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New Crawford’s Social Hits All the Marks

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By Kathleen Sterling

I’ve been doing restaurant reviews for almost 40 years, and have learned it’s probably the toughest business around.

There have been a lot of hits and some misses, but once in a while you get a rare one that has the trifecta of success – amazing food, great service, great  atmosphere.

The new Crawford’s Social in Westlake Village hits all the marks. Only open for two weeks when we dined, the service was impeccable.  Mario, our excellent server, said that the staff “over-trained” before the opening to get ready, and it showed. Their website even puts it right out there: “dedicated to delivering a service experience you’ll remember and appreciate.”

And to food? Chef John Formica, formerly of Tao downtown,  has created an inventive menu that rocks!  He trained in Italy and France, and cooks with an Asian flair. The “very global” and “colorful” menu, in his words, is designed to be shareable, which was perfect, because we wanted to try more and more! 

The portions are large, so definitely order several dishes for the table.

We started with jumbo lump crab cakes – four of them with a lemon remoulade. Delicious. The sweet and spicy shrimp was so good we ordered a second. Not too spicy and topped with candied walnuts. The top-selling app here is the tuna-stuffed avocado, followed closely by the Hamachi crudo. 

We tried the lollypopped chicken wings, which were lightly breaded and easy to eat. However… almost every table we saw was sharing the sliders – small filets with maitre d’butter – so I’d go with those next time (and there will shortly be a next time, and a time thereafter!)

Still hungry? 

Everything was terrific, but I have to go with the crowd favorite. Asking Mario what the number one entree was, we chose the prime skirt steak with chimichurri. It was melt-in-your-mouth, even though we like our steak well-done, which frustrates most chefs!

The highlight of our evening though, had to be the crispy brussels sprouts. I’d go back just for those, with their garden herbs and chili-lime agro dolce.

We also tried the broccolini with a sherry-lemon vinaigrette, pine nuts and chili flakes. Excellent,  but I’d still go with the brussels sprouts.

The wine list has a nice selection – especially of sparkling and champagnes. I paired my dinner with wine, while Glen tried two of their hand-crafted cocktails. The #22 bartender in the world, Rory Gillis, flew in from London to craft the bar menu, which includes 10 specialty cocktails, the curated wine list, beer (including a non-alcoholic offering) and several mocktails.

We didn’t forget dessert. Again, looking at the  crowd, the warm chocolate brownie looked to be the most popular, but Formica’s favorite, that he insisted we try  – twist my arm – is the lemon meringue pie with candied lemon atop – insane.

From the moment we walked in the place was jammed. I know new restaurants get a flush of curious diners, but inside and out (even in the cold) were people partaking.

Crawford’s Social hits a nice blend of modern and comfort. The black and white exterior has a patio that wraps around almost the entire restaurant, with fire pits, comfortable sofas and  high tops for eating and imbibing. There’s also a big communal table for larger parties.

Inside there are two long bars, and some lovely small and cozy wrap-around booths tucked into their own alcoves. Windows all around bring in light and views of the lighted trees.

There’s a lot more on the menu, so bring a group and share!
Crawford’s Social is located at   974 South Westlake Blvd. Visit crawfordssocial.com to check out the menu and whet your appetite! 


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