Playa Provisions is full of delights, but it’s not the easiest place to describe. It’s more than a restaurant, not quite a food hall, and not really a place to get provisions (unless you’re looking to eat ice cream for dinner — maybe you’re celebrating someone’s good report-card day or feel like reenacting a romantic-comedy post-breakup scene).
“Top Chef” runner-up Brooke Williamson and chef/husband Nick Roberts have created a 7,000-square-foot Playa del Rey complex, modeled after country marts, that is four concepts in one. The Dockside seafood restaurant (a laid-back spot with a lovely enclosed dining patio and a dramatic fireplace), the King Beach sandwich shop and the Small Batch ice cream counter are all pleasantly family-friendly, often full of parents with children who stroll over to the beach with an extra course of dessert after a meal.
But beyond those spaces is a completely grown-up experience, a perfect place for moms and dads to hide from their kids. Well, almost. “We try to do that, but he still finds us,” Roberts says of their own 7-year-old son, Hudson.
It turns out that Playa Provisions is also a lively neighborhood bar. Grain, the back-room whiskey bar (if the red light over the doorway is on, it’s open), is inspired by hidden speakeasy-style rooms like the infamous PDT in New York City, Roberts says.
The drinks, though, are all about whiskey, which makes sense because Williamson and Roberts are big bourbon fans.
“We’re both whiskey drinkers, and part of what we do is create atmospheres that we would like to be in,” Williamson says. “We wanted to keep it traditional, really old-school American at heart but obviously have a selection of whiskeys that would satisfy any whiskey drinker’s palate.”
So in addition to three dozen bourbons, ranging from Old Bardstown Black to Evan Williams to Elijah Craig 21-year, there’s plenty of Macallan, Glenlivet, and even Johnnie Walker Blue for scotch lovers. The drinks menu is rounded out with rye, Japanese whiskey, and carefully crafted cocktails like a Whiskey Smash, a Penicillin, an Old Fashioned, and, of course, a Manhattan.
You can pair what you’re drinking with aggressively flavored bar bites like a deviled crispy chicken skin toast (with cornichons and habanero sauce), chicken-fried quail in a waffle bowl, and duck confit poutine.
“The flavors on a lot of the dishes are really bold, in order for them to stand up to anything on the shelf,” Williamson says. “There’s sourness, saltiness, pickleness.”
Sounds ideal for late-night cravings. Food’s available until 11 p.m. Sunday-through-Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday, and the bar closes at 2 a.m. nightly. So you’re welcome to sip slowly long after your kids are at home asleep.
Playa Provisions, 119 Culver Boulevard West, Playa del Rey, 310-683-5109