The Park in Echo Park
The Park just opened (soft opening) in Echo Park at the old El Autentico location (Sunset and Douglas.) We wandered down fully prepared to abandon the place the second we walked in. But we decided to stay and I'm glad we did.
We started with the New England Clam Chowder and the corn cakes with shrimp and a mexican crema plus a spicy bruschetta (it couldn't really be called salsa.) The flavor on the soup was mild, a very traditional clam chowder with a little too much cilantro and not enough heat (in terms of flavor, the temp was perfect.) The corn cakes were a clear winner, the sauce was tangy and flavorful, the shrimp were super fresh and the corn cakes right off the grill.
For entrees we had the Jidori chicken and the homemade vegie burger with gruyere and fries. The chicken was fantastic, perfectly cooked, juice and flavorful, didn't need anything on it. We felt so guilty because we were seated right next to the infamous Ti Georges whose chicken we love, so we had to tell him we were superfans. And we were sorry for cheating on him! But man that was great chicken.
The homemade vegie burger is good, very well flavored and presented and absolutely a million miles away from frozen vegie burgers. The garlic aoli and fries were okay, the fries could be crispier, they were a little on the soggy side.
The service was fantastic. Our biggest complaint is the decor... they aren't sure what they are doing with it and we really hope they decide to darken the ceiling and drop it down at least visually. A dark orange/copper paint on the ceiling that comes halfway down will help so much.
The place filled up by 9pm and everyone brought bottles of wine. I think this place could be a big neighborhood hit if they just warm up the paint job and decor in the dining area. I think they sorta took the old layout and stuck with it, which is too bad, I think the space could be way warmer. But the food is fantastic, and absolutely is welcome in the hood.
Oh, and for El Autentico aficionados, the rainforest bathroom is gone. :(
1400 Sunset Blvd
LA CA 90026
213 482 9209
open tue-thur and sunday 5:30-10pm
fridays and saturdays 5:30 - 11pm
Visited this place for the first time last night and the overall impression was quite positive. Our party of four arrived at 7:45 and was seated maybe a half hour later. My impression of the delay was that they were both very busy and haven’t really worked the kinks out of their turnover system yet – tables stayed vacant for a long time before new parties were seated. We waited outside in what could be a cute small garden/dining area but is now just a vacant space with a few tables crowded into one corner and a bunch of chairs stacked in the other.
The woman working the front of the house (the owner?) was gracious and friendly throughout our wait, which wasn’t a problem for me. Two of the people I was with, however, can get kind of complainy and they behaved true to form. We cracked our beers and wine while we waited, which made the time pass more pleasantly.
When my name was called, the manager/owner led us into the dining room, which was crowded but not overly noisy. The space is sparse and has a half-finished feel to it. I agree with the poster who said that they should do something about the ceiling – the drop ceiling is simply ugly and its height and white color make the space feel cavernous as opposed to cozy. We were seated and introduced to our waitress, who turned out to be someone I’ve known off and on for a few years. The whole room, in fact, was filled with neighborhood faces, which is a good sign.
On to the food – this is where Park shines. We started off with salads. The Caesar (with anchovies) was tangy and surprisingly rich and the hamachi, cucumber, avocado and micro-greens salad (a special) was really delicious. No bread was brought to the table prior to ordering, which added to the sparse feel of the place. Flowers on the tables and some art on the walls other than the empty picture frames would definitely add a sense of visual completeness that Park currently lacks.
Main courses were uniformly praised. The spaghetti marinara was simple but very tasty, the hangar steak was perfectly cooked and as tender as one can expect from this humble cut. I had planned on ordering the roast chicken but they were out, so I opted for the burger, which was one of the best I’ve had in LA. Topped with caramelized onions and blue cheese (my choice) and served rare, it rivals the one at Café Stella, save for the fact that the roll isn’t quite as good. That's okay, given that it's about half the price.
For dessert, we split the flourless chocolate cake, which was tasty but unremarkable and a butterscotch tart, which was simply fantastic. Not sure if they make these in-house.
The total for our meal for four, minus tip, was an amazingly affordable $92. I’m not sure how long these low prices can continue but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for now.
Dinner at The Park was truly enjoyable thanks to very good food and friendly, accommodating service - it's a welcome addition to the Silver Lake/Echo Park dining scene. The only negative for now seems to be the space and how its been decorated. A few warmer touches in the dining room and a day spent rearranging and maybe adding some plants and umbrellas to the outdoor space would add some much-needed charm.
Visited here again last night for a quick bite. The place has changed a bit in the short time since we first tried it. The wattage of the lights is considerably lower, which is a very good thing - they've switched to hanging lamps which gives the place a more cozy, intimate feel. Also, the outside patio has been converted into a real dining area and it looks great. The food, as before, was simply great. I had a duck breast with roasted fingerling potatoes and wilted frisee that was fantastic and she had the hangar steak, which was even better than I remember it from the last time.
Two great entrees - we passed on apps and dessert - for $34?!?!? Simply amazing. My dining partner couldn't get over how affordable it was.
FYI - the kitchen now closes at 10:30 on weekends. It seems that the original closing time of 11 was a bit too late for LA diners, which is a shame. It could be the perfect spot to hit after a few pops at the Short Stop.
We have been back twice and are still impressed -- the lighting has gotten better but the ceiling is still sorta blah. We've had the Jidori Chicken which is amazing every time. Tonight we had the szechuan calamari which were spicy and flavorful; Ben had the hangar steak and I had the chicken (again) and we split the apple tart. Bill was $40 and service was excellent. The place remains 3/4 full. We feel really lucky to have The Park so close!!
The calamari was very good! I also loved the corn cakes! The butterleaf salad with roasted beets was so-so. I had the hangar steak which I really enjoyed and ate every last bite! My boyfriend had the salmon which he didn't really care for. But he loved his butterscotch dessert! I had the chocolate cake. Nothing spectacular but if you love chocolate like me then it is just right.
As for the service-hmmmm...the asian server was super friendly and attentive...she had a great sense of humor and just personable enough to know that she was there but not overbearing. Unfortunately, the other server was a little orange county. She was kinda blah, bland, boring...
I will definitely be going back to try some vegitarian courses and for more of that calamari heaven! YUM!
Did I metion that the prices couldnt be any better? No? Well, they are fantastic!
Not good. Will not go back. The $17 dollar special was an unseasoned Mahi. There is no corkage fee, that is a plus but the decor is boring, there is too much empty space... the overpriced dessert $6.00 was a mini chocolate muffin with barely any cream on it. Total price of dinner for 2 = $60 bucks just for the meal. Impressed it got good reviews.
Ate at The Park last nite. Excellent. I agree the decor could be a bit warmer. It didn't bother me because everyone is friendly and the food is cozy. But, a little bit of cosmetic changes would help.
For instance, Love the empty frames on the wall but the frames they've chosen are too banal to command that type of treatment. Better frames, cute idea. Someone's suggestion of a darker ceiling is great.
Prices are outstanding. No corkage fee is unheard of and awesome. I actually prefer the clean and simple food at The Park to my experiences thus far at 15. Also, the wine list at 15 is terrible. I'll only bring my own from now on.
These are quibbles....I'm thrilled to have two new great spots walking distance from home.
The Park has take out by the way, and there is another new spot opening soon at Laveta and Sunset. (The north Laveta dog leg - not the south of Sunset Laveta).
And, if you haven't gone to Cafe Mariposa for coffee yet - do so. Yummy desserts and pastries and good coffee. Sunset just east of Laveta (north of Sunset Laveta).
I think the most expensive item on the menu is $15 or $16. They have a hangar steak, salmon with black bean sauce, spagetti & meatballs, linguini & clams, a polenta dish, a couple salads, veggie & regular burgers, aand I can't remember what else. So far the chicken & fries has been my favorite. the apple crisp dessert is really good too.
The other week they had a special where you could get three courses for $15 (appetizer, main & dessert) but I think that was for one week only.
the park is really great. the food is excellent, the staff is really nice and they play great music! we've had the steak, the salmon and all the appetizers and the delicious beet salad so far - and none have disappointed!!! they do have a few items that are veggie or could be easily made vegetarian if you asked. tonite we had a butterscotch tart for dessert that was awesome! i would highly recommend this place - my neighborhood new favorite!! and no corkage fee! also, it's not really very similar to 15 - different style of food.