We try a lot of good restaurants. So many that, over the course of a year, only a select few stand out. And Journeymen was one of them. When it opened, this tapas/pintxo bar in Atwater Village felt like it was doing something really different. But since then, things have changed. It’s become more like other laid-back neighborhood spots you’ll find around town - still good, just not a standout.
While the original menu was filled with small, simple dishes that tasted incredible, Journeymen’s plates are now bigger, heavier, and not nearly as conducive to eating your way down the menu. Stuff like their blood sausage and pork chop are good, but they fall more in the lots-of-meat-on-a-plate category, and ultimately don’t feel that special. The exception to that menu setup is Monday nights, when the place gets turned into a full-on, grab-from-the-counter pintxo bar. It’s your best glimpse into the kind of food and experience Journeymen does best.
Journeymen’s setup now feels more like a wine bar than anything else. There are tables in the back if you’re looking for a more intimate situation, but we like the casual front part of the restaurant. Dominated by high tops and bar seating that lines the windows, it feels more like a neighborhood social than an actual restaurant. It’s technically full service, but you’re not assigned a specific member of the waitstaff, and you order all your food off a dim sum-style chit sheet. One thing that hasn’t changed here is the service: the staff makes sure there’s never a lull between your courses and that your wine glass is always filled.
To be very clear, Journeymen is a good restaurant. That neon green 7.5 at the top is not a mirage. If you’ve never been here before, know that you can still come to Journeyman any day of the week, whether it be with a date, your boss, or a spiraling friend who just needs some wine, and have an enjoyable experience. But if you tried this place early on, you’ll now find a place that isn’t as exciting as it used to be. At least your spiraling friend won’t mind.
Our favorite dish from our last meal here. It’s rich, savory, and a good barometer for how much your date actually likes trying food.
This has been on and off the menu since opening, but if it’s there the night you are, get it. It’s simple, but hearty. And fried eggs make everything better.
It’s hard to make scallops taste truly bad, but it’s even harder to get them exactly right. This dish falls somewhere in the middle.
Journeymen prefers to serve this cheese and relish dish towards the end of the meal, almost as a pre-dessert. Which is fine except you’re so full from the heavier dishes, the last thing you need is more bread.
Another dish whose appearance on the menu has dwindled since opening, the heirloom corn is straight-up soul-curing goodness. Cheese and corn have tasted good together since the dawn of time and that certainly hasn’t changed here.