I’m a big subscriber when it comes to preservation. But for every rule, there is a worthwhile if not delicious exception. Like taking something precious and making it a place we can all have a pizza. These transitions, they bring me joy. Mohawk Bend is Echo Park’s paradoxical parlour for such – where a vaudeville theatre has turned elevated pub and opened its doors wide enough to welcome vegans as well as their carnivorous companions.
That’s right. Both.
The Spacecraft constructed space is casual and the kind of hip that doesn’t have to try. The bar is a major draw, with 76 taps of California Crafts, ample vintages, and specialty spirits, with laptop warriors and daily denizens filling the generous seating. Tufted stools. An open kitchen. A couple of different rooms and one of those soaring ceilings I’m always a sucker for. Exposed brick with contrasting greens, and a stunner of a fireplace holding center court. The vibe is ultra-casual and easily encourages regulars. The beverage program, heralding local small-scale producers, combined with the altogether ease of the place, naturally generate it.
And to continue the new-fashioned effort, most menu items are vegan by default. Serving brunch through late night munchies, it’s the place that’s serving when you’re hungry and that hasn’t gone to sleep before you have.
With Executive Chef Caroline Concha at the helm, I like how much fun they have with the vegan meets pub puzzle. Take the Big Mohawk. Two Impossible Burger patties, shredded lettuce, special sauce, vegan American cheese, pickles, onions, sesame seed bun. Straight up. You can even order it with a side of chili cheese fries. Legit pub fare with a new-fangled spin.
The pizzas are a great time too. They built their own oven for it, so the commitment is clearly there. The Angry Vegan with its triple threat of Calabrian chilis, fresh serrano chilis, and chili oil, and the Bahn Mi, complete with sriracha crema, jalapenos, serranos, and a daikon mix, both had me intrigued. At our table we went with burgers and bowls and everyone left happy.
Shout out to Randall’s Brussel Sprouts. Where a flash fry of Sriracha and a splash of citrus and agave give those little cabbages a tang of something special. The toasted almonds are a nice touch too.
Rookie mistake, we ate too much to get to dessert. And they have a cast iron chocolate chip cookie. À la mode. Won’t let that happen again.
Brick-laden and bound in retro cool, Mohawk Bend manages that elusive medium between laid back and leaving the door wide open for the less low maintenance, gastronomically speaking. It easily caters to those whose dietary wants are anything but easy, and makes neither purveyor seem secondary, no matter what side of the carnivorous coin they favour. This edible egalitarianism, this flexibility uptick, is ever so timely. And fortunately for us, tastes terrific.
Mohawk Bend, 2141 W. Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026, USA.
Tel: +1(213) 483-2337
You’ll find Mohawk Bend on Sunset Boulevard, just up the block from Alvardo in Echo Park, where the street bends, at Mohawk. The restaurant is open Monday to Thursday from 11:30am to 11:30pm; Friday from 11:30am to 1:00am; Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00am and Sunday from 10:0am to 11:30pm.
Type of Restaurant: Gastro Pub with elevated pub cuisine
Price Band: Medium
Insider Tip: Suitable for families, happy hour, locals, casual dinners, vegans and non-vegans.
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10
Jolie Loeb is a Luxury Lifestyle columnist based in Los Angeles.
Photographs courtesy of Mohawk Bend