Editor’s note: We continue to hear raves about the “new” Golden Bull from residents. We spoke to General Manager Tyler Dow, who said the challenge is to keep the eatery a great place for locals with Happy Hour specials, but to also give Pacific Palisades a top-notch steak house. We sent Grace Hiney, the town’s iconic food critic to check it out. Her report is below.
The Golden Bull
170 W. Channel Rd.
Santa Monica Canyon
By GRACE HINEY
I am happy to report that the Golden Bull is now in full action after a redo of the interior of the restaurant, following a sale of the venerable establishment last year.
Throughout the past few months only the bar/kitchen areas were open as the dining room was being refurbished. But now the dining room is open to all—AND—it is a delightful place to enjoy your brunch, dinner or late-evening cocktail on your way home from the theater or other social event.
Comfy step-up leather booths, subdued lighting and a quiet atmosphere make eating here a pleasure. Under Chef Greg Daniels, the food is excellent.
The menu’s opening page lists cocktails, which include Manhattans, martinis and old-fashioneds, and other spirits (a variety of vodkas, scotches, whiskeys and tequilas). There is a “Jacob Hamrick Mystery Drink” ($12), in which the customer is invited to “pick a spirit and a flavor, the rest is up to Jacob” and a “Daniel Baker Surprise ($12) “full of love and smiles and booze.”
The next page lists wines, and includes prices by the glass or bottle, as well as prices for bottle wines only. Here, if you want to celebrate a special occasion you can splurge on an expensive wine, if you wish, and your guest will know that it is indeed special.
Next is the menu listing “Small Plates,” such as the delicious crispy crab cakes ($14), which my friend and I enjoyed the last time we dined at this delightful old restaurant, founded in 1949.
This time we shared the Golden Chopped Salad of little gem hearts, radicchio, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, Castelvetrano olives and egg, all in a red-wine vinaigrette ($14). Other small-plate offerings include French onion soup ($14), Burrata caprese ($14), hand-cut steak tartare and fried calamari ($16).
We were treated to a shrimp cocktail ($16), poached in a citrus with just a taste of sea salt and dipped in a sauce that had a hint of horseradish. Delicious.
The “Large Plates” section includes the famous Golden Bull burger with smoked cheddar, red onions, butter lettuce, tomato, pickles and a special sauce, joined by garlic fries ($19). This section also includes slow-cooked salmon, roast chicken, Berkshire pork chop, lamb chops and steak frites plus rigatoni and meatballs and garden linguini. All of these dishes are served with vegetables and are priced from $24 to $36 (for the lamb chops).
The one dish I did not list was my friend Barbara’s choice, the delicious poached halibut served with asparagus, mushrooms jalapeno onion puree and water cress ($32).
My selection was from the last menu page “Steaks and Chops.” These a la cart dishes may come with a variety of sides, such as creamed spinach, sautéed corn, roasted mushrooms, grilled broccolini, onion rings or baked potato ($8) or special sauces ($4).
I very much enjoyed the 8 oz. hanger steak along with roasted mushrooms flavored with jalapeno onion puree and watercress. This was a perfectly cooked medium-rare excellent steak ($24).
However, my readers all know that I am a small eater (thus half of the steak went home for the next day). Other offerings vary from the prime rib (14 oz) with Yorkshire pudding, French onion jus and a choice of a side ($46) and the 10 oz. filet mignon ($46) to a 16 oz. bone-in ribeye ($58), a 12 oz. New York Strip ($46) and an 8 oz. flat iron ($20).
There seems to be something here for every wallet. And do not forget dessert. Sweets vary from peach cobbler ($12) to a s’mores casserole ($14). The croissant bread pudding ($12) is exceptionally delicious with salted caramel ice cream and dulce de leche (intensely sweet sugar and milk) and ground shortbread cookies for a bit of tasty sweet crunch—this is a special dessert. There is also a Mexican Sundae ($12) with a choice of ice cream, candied peanuts, hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry on top.
Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and there are $3 mimosas. Dinner is served from 5 p.m. until closing. “Early bird” happy hour is from 5 to 6:30 Monday through Friday and there is a late-night happy hour from 10 p.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday.