredients for cocktails and the shrimp tacos, while short rib tacos are braised in a dark lager and topped with queso fresco. Other items include a quinoa and kale salad and a dip trio with guacamole, black bean dip and housemade hummus accented by smoked salt and mint.
Poké, made trendy in LA, makes its way to the menu during lunch as a rice bowl and during dinner as a tostada. At International, the Hawaiian dish is made with ponzu-marinated yellowfin tuna. The dinner menu is more casual, mostly consisting of shareables like Asian wings tossed in hot sauce, kimchi, garlic flakes and cilantro. Cola-glazed pork belly can be ordered as tacos or steamed bao buns.
Keep an eye on this hot spot for wine course dinners and new menu items, like sous vide ribs in a five-spice caramel sauce.
114 Mills Ave.
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Lunch 11 am-3 pm, Dinner 5-10 pm, Bar 11 am-2 am