25 Degrees (review)
I'd had good experiences recently at Lucky Devil's, and wanted to check out the competition.
We were lucky enough to find street parking close to 25 degrees on Hollywood yesterday...had we not, the Hotel Roosevelt (where the restaurant is located) validates valet parking for $6...ouch! I know it's not much in Hollywood for parking, but it still gets me when I'm just going for burgers. Anyhow, we got lucky this time.
We walked into 25 Degrees, and we loved the decor. It was a clean, beautiful space; well designed and laid out, with a long wooden counter running down the length of the place, 6 booths, and about 4-5 tables for two.
We were worried when we saw the two servers on duty: two beautiful boys in matching tight T shirts (my girlfriend practically drooled). Usually, the pretty people (obviously model/actor wannabees) in Hollywood aren't the best in the service industry, but I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised with how helpful BOTH of the servers were when answering quiestions and making suggestions. They were both extra friendly, and in a very genuine way.
We sat at the long counter.
The menu was spare, but well-presented.
Burgers (bare) are $9 a piece...adding artisan cheeses ($2 each), toppings like bacon or Avocado ($1.50 each), and sauces ($1 for mayonnaise?!?), sends the total up to around $15-16 each.
We asked to split a wedge salad (Iceberg, bacon, bleu cheese and onions). It was listed as $9 on the menu. The ingredients were very good (The tomatoes very ripe for this time of year), but the lettuce was a little brown. Overall, pretty happy with this dish, and we were happy that they split it for us in the kitchen.
The burgers came out: Mine, medium-rare with bleu cheese and bacon, and hers Medium with Smoked Cheddar and a fried egg.
We both commented on how good the bread was. The server told us it was from La Brea Bakery, and we believed it. Very tasty.
The burgers both cooked the way we wanted them, and the quality of ingredients (Beef and toppings) was evident.
We split an order of fries ($6), and one order (served in a Chinese take-out box) was served with garlic-parmesan sauce and chipotle aioli, even though we hadn't ordered the sauces (both $1 each). The server said he'd brought them out for us, and that we would "never use ketchup again." The order was HUGE.
We agreed that the sauces were excellent.
I had iced tea (which the server kept filled), and my lady had a diet coke.
When the check came, I noticed a few things:
1) The salad was $11, not $9 as it was listed on the menu. I assumed that this was a split charge, but I wish we'd been told about it.
2) The fries were $8, not $6. I guess this was the two sauces that we didn't order
3) Out soft drinks (listed on the menu as $3 each) was NOT on our check. I didn't know if this was intentional or not...I was kind of ticked about the price differences, but I guessed that we were just about breaking even, maybe even getting the better of it. I didn't want to say anything...I didn't know how to nicely complain about the charges and also ask to be charged for the drinks, so I just put a $12 tip on the $49.00 check, and we left.
Overall, the burgers were very tasty, and our service was far better than we expected. I would definitely go back. I think that for the price, service, and decor, 25 Degrees is a better meal than Lucky Devil's, although I sorely missed the LD fries and Pecan shake.
I must have been on an off night, but my visit to 25º was one of the worst restaurant experiences of my life. Here's the short version:
I should start by saying that the parking situation was terrible (Which is another story altogether. I certainly don't hold 25º responsible for the behavior of the Roosevelt lot-staff, but their actions did set a poor tone for the entire experience).
The hostess/manager was arrogant and unaccommodating. When told the wait would be 30 min. we volunteered to sit at the bar, which was only about half full. Her response was a gruff, "fine, sit at the end". I thought she might have something against our party (We certainly gave her no reason to.) until I watched her reduce one of her wait-staff to tears in full view of the entire restaurant.
Our server was very nice, and very prompt to take our order and deliver or check, but those were the only times we saw her. About fifteen minutes after we had placed our order, we noticed that our food had been placed in the window for delivery. It was a full ten minutes before we were able get a bus boy to hand us our food, which as you might guess, was cold-ish.
I don't think it would be fair to the chef for me to review the food given the circumstances of it's arrival, let me just say that the ingredients seemed to be of quality, but the grind of the beef is too fine.
I should say they that they were nice enough to not charge me for my milkshake; well, at least after I informed them that it never arrived.
I'm a burger nut, I love 'em all, from AM/PM to The Grill. I've read so many great reviews of 25º, so I was very exited to try it. I'm usually not the sort to say I'll never go back to a restaurant after one bad experience, but I will never go back to 25º.
I have yet to try Lucky Devil's, but I went to 25 Degrees awhile ago and enjoyed it a lot. Of course, I enjoy my burgers on the sparser side (with only a couple of toppings), which does keep the cost down a touch. Also, you can get an order of half onion rings and half french fries, which I always like because I am ever-so-indecisive when it comes to figuring out what fried accompaniment I want with my burger.
As for parking - you can always park in the lot at Hollywood & Highland, buy something cheap (perhaps a cream puff at Beard Papas, after a certain hour you can get the NYTimes half-off at Starbucks - or, if you're me and my friend, stuff at Sephora) - and get out of there for $2.
It bothers me just a little, but I guess if I knew what it was from--like if it meant the meat was real fresh or something, then I'd like it more ;-) I only mention it for people who are super-sensitive to "off-tastes".
(Hmmm, now I'll have to try BLD's burger and compare)
BTW, you can bring your own wine to 25 degrees, and no corkage--that's a big plus to me.