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May 25, 2007 12:34 PM

AOC worth the price?

Hi All,

My cousin is coming to town. Would AOC be a cool place to bring her? It sounds like both the food, wine and atmosphere are very good.

Since we'll definitely be making a reservation, any advice on seating?

Many thanks!

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  1. Most definitely if you love wine and small plates. I find it most fun to sit at the bar or "cheese" bar. Neither can be reserved so you'd have to arrive on the earlier or later side or be willing to wait.

    8 Replies
    1. re: vinosnob

      Thanks, vino! Is the bar seating comfortable?

      My cousin is petite. (Sometimes with those stools, your legs are sort of dangling.)

      1. re: Liquid Sky

        I love to sit at the "cheese" bar; it's just more fun. And yes, it's comfortable.

          1. re: hazelnutty

            I've never sat at a table, only at the "cheese" bar where the "bartender" (I'm not sure what to call the person behind that bar . . . a senior moment?) has always been so friendly and helpful in explaining the menu and matching wines to food choices. Are the waiters at the tables just as helpful? Unless you want to have a private conversation it's a lot of fun to shmooze with the "bartender" and watch him slice the different salumi, and compare food and wine with the others seated there.

            1. re: whatsfordinner

              I'm sure it's fun to sit at the bar, but your back is to the room and if you are out of town, first time there it's fun to look at the crowd and see who is coming and going. If you are from L.A. or a regular then the bar or the table would work.
              When I take my out of town friends there I reserve a table-we usually see a celebrity, or the l.a. crowd, it's fun for them. I'm from L.A. so I would totally sit at the bar...I do that at BLD(actually that bar is conducive to watching everyone)

              1. re: hazelnutty

                When I'm at the bar at BLD, I'm just staring at the crepe station.

                1. re: SauceSupreme

                  No you have to sit at the side of the bar...then you can see (almost) the whole dinning room.

      2. Absolutely worth it. Good question on the seating - try to reserve downstairs if possible - upstairs can be confining, and there are a bunch of small 2-person tables lined up upstairs (and a few downstairs) where you're practically in the lap of the diners on either side of you.

        If you can have more than two people, you could probably get a booth. Haven't actually dined at either bar, but yeah, they look like your typical high chair+bar set up, which could be nice w/ a friend.

        1 Reply
        1. Worth the price? Absolutely. As to seating, it depends what you're looking for. The main room is very busy and loud, but good for people watching. The next dining room over is quieter and elegant. My personal favorite spot is outside on the patio upstairs, which is very quiet and intimate. But I think most would agree that the worst tables in the house are the indoor tables upstairs - they're basically on the stair landing. However, regardless of location, I think a dinner at AOC is a can't miss!

          2 Replies
          1. re: aching

            aching: Thanks for the detailed description!

            It sounds like both the main dining room or cheese bar are good. I didn't even know they had an outdoor patio... Sweet!

            Any must-try dishes??

            1. re: Liquid Sky

              I haven't been in about 6 months and the menu is always changing, but really, everything there is so good. My favorite dish in the past was the roasted sweet potatoes, but I would be surprised if they had that in May. The variety of dishes is one of the wonderful things about AOC - it really fosters experimentation!

              Oh, and I agree with SauceSupreme below - it's really not that expensive, especially if you don't have a huge appetite and don't need much wine (like me). Be warned, some of the waitstaff will tell you that you need 3 to 4 dishes per person, but I've never found that to be the case. I would suggest ordering 2 per person to start with - you can always order more if you're still hungry...

          2. I recently went with a group of 8. We ordered two of each of the plates in the meat section, along with two orders of a variety of others things (and four orders of the dates!). Add on wine, and it still came out to ~$60/pp.

            I prefer the lower dining area for the people watching. There's so much activity; the other diners, the wine bar, the cheese bar, the windows overlooking 3rd Street...

            3 Replies
              1. re: Liquid Sky

                great place, definitely try to sit at the bar. everyone sitting at the tables has the dateface on - kinda icky. 3-4 plates plus app should be good for the 2 of you. love the beef cheeks and squid ink risotto.

            1. In a word "no." Yeah the cheese bar is good, but so is Cube's. They have the same if not better cheeses and meats. Last time I was at AOC, I was so dissapointed. Coq au vin as a small plate dish? I found the place pretentious and overpriced.

              4 Replies
              1. re: markethej

                Thank you for posting this, now I know I'm not alone!

                1. re: markethej

                  Mark: What is the atmosphere like at Cube? Is it more "festive" or "romantic"? Thanks.

                  1. re: Liquid Sky

                    The atmosphere is a little too utilitarian to be romantic. I've only been there during the day when it hasn't been crowded enough to be "festive." I don't know if it would a good start for a girls' night out though. It's not as trendy as AOC. The most festive restaurant I've been to in a long time is Mozza which I've thoroughly enjoyed everytime I've been there. Though not a charcuterie, they do have a nice selection of meats and other nibblies and whether you sit at one of the bars, or at a table, if you are the least bit gregarious, you will be making friends all around you. At least that's my experience.

                    1. re: markethej

                      I'm curious if the Cube in LA is related to another successful Cube restaurant in Montreal?

                      Also, I think my cousin will definitely be in to the "people-watching" part of AOC since she's from out of town.

                      Thanks for the recs!