It's a good thing Tom Ford, Dior and Brunello Cucinelli have retail locations within walking distance of the newly opened Honor Bar in Highland Park Village — that way, if you find yourself out of the Honorable's proper attire requirements, you can go pick something up real quick. You know, something casual.
Because the Honor Bar is casual, you know?
Nestled into the corner of Highland Park Village once occupied by Patrizio and across from Cafe Pacific, the Honor Bar's brand of casual is a valet line stacked with Rovers and Maseratis. Show up in a Volkswagen and you get sideways looks all the way to the door.
Cross the threshold in a ballcap and you get looks all the way to your seat.
It's the kind of place where it's easy to get the feeling that the warm greetings and friendly smiles are all telling you "you're in the wrong place," but don't let them. That's really just the $15 crispy chicken sandwich talking.
Once you get over the possibility that you're in your own personal Pretty Woman Rodeo Drive scene, which is appropriate given that the other two Honor Bar locations are in Beverly Hills and Montecito, it's a very nice place. It's the kind of place an SMU business professor would bring a struggling-but-talented, diamond-in-the-rough student for some trout dip ($9) and a potentially life-changing pep talk.
An expansive bay window lets partial sun provide the bulk of the lunchtime light in the dining room, offering customers a dim shade of privacy, tucked into cozy, high-backed booths.
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The lunchtime fare is classic American: prime cut filet, the Honor Burger, a veggie club and a kale salad with rotisserie chicken. The menu isn't going to knock anyone over, but after a good round of golf, if the clubhouse menu isn't looking up to par (oh dear), this is probably the kind of food you want — assuming your lunch plans usually include $25 salads or a $35 filet.
The $15 crispy chicken sandwich, despite its tendency to spill its contents everywhere as you bite down on one end, is a tasty chicken sandy. The breading is crispy, and thick-sliced baby Swiss tops a borderline ridiculous portion of spicy slaw between the meat and cheese. The sandwich sauce is mayo, but the spicy slaw, which is spicy in name only (despite the waitstaff's insistence that serrano peppers were somewhere in the mix) has this great mustard vinaigrette that drips all over your hands unless you take knife and fork to it, which I'm sure some do.
This is, after all, Highland Park.
The Honor Bar, 26 Highland Park Village