A new themed restaurant has opened amongst the bustling hub surrounding the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles. It shows promise, as long as the general public gives it a chance, and the restaurant can hold up to the high standard that the décor, theme, and prices that it shows off.
It’s christened “Excalibur Medieval Restaurant”. Now, your mind might automatically jump to the kitschy feeling that the standard Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament can bring about, but this restaurant seems to have something different. It takes the heart of the medieval ideals, and combines them with food. It’s not your standard turkey leg, goblet of beer type of place.
This past evening, on April 12, they held their Grand Opening, complete with a King and Queen, Knights, a Jester, a world-traveled magician, musicians, and dancers galore.
Vaclav, the magician, displayed some serious skills with his card tricks, one of which involved a dagger pistol, as well as “tapping” into the energies and aura of an unsuspecting volunteer. Andrew, the Scottish piper, played his heart out while the dancers (almost all from the Celtic Arts Center in North Hollywood) entertained with some traditional Ceili group dances. As the night progressed, Peter McGowan and Suman enchanted guests with a tribal rhythm and sound which had hints of a Celtic line at times, along a belly-dance display by Suman. As the evening came to a close, and the music was still going, it was pleasant to see some of the wait staff getting involved with the music and dancing. It’s those spontaneous moments that every human spirit encounters that can bring magic to a time and space.
While the royal company and others would normally not be in attendance at the “castle” during the normal operating (I’m sure they’re off visiting the War Dukes, and bringing the entertainment with them), you can still enjoy what the restaurant has to offer.
The menu has an assortment of single person entrees, each generalized into an earth location: The Land – Meats and Fowl, The Pond – Fish, and The Garden – Veggies. If you are of a stronger will, and want to tempt your palette, they also offer duck, venison, boar, rabbit, antelope, or pheasant, but you may want to call ahead to ensure that it’s available that day. If you are in a group, you may want to opt for one of the Feasts, which covers meals for 2 or more people.
CHEF BENI VELAZQUEZ draws on worldwide influences to re-imagine dining in the Medieval age. His unique menu utilizes fresh organic produce and meats from local farmers, sustainable seafood and an eclectic blend of European-inspired spices and flavors to stimulate the most carnal senses. Excalibur guests are invited to eat with the bare hands as they savor dishes like.
Unfortunately, there was a down side to the evening. It seems that the kitchen may have run out of food, as quite a few guests at the front of the restaurant were not able to sample the delicacies, and left thus left early.
If you find yourself amidst the Downtown area, and are itching for a different style dining experience, or else are going into pre-, or post-, Rensaissance Faire withdrawals, this might be your place. Visit their website HERE for more information!
*I had been invited to attend the Grand Opening as a volunteer Ceili Dancer, but how could the nerd side of me resist taking in all of the other medieval aspects? It was an enjoyable time, and the staff was friendly and welcoming*