When a friend asked me to meet him for drinks in Culver City at the end of January, he suggested East Borough. I had not yet heard of the restaurant and learned that it had been open for less than a week. I found the restaurant on Washington Blvd., just east of Sony Studios and next door to City Tavern, and we enjoyed a few tasty cocktails. I knew I had to return soon for the food, which I did.
East Borough is a contemporary Vietnamese restaurant with a first location in Costa Mesa. John Cao and chef Chloe Tran from Costa Mesa have partnered with Paul Hibler (Pitfire Pizza, Superba Snack Bar) and chef Jason Neroni (Superba Snack Bar) to offer Vietnamese flavors and the French-influenced side of Vietnamese cuisine. The staff is exceptionally friendly and very well versed in each dish on the menu.
Starting with the cocktails, they are all made with fresh juice and house-crafted items. The cocktails incorporate Asian flavors and spices, such as thai basil, tamarind, ginger and lemongrass. The Saigon Soda (gin, kiwi, vinegar, lime, thai basil), In Eastern Fashion (bourbon, pomelo, chocolate chili bitters), Tamarindo (reposado, tamarind, lime, sriracha salt) were refreshing subtle cocktails. But, the subtlety was enhanced when paired with the spicy flavors of the food.