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AOC voters

Anyone recently eaten at AOC and how was it.Worth the drive from the valley?

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  1. I feel its a bit over-rated. Everything was decent but nothign was great. If you're traveling from a distance, you want a place you walk away from wowed. Lucques & Hungry Cat are sister restaurants and have consistently good reviews.

    6 Replies
    1. re: ElJeffe

      I agree with El Jefe. Go to Lucques, nothing like the owner's hand in the kitchen.

      1. re: ElJeffe

        I agree with ElJeffe, although Hungry Cat is not a sister restaurant to Lucques and AOC; the chef at Hungry Cat is David Lentz, Suzanne Goin's husband.

        1. re: mollyomormon

          Sorry, to clarify, Hungry Cat is the ball & chain restaurant to AOC:)

          1. re: mollyomormon

            I disagree. We have been to both Lucques and AOC in the last few months and the meals were both outstanding. AOC get's the nod however over Lucques for a little better food quality and much bigger selection (of food and wine) and I much prefer the dining areas of AOC to Lucques.

          2. re: ElJeffe

            i liked AOC, but do i agree on it being overrated. its not the kind of place that i would frequent more than once every few months. the atmosphere is not as friendly or as comfortable as Lou in hollywood and its more expensive. if i had a choice between either AOC or Lou, i'd have to pick Lou.

            1. re: ElJeffe

              I've actually seen a lot of negative reviews of the Hungry Cat here, but I'm still a fan. Nonetheless, I would take Lucques or AOC any day of the week over HC. In addition to having food that is much better, the ambience of both Lucques and AOC is so lovely, whereas HC is all hard surfaces and loudness.

            2. Worth the drive and then some. AOC is soooo much better than Hungry Cat. Hungry Cat for me has been very hit and miss food and service-wise, whereas AOC pretty much nails it every time. My all-time favorite is AOC's black squid risotto -- but really it's all good. And love the small-plates approach. They also have what seems to be hundreds of wine by the glass and the wait staff is very well-informed about them all and suggest great pairings. Also let you split glasses if you like. Like sitting at the bar a bit more than at the tables -- but for larger groups there's a very nice table upstairs. Hungry Cat offers a bit more of a scene and is close to the ArcLight -- but if the primary focus is food, AOC is a great way to go.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bite bite

                the black squid risotto rules. AOC has more depth than either Hungry Cat(a cafe with good food) and Lucques(beautiful space and atmosphere with a limited menu). AOC will run you more money but that because there are far more options like 50 wines by the glass and dozens of different small plate combinations.

              2. Highly overrated in my opinion. All the dishes seemed to be too rich and after spending close to $100pp, I left the place hungry. Won't be going back anytime soon.

                1. Love all the negative responses; makes it easier for me to get a stool at the wine or cheese bar.

                  1. I think a lot of the AOC experience has to do with how you order. If you order things that sound good - you might find, as we did recently, that everything has lots of garlic. I don't think that's a problem; it just illustrates that we are drawn to garlic-oriented food. I think that providing some "suggested" order combinations would add a lot to AOC's menu.

                    It's also a fairly casual small plates restaurant, with meal pricing similar to a more traditional fancy restaurant. I think tailbacku and superredhead might be responding to this.

                    1. i am not one for AOC... oh no no no. i had a terrible meal there. :-(

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Jaybay

                        Good, by the responses I can see I'm not alone in feeling the AOC is quite over-rated. Once again, the Chohounders come thru....

                        1. re: Jaybay

                          Was there recently & the food was good, but if you're used to leaving a restaurant full, this is not the place for you (I could have eaten the entire meal over again). Wine recommendations were excellent, as was the service. The only thing that was just ok was dessert.

                        2. One of the AOC chefs is moving down to helm an existing restaurant in Costa Mesa. Was speaking to our server and the Maitre'd (sp? sorry, it's late) on Thursday and they informed us. That may change the minds of some for future visits to AOC, since Suzanne would still be there.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: brekkie_fan

                            Keep in mind that Chef Goin has been busy with twins lately, so obviously she can't be in the back of the house as much.

                            I'm shocked but not shocked at the comments. I've always had a great time everytime I've been to AOC, and I actually prefer it over Lucques. I think items such as the squid ink risotto, the farro, the roasted dates and so on are all fantastic, and totally play to my personality type that is happy ordering a whole bunch of appetizers. And maybe perhaps that's the thing: AOC requires a certain personality type out of their diners. One thing I know is that there's certainly no shortage of us.

                            1. re: SauceSupreme

                              I enjoyed AOC more than Luques as well. Both had a lot of rich dishes, but I prefer my really rich dishes in smaller quantities and more variety.

                          2. Yes, please, everyone stop going to AOC. Not worth it. Stay away.

                            [whew ... I hope this works ... anything to make getting a table easier.... ]

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: QualityMart

                              Agreed. I really try not to get into an argument that involves AOC (or Doughboys for that matter) because the crowds are big enough as they are.


                            2. I prefer Lucques over AOC, easily. But I still think AOC is worth a drive from the Valley. Heck it's LA, everything's a drive.