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Jun 23, 2007 09:59 AM

Blair's Silverlake Insults Our Intelligence

Blair's in Silverlake has been one of my favorite neighborhood bistros since it opened. Good food, great beers, relaxed service. But when we went for dinner on Wednesday night, we noticed that all of the prices had taken a serious jump. I know that food prices have increased and I expected to see prices increases here and there, but the increases are very large. Remember, the deviled eggs and shrimp cocktail appetizer? It was maybe around $9 (others probably remember), but now it is $15!! That is one egg and 4 shrimp. Beet salad went from $7 to $10. Lamb chops went from around $28 to $36. All wine by the glass are now $12 (even whites). Now, I have no problem with pricey restaurants (just went to Providence last week), but the food, service, and ambiance have to match the price. The food is good, but the service certainly doesn't warrant the prices. I asked about a wine and my server didn't even know the grapes in the wine that she was recommending - for a $12 glass of white?!? The tables in the 2nd room (newer expansion) look haphazard and one server covers the entire room. The busboy spilled water all over the table and didn't know that we didn't get bread. All of these things can be forgiven when you are dining at a neighborhood bistro in Silverlake, but when you raise the prices you force comparisons with better restaurants. It is a shame, but I will not be returning to Blair's.

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  1. That's too bad! I haven't been to Blair's for dinner lately but was there for brunch last weekend, and we enjoyed it. I had poached eggs, which were served with sauteed spinach and some super-tasty potatoes. Service was decent, and the price was reasonable.

    That level of price increase seems particularly problematic, given that Canele is pretty comparable and their prices are much more reasonable.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DanaB

      The owners/manager don't seem to care. I went for lunch the other day and a young father let his four year old run wild around the cafe and I mean wild. She was screaming (at the top of her lungs) and running behind the counter and no-one cared! They moved me to another room, but I just should have left. I could still hear her and all I wanted to do was have a nice lunch and read my book. The thing that got me most perplexed was -- why would they not just take care of the situation? Why would you want a four year old running and screaming in an upscale bistro. I was just at Johnny Rocket's and the kids there weren't carrying on like this one.

      I never feel welcome when I go for lunch and the servers always seem like it's their first day. I also don't understand if you're basically the only person there, why you have to wait over 20 minutes for a sandwich.

      By comparison, Square 1 does things right -- the owner reads this blog and if there's criticism, he fixes it. He takes pride in his establishment and I always feel welcomed. I don't mind paying a little more b/c it's always (except one time and the owner fixed the problem) a pleasurable experience. Blairs should take note.

    2. In deference to Marshall, beet salad almost everywhere around town typically runs about $10 and lamb chops are equally around mid-$30s. $12 glasses of wine - good wines can easily run that much, but it is hard to tell how much a bottle might run if you have never heard of it and thus not really know how good it might be when ordering and your server is of no help.
      In that area, Canele is nice, the wines largely unheard of and smaller pours, the food good, yet in the case of lamb chops - a smaller portion, with a much lower overhead and a staff with almost no knowledge of the wines.
      In fact in the Feliz/Silver Lake/Atwater area, lack of wine knowledge seems a common amenity to restaurants.
      And of course labor as well as all kinds of insurances including workers comp also need to be paid.
      Just some more input on potentially why the price increases.

      3 Replies
      1. re: carter

        "In fact in the Feliz/Silver Lake/Atwater area, lack of wine knowledge seems a common amenity to restaurants."

        I agree, but it just seems that reduced service should come with a lower price. When they raised prices, they raised my expectations. The higher prices put them in comparison with higher quality restaurants. At the lower prices, it seemed that Blair's could stay open for years, but the place is just not competitive at these prices. Begin the Blair's Deathwatch...

        1. re: carter

          $12 glass of white? It better be good, and the wait-staff should know why! Consider, oh L.A. Hounds, what a resto can do with wine prices when they want to, and their clientele doesn't insist on fancy crystal or a full-time professional somelier (neither of which Blair's has, IIRC):

          Yep, that first page is HALF-BOTTLE prices, not per glass.

          And, unfortunately, lack of wine knowledge isn't the only thing which stalks the service in Silverlake/Los Feliz restaurants. . . . there's the whole "we're too cool to care about what you want" attitude. . .

          1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

            what is going on with blairs? about two weeks ago my husband and i went in for dinner. i ordered a fish and my husband pasta. my husband was so upset because the pasta had half the pasta water in it and so we brought it up. the waitress had such an as if attitude when we complained. to make matters worse you could totally tell all they did was just tilt the plate! next time when you tilt the plate, at least wipe the rim so it's not so obvious!!! see ya blairs!

        2. There was a thread mentioning that a new branch of Blair's is due to open in the Valley. I guess we've found out how they're trying to raise the funds for it...

          1. Thanks for more bad news about Blair's. I took 4 friends there a year ago, after having sung its praises. 4 out of 5 of our fish dishes were cold and hastily presented. I wrote a letter the Marshall Blair who promptly called me, saying to ask for him next time we're in. I've never gone back and now definitely won't at the new price levels.

            1. My husband and I ate breakfast at Blair's the other day and we were unimpressed. Our waitress wasn't mean, but she sure wasn't nice. The servings were small, not terribly good, and way too expensive. We won't be returning.