Tompkins Square, nestled in the heart of Westchester near LAX, serves to debunk the boring burgers and cheesy chicken fingers of the past. Owned by the Tompkins brothers (that’s where the “square” comes from), this neighborhood bar is really like nothing I have experienced before.

The brothers came out from New York and bought up the dwindling remains of Fireside Bar, which was a staple of the community for many years. The dim lighting and grim ambiance of Fireside are but the stuff of memories.

“We got a New York sensibility here,” manager Mike proudly states. This unique perspective has directly influenced Tompkins Square’s extremely unique take on your typical bar menu. Simply put, the food at Tompkins is surprisingly, shockingly and deliciously good. We’re talking sushi grade tuna, Niman Ranch beef and some altogether phenomenal concoctions.

I got to sample the Jerk Tenderloin Skewers, which featured unbelievably juicy kebabs of some of the best steak my mouth has ever encountered. Those who aren’t down with the red meat are urged to enjoy the Tuna Tartare, which features amazing tuna layered with fresh avocado and is supplied with crispy wontons for a decidedly unique and utterly delectable creation. At $9, the Tuna Tartare is an unbelievable deal that is worth every penny.

Burgers, which represent the beating heart of the menu at Tompkins Square are massive and feature a wide variety of toppings ranging from bacon to onion strings to apricot BBQ sauce. Make your own or select from several pre-made gems and be sure to do jaw stretching exercises before; this is one enormously badass burger.

To wash all this great food down, Tompkins Square stands to do waste to the times of lukewarm Bud Light and lame cocktails. The bar boasts no less than 20 beers on draft, including some that I have never seen at any bar before.

St. Bernardus Wit, a Belgium beer, has the bragging rights of having a 10 percent alcohol content, over twice what a normal beer has, and luckily it tastes pretty good, too. Good luck finding that at Cabo Cantina.

Tompkins Square was met with initial suspect and skepticism from the Westchester community when it took over the beloved and historically relevant Fireside. Don’t fret, Westchester, the new guys in town are pretty impressive.

Grades – Draft Selection: A; Liquor Selection: B; Price: B+; Atmosphere: B; Entertainment/Music: C; Food: A.

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