Romance is in the air, and it smells a lot like burgers and cider.
Seated by the handsome pine bar of Silver Lake bistro, Lucky Duck, we fell for an offbeat combination: chef Bryan Stevens' smoked gouda-topped burger ($16), made with grass-finished DeyDey Ranch beef, and a glass of Cyril Zangs Cidre Brut ($8), a musky farmhouse cider from Normandy curated by local wine shop owner Lou Amdur.
Situated in an unassuming strip mall on the western edge of Silver Lake--next door to a Pilates studio, naturally--Lucky Duck is run by the same crew as nearby brunch favorite Square One Dining. The jet-black space is distinguished by a big yellow duck painted on its outside wall, but don't let the comical veneer fool you; the interior possess all the hip charm of a Parisian wine bar.
Surveying the wine bar
Amdur's eyebrow-raising list of small production and New World wines, all priced at or under $14 a glass, is enough to warrant an exploratory visit. His philosophy for pairing: Put the food first.
That food includes burly vegetable dishes like grilled Treviso with fried breadcrumb-coated eggs and salsa verde ($12) and chopped cauliflower "couscous" with yogurt, curry oil, and sliced dates ($12). Pair them, perhaps, with a dry, scarlet-red 2012 Lambrusco Montovano "Incantabiss" ($8) or a blooming 2011 Sebastien Riffault Sancerre les Quarterons ($12).
Is Lucky Duck a wine bar with great food or a restaurant with a great wine list?
We feel lucky either way.