Jul 28, 2014

The Lab Brews Up Delicious Fare

This newly-opened brewery has quite the selection of brews, bites and bands.

The Lab Brews Up Delicious Fare

You could stand on a corner and look around until a restaurant sign draws you in, but we've got a better idea. Each week, Agoura Hills Patch picks a great restaurant either in town or nearby that is worth checking out.

Overview: It's great to have another restaurant with delicious food and great drinks pop up in Agoura Hills. With its doors open less than three weeks, The Lab Brewing Company takes over Moz Buddha Lounge's old location. After spending a Friday evening sipping on hoppy brews, dining on crafty creations and enjoying the sounds of a local band, I've decided this will be a new "go-to" spot. The bar area is great for grabbing some drinks, the outside fire pits create a relaxing environment, and the high-top tables make a fun dining experience. 

Drinks: The Lab has six handcrafted beers, including a "Lab" XPA ($6), which is similar to an IPA but lighter and less aggressive. The Bad Influence ($6) and Big Ass Red ($5) are full of West Coast flavors. My personal favorite was the Take Her Home ($5), but be careful as it has an 11 percent alcohol content. If you're a fan of stouts, try the After Midnight Moo ($5) or the Cold Fusion Java ($5), a porter. Try a combination with the beer sampler ($12). Along with their own crafted brews found in barrels that line the restaurant, The Lab boasts a fabulous guest taps menu with all types of beer. Think flavorful reds and browns, light pale ales, Belgian, hoppy and even ciders. If beer is not your style, they have a full bar and wine menu. 

Petri Dishes: (also known as appetizers) I've got one thing to say - macaroni and cheese ($11). The combination of different cheeses with a little spicy kick that's melted to perfection makes this one of my favorites around town. While on the topic of cheese, the grilled cheese ($11) served on multi-grain bread with tomato jam is delicious. For sharing, the three-cheese fondue ($14) with warm pretzel bites will not disappoint. Our table was fighting over their hand-cut fries tossed in herbs ($6). Don't worry meat lovers, there's plenty of small bites for you. Try the beer-braised meatballs ($9), barbecue duck quesadilla ($14) or a selection of sausages served on red cabbage ($12). 

Raw & Cured: (also known in my books as underwater delights) For seafood lovers, try the P.E.I. Mussels ($16) with a lemongrass Thai coconut sauce or the smoked mahi-mahi dip ($11). Dive into some half-shell oysters ($18) or a Mexican ceviche ($12) used with fresh daily fish. Diners may also find the shrimp and calamari ceviche ($16) delightful.

Liquids, Leaves & Shoots: (also known as soups and salads, but clever names, right?) Their spontaneous soup ($8), which changes, is vegetarian and non-dairy. The venison white bean chili ($11) will leave you wanting more. The classic Caesar ($9) is made with anchovies and topped with shaved Pecorino. My favorite is the Belgian endive ($9) with pear, blue cheese, candied pecans and lemon-basil dressing. The Tuscan kale ($9) with feta, cherry tomatoes, and pine nuts was extremely popular at the table. If you're a fan of creamy cheese, enjoy the roasted beet ($9) salad with burrate, arugala, spicy walnuts and avocado. 

Sphericals and Botanicals: (also known as sides, burgers and pizzas) The Lab Burger ($14) is the creme de la creme of burgers with caramelized onions, bacons, garlic aioli and two cheeses. I loved the veggie burger ($12) topped with a tamarind mint chutney, but they also have a lamb burger ($14). There is a delicious selection of pizzas, including mushroom topped with goat cheese ($16), Margherita ($14) with the option to add prosciutto and anchovy pizza ($16) with chilis and garlic. If you're craving crafty veggies, this is a place to visit with roasted cauliflower ($8), Brussel sprouts ($8) with bacon and dates, brocollini ($8) and cream of Tuscan a kale ($8) mixed with carmelized shallots to name a few. 

Solids: (also known as the main event) One of the great things about The Lab is the use of different meats and fresh ingredients. There are a variety of fish options, including Arctic char ($21) with sweet corn, grilled escolar ($21) with Cajun rice and Alaskan cod ($24) in a hazelnut sage brown butter sauce. I loved the Bow Tie Pasta ($17) with onions, peppers, pecorino and chili oil. Their impressive meat selection continues with braised short ribs ($19), an 18-ounce bone-in rib-eye ($37.50), Kobe beef Mmatloaf ($21) and hangar steak ($21) with chimichurri. Enjoy a little southern cooking with fried chicken ($19) or pork chops ($21). 

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