Across the West Coast the cocktail scene is growing. Slowly but surely, specialty spirits and house infused tonics have become an essential part of any restaurants drink menu. Much like the wave of craft beer over the past decade there has been a lot of innovation and of course, unnecessary excess. When you look over the cocktail menu at The Ordinarie, you won’t find any unnecessary gimmicks or intentionally strange ingredients. The cocktail program piloted by David Castillo and the endlessly interesting Michelle Bearden is rooted in the evergreen feeling the restaurant was founded on. Straight forward drinks in a way you might not expect. One of the best examples of that is the Bees Knees. This is a simple concoction with honey, gin, and lemon but as Michelle mixed one up for me on a warm Friday afternoon she let me know it might taste a bit different than I was expecting. To give this light drink a bit of depth she used a barrel aged gin instead of the typical more floral variety. Seemed like a genius idea, adding a smoky element to an intentionally simple concoction.
Unsurprisingly, Michelle had been correct in her description. The smokey flavor from the barrel aged gin added a depth that breathed a whole new life into this drink. I sat down with the intention of savoring it until my order of mussels arrived but ended up needing a second to enjoy with my meal. Everything on the menu is designed to be enjoyed together. The mastery of their food is comparable to the cocktails, simple ideas executed with skill and innovation. I cannot help but get an order of their mussels everytime I stop by. Swimming in a white wine and garlic sauce that serves as the perfect balance to the smoky and sweet Bees Knees. Another must order item is the oh-so-cheesy Ordinarie Fries. Coated in short rib gravy and a decadent cheese sauce, I love to pair them with a fresh drink like their Pisco Punch (which I’ve written about before here).
Like I mentioned before, The Ordinarie is coated in the classics. The interior is dark wood heavily dotted by classic paintings and antiqued mirrors transporting you to a pub in the 1800’s. An ordinarie itself was a mandated building for meeting, eating, and drinking back when small townships lacked the funds or population to construct a main street and opted instead for a multi-use establishment. Our Ordinarie, located in the middle of Downtown Long Beach, fills the same necessity. With a broad menu of fantastic food and an ever evolving cocktail program, this is exactly the place you would want to have a business meeting, celebrate an achievement, or just unwind after a long day. No gimmicks because there is no need, the quality speaks for itself.