First and foremost, I would like to apologize for how dark these photos are. The Parish is mostly lit by candlelight and while this makes everyone very attractive, it’s disastrous for taking photos.
I was lured to the Parrish for two reasons. The first being it had a $17 burger. That’s right. Seventeen whole smackeroos for a burger. This I had to try. Gourmet burgers are by and large pricey, but never more than 12 or 14 bucks. When you hit $17 you’re basically saying “This is the best damn burger you can buy! How do I know? Because you’re going to pass up buying a steak frites at a respectable restaurant for a burger.” When your burger costs as much as that, it better make you writhe with pleasure.
Reason number two is a sillier one. The fact of the matter is that British gastropubs are becoming a thing in Los Angeles and whenever a new one opens as a half British person I feel it is my duty to try all of their sticky toffee puddings. Every single one. (By the way, if you are a gastropub and there is no sticky toffee pudding on your menu, you’re doing it wrong.)
The Parish is located in Downtown where Main St. splits and gives birth to Spring St. It is wedged so tightly between the two it’s shaped like a slice of pie. They have a downstairs patio, but we were ushered upstairs to the main restaurant. Let me tell you they had a perfect blend of British and Angeleno elements upstairs. There was a dead pheasant hanging over a Spanish tiled fireplace. There were overstuffed leather chairs pulled up to dark wood tables. The walls were covered with busy English wall paper patterns and a giant map of downtown LA. It was lovely if super dark.
The bar is tended by gentlemen poached from Seven Grand, so the drinks were delightful. The menu was whimsical and expensive. Three deviled eggs were $6! (Worth the investment though.) To start my roommate and I had an array of scrumptious things: deviled eggs covered in chili sauce, beet salad with sharply tart molasses yogurt and wheatberries, ripe peaches and green beans covered in burrata cheese, and most decadently of all, a rich chicken liver mousse with sherry toast and onion rings. That’s right onion rings WITH chicken liver mousse. It was scrumptious.
Finally the big moment arrived and they put the burger down in front of me. The description of it on paper was outrageous. It had epoisse, argula, and pickled carrots on it. For those of you who haven’t yet experienced epoisse, let me tell you, it’s one of the stinkiest cheeses known to man. Just a waft of it has known to fell men at twenty paces. Imagine a cheese that stunk of drains combined with pickled carrots on a burger. Gutsy, right? How could one possibly pass that up?
Turns out they spent so much time on the cheese, the pickled carrots, and the chiabatta bun, the Parish completely forgot to pay attention to the burger itself. The patty was chargrilled and too salty. I expect that kind of patty at Burger King not a fancy pub. It broke my heart. It was like those hoodrat cars you see with expensive rims. It doesn’t matter what racing stripes you paint on a 1986 Ford Fiesta, it’s still a 1986 Ford Fiesta.
My faith in the place was restored with their sticky toffee pudding, which was warm and rich and golden. Honestly 90% of the meal was fantastic. I will be back Parish to try your meat pies and fried chicken, but there’s no way I’m getting your burger ever again. It seems to be your Achilles heel. The black hole on the otherwise stellar menu.