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Have any Chowhound Faves Broken Your Heart

I can get the ball rolling with two. I have to have lunch in Pasadena every week and was really excited to hear about Daisy Mint. I wasn't thrilled at all by the food at all and was sort of grossed out that all the garnishes--carrot slices, lemon wedges, etc. were pathetically tired and wilted. My kids ordered a pretty expensive Korean style ribeye steak. It was 3/4 fat. I showed the waitress how much was inedible and she just giggled and there was no adjustment on the tab. My kids, also against my better judgement, ordered desserts which were pretty lousy (and not something I'd expect to be great in a what is essentially a Thai restaurant that panders just a bit towards fusion). I will add, that with the exception of the steak and the desserts, the other Thai dishes were o.k. for what I consider the wasteland of Pasadena but I really wanted to be wowed. Even the most mediocre joint in Thai Town would win in a smack down with Daisy Mint.

The other great disappointment was Skaf's in Glendale. The falafel was mealy, the borek (called "cheese stick" on the menu, I believe) was under cheesed and over salted and the chicken and beef shwarma were bone dry and gnarly. On kid ordered lamb chops which looked great and were scarfed down before I could sample. Maybe we ordered incorrectly and I'd be willing to give it another try but whenever the server wanted to pick up a plate or refill a glass in front of me, instead of stepping around the table (there was plenty of room) she just glowered at me, snapped her fingers and pointed to the item for me to hand over to her.

I usually don't dis small family run independent joints but I think this joints are both really flourishing and a lot of it is due to Chowhound love. I just don't get it. Did I hit an off day at both of them? And I'm sure there are places that I adore that others here would find mediocre and disappointing. Right???

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  1. That's too bad about Daisy Mint, I was looking forward to trying it. We liked Skaf's a lot -- no service problems, good hummus, mutabal and cabbage salad and the chicken shwarma was ok -- don't remember it being too dry.
    Oh well...

    1. I wouldn't say it broke my heart, but I found ultra CH fave Nook disappointing all 3 times I tried it. I'm not too crazy about Josie either.

      4 Replies
      1. re: hrhboo

        I second Josie... they have a good wine list, but I thought the food I got relative to the cost was extremely disappointing. I don't think I would head back any time soon unless someone else was paying. The food is good, but not special.

        1. re: Ali B

          i third josie.
          the food was simply not all that.
          i don't even remember what we ate.
          it wasn't bad, i just wasn't good enough.

        2. re: hrhboo

          I'm late, but I second Nook. Happy not to be the only disappointed party. I always feel like I'm missing something when I'm there... meh.

          1. re: hrhboo

            completely agree with you about the Nook.
            first experiences were, to be kind, meh.
            the last time i was there my date and i were served yellowtail that was so far past it's prime that it should have been discarded.
            the plating, service, and ambiance there is lovely,
            too bad the food is not.

          2. Fraiche disappointed the hell out of me. The gory details are here:


            1. yes. briganti. horrible service not the food. i'm still not over the break up. i think about Briganti quite a bit and b/c it's been some time from my incident i romanticize it and consider going back, but then, i have to remind myself of the horrific slow service and i snap out of it.


              1. While my heart beats on - I was pretty disappointed by the much CH-touted Belgian fries at the Oinkster in Eagle Rock. While Belgian fries, when properly prepared, turn out with an ultra crispy exterior - the result of the double frying, the fries I had at Oinskter were almost limp with no crisp factor whatsoever. Now while this could be coughed up to a bad day at the fryer - I have actually made a point of returning to try them again - THREE more times - each time with a similar result. While the menu in general is fine - I've had the BBQ pulled pork sandwich, the Pastrami sandwich and the burger - they are all good and I will go back for more - but sorry - their fries are a miserable attempt at the glorious Belgian fry resplendent in all its glistening greasy crunchiness.

                1 Reply
                1. re: srnka

                  I've experience the same with the Oinkster fries lately. I'm not sure why they aren't cooking them like they have previously done. Maybe I'll have to make a point to ask to have them prepared "well done", because when done properly, they are really as good as the reputation would imply.

                2. Yes, yes, yes! Zov's in OC is highly touted by many Chowhounds and it was so awful that I will never go back. The food was terribly bland, the service was horrible, and everything is extremely overpriced. I simply cannot figure out why people love this place.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Samantha

                    We agree. Since Zov's expanded to three locations, our two visits to the original in Tustin have been disappointing. It used to be one of our favorite places

                    1. re: thebaron

                      Zov's has definitely gone downhill in terms of value for money in the last six months, and their menu at their location in Irvine was ridiculously brief. Could this be due to the rising cost of food???

                    1. re: love2eat

                      Everything I have tried at Clementine has been mediocre. I don't get it either.

                      1. re: omotosando

                        Sad, it's so good! Have you tried their biscuits?

                          1. re: omotosando

                            I wouldn't really think of biscuits as a dessert...

                            1. re: mollyomormon

                              Ah, I guess I was thinking of biscuit in the British lexicon, which is a cookie. Even though I am not British, I just learned from Wikipedia that in American English, a "biscuit" is a small form of bread made with baking powder or baking soda as a leavening agent rather than yeast. No, I have not had Clementine's biscuits. It's just that every single thing that I have tried has ranged from mediocre to truly bad that I now won't set foot in the place anymore, even though I am frequently nearby since it is a few doors down from my doctor's office.

                              1. re: omotosando

                                Clementine is enormously successful at what is sets out to be. You either like Americana cookery or you don't.

                                I personally love their sandwiches and baked goods. They have decadent hot chocolate and they taught me that a devilled egg doesn't have to be revolting.

                                Not saying you're wrong to hate them but I think it's such a humble little gem I thought I'd throw in my perspective.

                                1. re: Frommtron

                                  I love Americana cookery. However, Clementine fails in execution and with their clueless employees.

                                  1. re: love2eat

                                    We'll have to agree to disagree. I've been over a dozen times and I've always been pleased with the results. Their poached eggs at breakfast have always been perfect with well set whites and runny yolks. The shaved country ham was a revelation that makes one realize that we've had a domestic take on prosciutto that's pretty damn special. The roast beef always rare and tasty. They used to have a sloppy joe that beat your Mom's and they have a meatloaf sandwich that warms the soul. They make their own sweet pickles and every sandwich comes with a cookie.

                                    Again, I can see it not being your thing but they absolutely nail what they are trying to achieve.

                                  2. re: Frommtron

                                    Clementine "humble" ?? Bev Hills prices. I love Americana, and some Clementine items are very good. But I have done breakfast there and had an over cooked egg, and slow service , forgotten cappucinno, for $20. Yikes.
                                    Clementine just feels too precious to me. I travel a great deal, and in the last decade, in Portland, SF, NY there are similar high quality, focus on seasonal/local/domestic quality foods, and it is one of my favorite type venue. I am always stunned by what a bargain good food is everywhere else compared to So Cal. And how much less pretension about what is not rocket science.

                                    1. re: ciaolette

                                      1. Pretension is a word that has been thrown around so much on this board and others that I find it's lost meaning to me. It seems to fill in for "I think the place was overpriced and I didn't like 'X' about the place."

                                      2. I can also totally see "precious" applying to Clementine. I don't find it so but I can get that perspective, to be sure.

                                      3. LA food prices can be sickening when you go to place like Portland, OR (although totally on par and even cheaper in some cases than NYC). Clementine isn't cheap.

                                      4. You had a bad meal there, which always sucks.

                                      But the place is not trying to serve refined food. It's trying to do justice to comforting Americana classics. That's as humble a mission as any. The prices they charge don't have much to do with that. You say that you've had some very good items there so I'm not sure what gives.

                                      If it's the prices, you can't expect to find a restaurant in such a high rent district that serves food using very high-quality ingredients for which the proprietors pay a premium and then to have them turn around and sell it at a minimum profit/loss.

                                      The place can get crowded. The service can range between great, down-to-earth friendly and negligent space cadet. The parking is still crappy even with the construction on SM Blvd. done. But I don't think they overcharge given the quality of their ingredients, the fact that everything is made in-house, and that they are located in one of the highest rent areas of the city. It's BH prices because they are 3-4 blocks away from BH.

                        1. re: love2eat

                          I've pretty much liked everything I've tried at Clementine ( the cornbread/orange muffins, blueberry muffins, cupcakes, veggie sandwiches, melted cheese, ginger limade ) The one thing I was disappointed in was the black bean soup - not that it was bad, just boring.

                          1. re: Pumpkin_Head

                            i felt the same way about the tomato soup--boring.
                            i had hoped for an intense tomato flavor--it wasn't there.

                          2. re: love2eat

                            Clementine for me too. I wanted to like it both times I went... never again.

                            1. re: love2eat

                              It's not really special but it's OK. Name a better place of the same genre in its vicinity.

                              1. re: aventinus

                                my office orders from Clem regulary, and each time they screw up the order... something is always missing, wrong, or just plain bad. we always reiterate what we want, and they still can't get it right. on top of that, mediocre is a very apt description for the food, but w/the exception of Craft; the only thing in the century city area of that calibre.

                            2. Josie (tried twice, just doesn't work for me)
                              Beacon (nothing unusual)
                              Let's Be Frank Dogs ($5 a dog??? I'd take Costco dogs anytime.)
                              Zankou Chicken (garlic sauce is good, chicken too dry)
                              Mori (on a Sunday night--a terrible mistake on my part)
                              Echigo (smallest pieces of fish on my lunch special sushi)
                              Daikokuya (too greasy)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: fdb

                                I second Beacon, you got it right. Daikokuya (not worth the trip).

                                1. re: fdb

                                  Zankou Chicken. I agree that the garlic sauce is good, but the chicken is beyond being too dry. It is close to jerky and the wings have flown away to the next world via cremation

                                2. Golden Deli. There, I said it. I prefer Pho Thanh Lich in Little Saigon. In SGV, I prefer Pho 79 in Alhambra.

                                  Also, Yucca's in Silver Lake. Here's the equation in my head:
                                  Cactus plus hipsters minus parking equals Yucca's.

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                                    I recall both of us being rather unimpressed by Mori as well.

                                    1. re: hrhboo

                                      I'm going to give Mori another shot but this time sitting with Mori-san. But that's the final shot.

                                      1. re: SauceSupreme

                                        Hey Sauce,

                                        I was one of the people who enjoyed my time at Mori but felt it a little pricey for his Omakase ($263 per person), but that was pre-Urasawa. :)

                                        Having been to Urasawa now (and you know the amazement of it :), if you can limit the alcohol intake (slightly :), then given the choice, I'd much rather just go to Urasawa. :)

                                        1. re: exilekiss

                                          I've been to Mori twice and just been kind of underwhelmed both times. Once with Mori-san, once with his assistant. I just feel like I should give it one more shot just to be really fair.

                                          But yeah, the last time boo and I went to Mori, I left still hungry and ended up eating chicken wings at FuRaiBo.

                                          1. re: SauceSupreme

                                            Understood. :) Now that I think about it, it's just so shocking that for the price we paid at Mori, we could've had far more amazing meals at some of the exquisite, top places in Tokyo and Kyoto.

                                          2. re: exilekiss

                                            Hey exilekiss, I have been reading your reports on the Japan board of the restaurants you ate at in Japan and the descriptions made me swoon, wishing I could eat at each and every one of the restaurants. That made me start thinking of Mori, where I have eaten many times. It is fine and, for L.A., pretty good, but I don't think it is a restaurant that makes you swoon and dream of returning. My favorite things there might actually be the tea and the pottery. Plus, I think Mori-san is very nice.

                                            1. re: omotosando

                                              Thanks. (^_~)

                                              Yah, I think Mori-san is a nice person as well, but as you noticed, it just doesn't make me want to go back at those prices, and for the whole dining experience. (Versus, say, Urasawa, Ryugin, Mizutani, Hyotei, and even the simpler places like Menya Kissou :)

                                              1. re: exilekiss

                                                For my $$$ it's hard to beat Kiwami's Katsuya-san omakase. It's a fixed $100 excluding liquor. The food is prepared by the man himself and served in a private sushi bar room on the side. The last time I went we had 10 main courses (including king crab, Kobe beef, caviar and gold-leafed dishes) then 11 amazing and rare sushi courses. The wasabi sorbet and the garlic ponzu butter that came with the king crab still haunt me.

                                                The waiting list is forever but think what you get:
                                                - Incredible food
                                                - Great service (A whole wait staff is dedicated to the private sushi bar)
                                                - Super friendly atmosphere (I'm sure all the free-flowing booze helped. By the end of the meal it was like a frat house in there with all the chefs and staff gan-bei-ing sakes.)
                                                - My split tab with 4 bottles of house sake and countless beers was less than $200. Who can beat that???

                                                11920 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                                      2. re: SauceSupreme

                                        Say what you will about Yucca's but no parking?? I've never been there when there wasn't at least a few spaces open in the large lot.

                                        1. re: SauceSupreme

                                          I keep wanting to like Yucca's. I live so close, but it really isnt that special at all.

                                          1. re: rednyellow

                                            Agreed. Below average mexican to my taste buds and small servings.

                                            1. re: rednyellow

                                              I assume you mean Yuca's, the little walk-up burrito shack in a liquor-store parking lot on Hillhurst. What have you had that you don't like?

                                              2056 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                          2. I've been to Skaf's twice and, while everything was fine, I do not get the over the top raves for this place. I could see if it was in central Iowa then maybe. But in L.A. it's just average.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Josh90004

                                              That's it. It's just o.k. Not vile, but, to me, nothing compared to Carousel, Maroush or Carnival...even the humble Elena's and Zankou are superior, based on my single experience. I have yet to try Raffi's, another Chowhound fave, but the Skaf's bummer leaves me a bit gunshy....

                                              1. re: Layne Murphy

                                                And speaking of disappointments, I live two blocks from Carnival, and in the 4-5 times I have eaten there, I have never thought the food was anything more than average. Much prefer Marouch and have not tried Carousel.
                                                Their hummus is good, but the rest - no big deal!
                                                Portions are huge by and large, though.
                                                Skaf's is just as good, which is not saying anything special, yet is more affordable, but is also more fast food focused.

                                            2. Sunin- didn't care for it at all.
                                              Tacos Por Favor- Went 4x, unfathomable to me.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: Xericx

                                                at sunnin were you served their microwaved falafal?

                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  I feel like Sunnin is pretty erratic. Case in point. I usually love their tabbouleh. Then one time I came in around noon and ordered it. They made it fresh in front of my eyes. It was awful (because the parsley did not have time to soak up all the oil and juice and soften). They do some dubious stuff like not using fresh lemons (juice comes from a bottle). The sauteed potatoes were just horrific.

                                                  But when Sunnin is good it's really good. I find their chicken shawarma and their caulifower dish delicious, and the cold mujadarra with fried onions is strangely satisfying.

                                                  1. re: aventinus

                                                    I really like the hummus at Sunnin, but everything else has always disappointed me. Now, I just stop in and get hummus to go.

                                                    1. re: omotosando

                                                      I can see that. The hummus is just right for my tastes with the perfect amount of lemon juice. I also happen to like the other stuff and have never seen microwaved falafal but other places do just as well or better with many of the dishes. The hummus is a winner though.

                                                  2. re: westsidegal

                                                    I used to live down the street from Sunnin but, one day. I ordered the schwarma and instead of receiving fresh cut meat (the only way to really enjoy it, I was speechless that the meat I received was microwaved! It was crap and I haven't been back since.

                                                    1. re: Styx

                                                      ah, yes
                                                      they sure are trying to get their money's worth out of that microwave oven.

                                                2. What a bummer. I went to Daisy Mint and meant to do a little write up but didn't get a chance. We had the wonton appetizer, pad thai, and the name of the soup escapes me but all the food tasted good to us. The tea was aromatic and delicious, and the servers were efficient and friendly. Anyway, sucks you didn't have a similar experience.

                                                  The place that broke my heart was Hungry Cat, but I will go back again someday.

                                                  1. just came from having the tasting menu at il grano.
                                                    the tab for 2 was about $260 including everything.
                                                    it's heartbreaking when the main course fish, the special grouper served with a paste of Italian olives over a bed of purple asparagus, is way overcooked.

                                                    since i was there on a 'first date,' it would have been less than gracious to point this out.

                                                    1. My heart is definitely broken once at the Hungry Cat during Crab Fest(though before & subsequently I've had great meals there) -- the first courses (crab soup, crabcake & freshly grilled corn) were great, but the main fare (over mushy and salted crabs) and the dessert (and underwhelming plum shortcake) killed the mood.

                                                      Also wasn't too excited about Euro Pane either, it's alright but not the OMG stellarly good bakery place many folks make it seem to be.

                                                      Finally, the tacos @ El Parian -- which surprised even me given J Gold's rave on it -- but maybe I ordered at the wrong time (near closing) -- the assorted taco meats I got were fatty, gristly and even had a few bones my dining companion and I had to pick out!


                                                      10 Replies
                                                      1. re: AquaW

                                                        I had the same experience with El Parian. The vaunted asada was okay, but not nearly the transcendent experience I expected. Frankly, I think the asada at La Talpa is more flavorful and the tacos are similar in terms of their preparation -- a large, rather flavorless tortilla, meat, and some pico de gallo.

                                                        Tacos Por Favor and El Super Taco also are on my list of major disappointments. I think people on the Westside are so starved for decent Mexican food that mediocre tacos with bland fillings get rave reviews.

                                                        Also add me to the folks who can't understand the Carnival love. The hummus is good, but far superior hummus can be had at Alcazar, which is far superior for other items.

                                                        1. re: Jwsel

                                                          Re: Tacos Por Favor, I'd tend to agree with you *except* for the chorizo and cheese tacos and the salsa roja. I'm a transplanted eastsider who is indeed starved for decent Mexican food, but the c&c tacos do not disappoint.

                                                          However, I should point out that the $2.10 per taco price tag does disappoint :(

                                                          1. re: Jwsel

                                                            The problem with a lot of westside taco joints is consistency. I have had beautiful tacos at Tacos Por Favor, and they weren't all chorizo and cheese. I've also had some horrific tacos there -- old meat sitting in hotel pans that were barely reheated on the grill. When they're on, they are solid even by Highland Park/East LA standards. But they are off their game far too often.

                                                          2. re: AquaW

                                                            Add me to the list of let down for El Parian's carne asada taco. As noted above too gristly and for my taste cut too thick. I would venture to say that Yucca's asada taco's are superior to what I had (twice) at El Parian. The best asada taco's I have had in LA continue to come from a friends backyard BBQ..lucky me!

                                                            1. re: AquaW

                                                              I have had great meals at Hungry Cat and their cocktails are spectacular, but I was there last weekend and had awful fish and chips. Our first waiter (who disappeared later and was replaced by a wonderful waitress) mentioned that the fish used was sand dab and that there might be a few small bones. This didn't sound too bad, but when the dish arrived we realized that one was actually required to bone one's own fish. Apparently the sand dabs don't hold together well without bones and can't be cooked properly. But boning your own fish after it has been battered and fried? It just seemed like a bad choice on the part of the kitchen. However, when we explained to the waitress that we hadn't been told the whole story by the previous waiter, she graciously replaced the fish and chips with shrimp stuffed squash blossoms. Delicious!

                                                              I guess it would be a broken but quickly mended heart.

                                                              1. re: teach

                                                                usually, the bones in sand dabs are so small you can just eat them.

                                                                1. re: Diana

                                                                  Sand Dabs are a delicate white fish fillet. I love them dusted with flour and egg pan fried in butter but it sounds very unappetizing to use them in fish n' chips.

                                                                  1. re: Diana

                                                                    No way, you do not eat the bones. You debone before cooking or before serving. But here's something funny for ya. I served fish en papillote once to a group, the server ran into the kitchen to tell me one of the guests was eating the parchment paper too! When he stopped her, she said she thought it was good!

                                                                  2. re: teach

                                                                    I had the fish and chips the other day for lunch, and it was NOT good.

                                                                    They've solved the bone problem, as they used halibut. But it was dreadfully overcooked yet not hot. It was a warmish mush coated in fried batter, and seemingly made first thing in the morning for the lunch crowd. Fries were tasty, but also not hot. They should serve vinegar with the fish.

                                                                    You know, I've eaten at Hungry Cat a half dozen times, and I've never had a great meal there.

                                                                2. S&W Country Diner seems to garner such raves here for great breakfasts and it's so adorable that I was really excited. And really disappointed. I also was pretty disappointed with my lunch at Providence. It was still really good, but I was expecting amazing. I will be back for a tasting menu so I can give it a fair shot.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                    concur on S&W. Just seemed like a regular greasy spoon with bad service.

                                                                    1. re: Xericx

                                                                      I have gone to S&W three times. The first two times I went alone and ate at the counter. All was fine especially since I had the biscuits and gravy which IMO are among the best in LA. In April three of us sat at a booth and had very bad service. One person took the order, another brought the drinks, another brought the food (Not Hot) and no one ever checked back as our water glasses and coffee cups sat empty the whole time. My son tried the “Home Made Hash” (Hash is his thing) and he said it seem to be canned corned beef mixed with some fresh things which maybe made it better than canned hash but not “Home Made.” My basted eggs (Not Hot) were like hard boiled. The omelet was over cooked with no moisture in the eggs whatsoever. None of us ate the breakfast potatoes because of the flavor. My son and I agreed that next time we are in the area and want an American style breakfast we will drive over to Pann’s.

                                                                      1. re: JeetJet

                                                                        I guess different strokes.. :) The biscuits I had there were among my least favorite I've ever had anywhere. For those curious, they are mosre like a fluffy cake style rather than the flaky ones at Pann's or Clementine or the dense ones at John O'Groats. To my taste, they were inedible. Probably did not help that they were served lukewarm with lukewarm gravy.

                                                                  2. Intelligentsia Coffee, and the Clover coffee press in general. Just seems near impossible to find an indie coffee place that actually makes good, strong, dark coffee (not espresso, just *coffee*). I really wanted to like them, even though I know dark roast is antithetical to their mission - I admire the passion Intelligentsia has for what they do.

                                                                    1. For me , my visit to Pizzeria Mozza wasn't what I had hoped for. Good, but not matching what we paid. I would like to try the osteria and maybe go back again. This time, perhaps on my own.

                                                                      22 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Diana

                                                                        Same here. Crust was very nice, pizza was nice, but not worth the price. Wine was really disappointing. When I mentioned that the wine was not too impressive, the bartender offered an alternative that was indeed better. He went on to explain that they were trying to offer many selections for under $50 a bottle. WHAT? I can find good wine for around $15 retail. Under $50 shouldn't be that much of a challenge and hardly something to brag about. I finished and headed to vito's for a couple slices.

                                                                        1. re: Diana

                                                                          P Mozza underwhelms me, too.

                                                                          1. re: Diana

                                                                            Yeah, this one is overrated imo.

                                                                            I think their wines are pretty basic table wines. That doesn't bother me--I like the fact that they serve simple Italian wines with classic regional/varietal character. What annoys me is that they don't serve the wines by the glass, but rather by the carafe. Annoying gimmick to make more money.

                                                                            The pizza crust is excellent, but the toppings are really not as special as you'd hope for in a place with this much hype. I keep expecting to be bowled over and instead I feel like they're doing just enough to string me along.

                                                                            1. re: aventinus

                                                                              Pizzeria Mozza is good if you like to pay $20 for an 8 inch pizza with a majority of it being crust. The crust is pretty tastey, but in my opinion the overall experience is over-priced, hectic, and a little pretentious.

                                                                              1. re: SecretHeadquarters

                                                                                There isn't a single $20 pizza on Mozza's menu. The vast majority of them are in the $14-$15 range.

                                                                                1. re: hrhboo

                                                                                  Yes, but $15 + tax + tip = very close to $20.

                                                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                    Oh, come on now. That's just silly.

                                                                                    It's more like $50 ... once you add in tax, tip, gas for your car, clothes for your body, shoes for your feet ...

                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                      Shoes for *my* feet would push it way over $50.

                                                                                      I don't have an issue with $15 pizza. Honestly, it costs that much at CPK now. And while I haven't been to P. Mozza, I'm sure that it's much better than CPK.

                                                                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                        I don't have a problem with $15 pizza. I have a problem with being forced to approach the legal blood alcohol limit because Mozza has decided I can't have a glass of wine, but instead must have two. Given the volume of wine they must serve, I seriously doubt there is any legitimate explanation (such as keeping wines fresh). Not to be absurd, but this is arguably an antitrust violation.

                                                                                        1. re: aventinus

                                                                                          I for one love that Mozza serves their wines in quartinos. Next time you are there, ask if you can order half of a quartino -- or, here's a thought -- don't drink it all! :-)

                                                                                          1. re: DanaB

                                                                                            I have asked for one glass, they will not give me one. What's to love about it if I don't want a "quartino"? Please explain why I shouldn't have the option of having a glass of one of their very basic table wines rather than a "quartino" of two glasses, like at virtually every other restaurant in the U.S. Should you be forced to order two pizzas when you only want one and there is no legitimate reason you can't have just one? Oh, but I like having two pizzas! :-)

                                                                                            There's a lot of b.s. at both Mozzas imo.

                                                                                            1. re: aventinus

                                                                                              "There's a lot of b.s. at both Mozzas imo"

                                                                                              Shhh!!! You're right, but keep it quiet, or they'll kick us out'a here in no time.

                                                                                              1. re: RicRios

                                                                                                boy, talk about getting beat up. Any time a negative opinion of Mozza pops up, the poster gets slammed.

                                                                                                I suppose we could all just skip the whole idea of glassware and guzzle from the quartino. Perhaps it is an excuse to purchase glassware with Italian names and add "ambiance" to the whole place.

                                                                                                I like the food, but I personally (yes, personally, please stop questioning my sanity or how my mother raised me) find it overpriced, and some of the policies sort of, well gougey.

                                                                                                But, in all fairness, a lot of people do end up getting two glasses of wine when dining. I'm sure Mario goes threough at kleast two, and he did work with Bastianich to design the place after HIS tastes. (by the way, I adore Bastianich's mom!). Still, what if one wants two glasses of DIFFERENT wine?

                                                                                                "Shall I blend them in your quartino?"

                                                                                                1. re: Diana

                                                                                                  The "quartino", whatever it means, is a nice idea, from a business stand point.
                                                                                                  Yesterday I walked into Father's Office in Culver City. I noticed wine prices listed on the board with a slash, like "$9/$25" or thereabouts. I asked someone at the bar if the slash meant "glass / bottle". Response was: "Not quite, it's glass/ small jar" . So I ask for the meaning of "small jar".
                                                                                                  -Half Liter?
                                                                                                  Response: well, maybe less ...

                                                                                                  1. re: Diana

                                                                                                    “Shall I blend them in your quartino?” So well put because it almost plays on the fact that most have no idea what this quartino is. But such a word (quartino) on a menu in the USA is a red flag that something other than food and drink is being offered and charged for.

                                                                                                    It is noble to tell it like it is and report the truth. IMO, a true foodie must keep an eye on the price/value ratio because there is no other proper standard for judgment. For example, any jackass with a white coat and a stove could cook-up a good meal and charge crazy prices. It takes talent to serve great food at reasonable prices. The reason why some of these places we hear so much about get away with gouging is because thier attraction appears to be bifocal. Moreover, sometimes food even takes a second seat to prestige, being the latest groupie craze, or just offering a seat among other food snobs – call it what you will. I suspect the reason these places are so protected by their groupies is because sometimes the truth hurts. I might say pinkberry broke my heart but that would not be the whole truth because I saw by the line outside of obvious groupies what that place was about. What broke my heart was me. I ignored what was so obvious and I went inside anyway and then actually ordered – stupid!

                                                                                                    Now if that certain something other than food is what people are looking for then that’s fine, but it is more truthful to say it like it is. It would be better if such places were reported as “the food was really good but, Oh, the PRES-TIIIIIIGE and I think I saw PARIS Hilton…” Then we would know ahead of time just what is going on.

                                                                                                    Food value of 8” pizza = $7
                                                                                                    Ambiance and Prestige surcharge = $8
                                                                                                    Hobnobbing with the food snobs = PRICELESS

                                                                                                    Keep up the great work Diana.

                                                                                            2. re: aventinus

                                                                                              can you have none? I don't care for wine with pizza.

                                                                                          2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                            Don't forget the hefty valet fee...

                                                                                          3. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                            And $20 + tax + tip = very close to $25.

                                                                                          4. re: hrhboo

                                                                                            But is that $15 for an 8" pizza?

                                                                                            1. re: JeetJet

                                                                                              All the pizzas at Mozza are the same size. I'm not sure of the diameter but they're the same size as Angeli's

                                                                                              1. re: hrhboo

                                                                                                yeah, it's about enough for two to share if each person gets an app, or for one person to have as a not too heavy meal (depending upon the topping)

                                                                                      2. re: Diana

                                                                                        I Loved Mozza when I got there a couple of months ago. The host was so kind to us, coming in late and starving with no reservations into a packed house. He promised and delivered us seats in minutes when we couldn't see an open space in the house. Three of us had a light grazing menu of an outstanding pizza with some kind of salumi and 3 appetizers: mussels, which were fantastic, eggplant, asparagus. Perfect and not too costly. If it wasn't so late, we might have wanted a bigger meal, though. The rich, complete flavors were amazing and we were all completely satisfied. Looking forward to another visit.

                                                                                        1. Maison Akira. We went there for our wedding anniversary and were disappointed by the hype. The main entrees didn't live up to our expectations. My wife's signature seabass was on the dry side and didn't have that buttery taste we expect from this fish. My veal tenderloin was tender, but lacked flavor. Maybe an off day, but probably won't be back due to modestly high prices.

                                                                                          1. Bashan. I loved Bistro Verdu, and was sad to see it go, but had high hopes for its replacement. Despite other CH'ers raves, I thought the food was barely mediocre, overpriced, and the service was lousy.

                                                                                            1. Mei Long Village - XLB skin thick, juice inside either absorbed into the overthick skin on half of them and the other half were not fully cooked on the top. The other dishes seemed good, but not as good as I thought given the praise on the board.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: zruilong

                                                                                                If Mei Long Village didn't do it for you then I'd love to hear a recommendation for what does. I've had great experiences at MLV but if you've got something better I'd love to try it.

                                                                                                1. re: zruilong

                                                                                                  I love Mei Long Village. However, your thoughts about the juice having been absorbed by the “overthick shin” brings to mind something that happened to me last month. There is a food court in a strip mall at the intersection of Durate and Goldenwest in Arcadia. A little buffet on the right side near the back row has a number of items to pick from. No one understood English and I figured I must be at the right place. I made hand signs, pointed and somehow they figured out what I wanted. They served me the best, hot, flavorful and most juicy pork dumplings I ever had. They were a little too big to just put the whole thing in my mouth so I just took a bite. The juice/soup squirt out all over my new shirt and all I could do was smile because it was so good. The wrapper / skin had a perfect texture. After eating them all I still wanted more but decided to walk out the door and not over eat. I thought I had a post to write telling all about my trip to dumpling heaven. Well, I almost got to my car and then decided to have more.

                                                                                                  I went back inside and saw that they still had some left on the tray that came from the kitchen when I bought my first order. My second order, served from the same batch as before, were not hot but only heat lamp warm. The juice was gone! The skin was thick, flabby and simply bad. No doubt about it, metamorphosis occurred and these were no longer soup dumplings but on there way to being softballs.

                                                                                                  I will return to this place and if I can get an understandable answer as to whether the dumplings are Fresh and Hot then I will be smiling again. I think you should try Mei Long Village again and if the first two dumplings are not perfect just send them back. That place takes much pride in what they do and will want to get it right.

                                                                                                  1. re: JeetJet

                                                                                                    you hit the nail on the head. xlb's should be eaten quickly. otherwise the skin will dry up and the soup will be absorbed.

                                                                                                2. Two places come to mind. Musha has just never impressed me ... it has always seemed to be inexpensive Japanese food that is basically underwhelming. Also, Joe's on Abbot Kinney used to be one of my favorite restaurants. I had a horrible meal there, then had another even worse one and promised never to go back. Then I was dragged back there by a regular who swore by it, and we had the worst meal of all. I just don't get all the raves it still receives.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: JE33

                                                                                                    i used to be a regular at joes until, i, too, hit a string of bad/inexcusable episodes.

                                                                                                  2. Not heartbroken, but disappointed in Providence
                                                                                                    Bistro K terribly disappointed
                                                                                                    Fraiche, good lunch horrible dinner

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: budlit

                                                                                                      Wonder when you went to Bistro K... They've had a new owner for over a year and it's just not the same as the food from the previous chef/owner Laurent.

                                                                                                      1. re: mocro

                                                                                                        It was about 2 or 3 years ago, it was Laurent

                                                                                                      2. re: budlit

                                                                                                        Second Providence and Bistro K. I personally didn't think Providence lived up to the hype. My fish was over cooked, as was the rest of the tables... best thing was the uni risotto. But at prices like that- it ain't worth my time.

                                                                                                      3. We were disappointed in Beacon in Culver City. We think that you can eat as well for less at Dijonaise across the street.

                                                                                                        1. I've been burned in my quest for a great burger (not Cali-style, but NYC's Corner Bistro-style). Most recently, Lucky Devils and Redwood stick out as Chowhound-praised disappointments. Sorry, but it's just sad when a meal of burgers, fries and beers for two costs over $50 and isn't even that good. On the plus side, I just tried the burger at Mary & Robb's in Westwood, and I heartily recommend it. Sweet potato and waffle fries are also good.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: countdeville

                                                                                                            I think Lucky Devils has one of the best hamburgers I've ever tried but it's definitely not your run of the mill hamburger. Kobe beef definitely tastes very different from ground beef and you certainly pay for it too (although I don't think $12 is bad for a Kobe burger). For a good, old fashioned type burger, I like Hamburger Mary's in WeHo. That's a good, big burger for you!

                                                                                                          2. I have trouble understanding how someone has their heart broken on the 1st date. Meaning fair resto reviews are not based on 1 visit. That's why pro resto critics visit multi times before reviewing. So the answer to the question "Did I hit an off day at both of them?" is basically yes, at least re: Daisy Mint. Bad day- maybe, bad choice of dishes- probably (at least the steak and deserts). As for "bad day-maybe"- I've eaten there probably 8 times and the garnishes have never been less than fresh and fine. Other Daisy Mint regulars will agree the food is fresh. Daisy Mint is a terrific neighborhood Thai/Korean resto, adapted by the chef and kind of fusion/Americanized. The comparison to authentic Thai in Thai Town is not right. Kind of an apples and oranges thing. I understand the kids ordered the steak, but considering it's an Asian resto and the ribeye's only $18, it belongs on the bottom of the list of dishes to order on your 1st visit.
                                                                                                            Layne, when you're in the area again try Daisy Mint again and review again. Try the salmon next time.

                                                                                                            Nearly 100% of the restos with overwhelmingly favorable reviews on the LA Board have also had naysayers. The replies on this topic mirror that assessment. From what I've read, Cut stands alone without negative critics. Though I'd appreciate other Chounds letting us know of any other restos w/ 100% thumbs up.

                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: ilikefood

                                                                                                              >>I have trouble understanding how someone has their heart broken on the 1st date.<<

                                                                                                              Because we already fell deeply in love on the world wide chow net.

                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                "Because we already fell deeply in love on the world wide chow net."

                                                                                                                Servog - Now that's just creepy and probably not a healthy attitude. Then there's the pain and disappointment internet love can lead to when faced with the reality of the object of your desire (man/woman/resto/whatever). On the other hand it can lead to positive experiences and relationships that are lasting.

                                                                                                                1. re: ilikefood

                                                                                                                  "Now that's just creepy and probably not a healthy attitude."

                                                                                                                  And yet, (to this point) I've never had any restaurant or taco truck take out a restraining order against me... lol, and as far as the attitude not being healthy...maybe, but the eating can actually BE unhealthy.

                                                                                                                2. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                  you know, servorg, thanks for this reply. :-) Far from being creepy, it helped explain this thread to me, which I hadn't replied to, partly because I didn't feel like I knew LA places well enough, but mostly because, well, 'heart-broken' seemed like the wrong description for what most of you were describing, which is basically a place that disappointed you on a first or second visit...

                                                                                                                  but ok, I sort of get it now based on your answer...

                                                                                                                  sort of.

                                                                                                                  That said, my only real heartbreak of LA Chow-mentioned places I have tried is one that I hesitate to even discuss, since it truly DID break my heart. That place was Sabor A Mexico: on my first meeting I fell truly and completely in love with it, indeed, I was willing to make an on-going commitment, see:


                                                                                                                  but then, alas, it moved away. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder, I discovered, as when I first checked out the new location, I wasn't sure I was still in love:


                                                                                                                  and a another follow-up visit recently has convinced me. It just isn't the same. Even the quesadillas aren't as good: getting oilier, wrong balance of masa and filling. Sigh. Deep sigh. Very hard for me to admit, but it isn't the same at all... Now that really is heartbreak....

                                                                                                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                    adding a link:

                                                                                                                    Sabor a Mexico
                                                                                                                    2622 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018

                                                                                                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                      Wow, doesn't that bring back memories. Sabor A Mexico was the board darling last spring, the big find, the true hole-in-the-wall wonderfully lovingly made authentic Mexican. People even loved how hard it was to find on National and how slowly the food came out. So they moved and expanded -- and nobody posts about them anymore.

                                                                                                                      1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                        They did not expand and moved to an area with very little chowhound traffic (Don't even get me started on that...)

                                                                                                                        And I still go. :)



                                                                                                                3. I love Skaf's (though I much, much prefer the original NoHo location), but I have to say that I just don't get the Chowhound love for the Beverly Hills Cheese Store. Every time I've gone in there I'm treated like some sort of imported scum that was missed by the street sweeper. They're just so stuck up to me and the last time truly was the last time -- Frog's Breath in Orange is closer, not as wide a selection, obviously, but I'm not treated like some kind of slightly-amusing insect.

                                                                                                                  20 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                    I did find it a bit bizarre when I recently went to the Beverly Hills Cheese store in search of this amazing cheese from Georgia that I had recently had at the French Laundry in Napa, and I was told in a very condescending voice that they did not stock domestic cheeses because they catered to a different, more sophisticated and well-traveled clientele. I guess they thought only rubes dined at the French Laundry. Mind you, I wasn't all that bowled over by the French Laundry, but the cheese course there was amazing.

                                                                                                                    1. re: omotosando

                                                                                                                      That's very odd because I tasted a domestic goat cheese there yesterday and have purchased some nice domestic cheeses from there in the past.

                                                                                                                      I can understand there is a bit of an attitude at the Cheese Store, but I don't mind it because they really do know what they are talking about. I usually tell them what I'm looking for in general terms and then let them make suggestions. I actually was more put off by the Artisan Cheese Gallery guy telling me that, in no case, should I ever keep cheese for more than four days."

                                                                                                                      1. re: Jwsel

                                                                                                                        When I asked about domestic cheese, I was told they carry very little (I think they had one domestic goat cheese in stock) because their sophisticated well-traveled clientele prefers imported cheese. The "well-traveled" was said in a very condescending, almost sad way - as in pitying those poor souls who lacked the resources to travel regularly to Europe. I've lived in France, but whatever. I felt like they should have had Boris Vian's "J'Suis Snob" playing in the background (On se réunit avec les amis tous les vendredis, pour faire des snobismes-parties/il y a du coca, on déteste ça/et du camembert qu'on mange à la petite cuiller . . .")

                                                                                                                        1. re: omotosando

                                                                                                                          I had the same issue... and wrt the Artisan Cheese Gallery, I do have to say that four days is the limit for semisoft cheeses from them. I don't know if it's a quality thing or just the cheeses themselves.

                                                                                                                          I wish we had a place like the Cheeseboard in Berkeley -- really awesome cheese and totally non-pretentious. (I wouldn't mind having this fictional LA cheeseria having the "Communist pizza place" associated with the Cheeseboard either.)

                                                                                                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                            The downside of traveling to and living in many places is that you realize, e.g., that there's no place in all of Los Angeles on par with the cheap and ghetto Cheeseboard.

                                                                                                                            1. re: aventinus

                                                                                                                              i can't see the cheeseboard in berkeley on the pricey part of shattuck ave, no less, being 'ghetto.'
                                                                                                                              have i missed something? is there another cheeseboard to which you are referring

                                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                probably referring to how that area of berkeley has historically been called "the gourmet ghetto:"

                                                                                                                            2. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                              Oh sweet jesus! The cheeseboard is such a beautiful place. Yes the cheese is stupendous but don't leave out the baked goods. The chocolate thing is wonderful as are all the breads.

                                                                                                                              And I never understood the people's issue with the associated pizzeria. So what if they only serve one type of pizza per day. It's perfect! Shut up and revel in it's glory.

                                                                                                                              Regarding the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills. There are two kinds of snobs that I've come across. The first group I don't understand. They have an idea of what is high quality and worthwhile and they must denigrate anything that threatens their world order. The other operates from a position of insecurity and they compensate by being snobbish in the hopes that someone will mistake that for expertise.

                                                                                                                              I've been taken care of wonderfully by the proprietor of the Cheese Store and he wasn't at all pretentious or snobby. He was helpful and generous and while offering me a recipe for what was essentially traditional french cheese fries I watched him light up and almost lose himself in a memory of what must be some quintessential comfort food for him. He's great and he's got a great selection of French cheeses. I've also been taken care of by less experienced clerks and received the snobby treatment when I asked too many questions that highlighted the clerks lack of knowledge (and my own . . . that's why I was asking). I find that kind of thing really common in the gourmet food sector. I pissed off the clerks at the Silverlake Cheese Shop when I asked too many questions about their domestic burrata.

                                                                                                                              The one palce that I've always had superior service at is the cheese counter at Joan's on Third. They take their time with each customer so yo might have to wait your turn but they've always been very informative. Chester in particular is great. They seem to do best with Italian cheeses though so if that isn't your thing then you'll need to look elsewhere.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Frommtron

                                                                                                                                As a corollary, there is a group of people who label others snobs that i've come across. They operate from a position of insecurity and compensate by suggesting that the ostensibly refined tastes and esoteric knowledge of others are delusional exercises in egomania, and that, e.g., in reality Chateau Lafite is really no better than Two Buck Chuck.

                                                                                                                                Regarding the youngish girls at CheeseStore of Silverlake, they are, after all, youngish girls. They seem pretty serious about what they do and I generally like them.

                                                                                                                                1. re: aventinus

                                                                                                                                  Those are the anti-snob snobs. And while obviously Chateau Lafite is not the same as Two Buck Chuck, I divide the wine world into "good", "drinkable" and "bad". I've never had Chateau Lafite but I assume it would be "good". Two Buck Chuck is "drinkable". Ripple is "bad".

                                                                                                                                  Still, while I don't usually mind admitting lack of knowledge, I don't like the subtle mocking that I've had from CSBH. It's got this sainted reputation, I've been a handful of times, and I don't think I can have got the owner any of those times.

                                                                                                                                  I wouldn't mind if it were like shopping in France (those of you who have lived in France know EXACTLY what I am talking about -- where you ask for bread and the boulanger asks you what you're eating it with, and the next thing you know it's ten minutes later and you're leaving with a loaf of some bread you've never heard of and a recipe for the side dish that goes with the main course you're making); that's expertise and it's valuable to me.

                                                                                                                                  But when I come out of the store unhappy, even though I may have purchased something delectable, there is something wrong with the place. I've never dared come out as a CSBH-disliker on Chowhound before because, as I said, no one else ever has anything bad to say about it.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: aventinus

                                                                                                                                    Oh! I hope I didn't imply that I didn't like the clerks at Silver Lake. I was just saying that it's a very common reaction to put a little snob on if you are getting questions that kind of extend past you knowledge a bit. It happened once and it was a major anomaly. That place is great.

                                                                                                                                    And I think you're right about CSBH. I think it's very interesting though that the proprietor is pretty down to earth while his clerks are the ones that get there noses in the air.

                                                                                                                                2. re: OCGirl

                                                                                                                                  please don't talk about the cheese board or i'll start crying. if there is one thing i miss about the bay area is the cheese board. i would like to open a cheese board here.

                                                                                                                                  i've had ok service at the CS BH and the guy at silverlake isn't so bad either. i found they're both just as enthusiastic about cheese as i am. sorry to hear they broke your heart. i think the only way to mend a broken cheese heart is a visit to the cheese board in berkeley...ok, i'm starting again!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                    Hey Das. did you hear about Dean & Deluca opening next year at Fashion Island. I know it's not cheap, but it will be a flagship store and I have always found them to be unpretentious. I am counting down the days. :)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: justagthing

                                                                                                                                      I grew up going to "Dean's and DeLuca's" in New York, so I am looking forward to it. Expensive, though -- wow.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                        In 1996 a guy from Wichita, Kansas, bought out Dean & DeLuca. Last year, he purchased Oakville Grocery in St. Helena, and he has other financial interests, as well. Oakvile was slouching towards bankruptcy when D&D swooped down to save them. I don't know what effect the acquisition has had on the mother company.

                                                                                                                                        All this is to say that I hope D&D doesn't overextend itself, and we wind up with a version of Oakville Grocery -- which is to D&D approximately as Henry's is to their new owners, Whole Foods. (Both Oakville and D&D are quite different from that large chain.) What Southern California needs is a NY-style Dean & DeLuca with the real goods!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mel Gee

                                                                                                                                          D&D is actually coming to Newport Beach next year...


                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mel Gee

                                                                                                                                            Sorry, now that you've used "D&D' for Den and Deluca, all I can think of is a bunch of either:
                                                                                                                                            1. Lonely geeky guys rolling dice in the cheese aisle


                                                                                                                                            2. barbarian, magic users, dwarfs, paladins and such in full regalia, rolling around shopping carts and reading labels. The best image in my brain now is of an Ogre all in spiky things balancing bifocals on his nose as he chooses between olive oil.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Diana

                                                                                                                                                guess that's why one guy used d&dl
                                                                                                                                                love the visualizations

                                                                                                                              2. jeez layne, ya sure know how to cause a ruckus!
                                                                                                                                'love your writing...thanks for sparing my trek to daisy mint..i had a hunch.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: jamey

                                                                                                                                  I can hardly wait for my 4th meal at Daisy Mint and my husband's 5th. It's too bad that you have to waste a meal a week in the "wasteland of Pasadena". Regarding the experience of a fatty rib eye brings back a memory of having dinner with a very good friend years ago who complained at Houston's that her rib eye had way too much fat. Hmmm...Rib Eye is fatty. That being said, I did post on http://www.chowhound.com/topics/476009 that the rib eye wasn't what I expected but I still liked the flavor.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jamey

                                                                                                                                    jamey - What exactly was your hunch and why? What's the reason(s)/basis for your hunch? Did it have to do with overwhelming favorable reviews (30+) versus 1 review calling DM mediocre (not counting Layne's review because you obviously had your hunch before Layne's post).

                                                                                                                                    How long would your trek be to Daisy Mint ? DM's not a destination resto worth driving from the westside for, but if you're in the general area it's worth it.

                                                                                                                                  2. I've been to Daisy Mint a half dozen times and have been very pleased w/the food/service. Word's gotten out, though, and the past few times there's been a wait and I haven't stayed. Layne, perhaps your bad experience was a function of new help and a busy night? I've found the young owners to be very service minded and eager to please so maybe you could not write them off just yet.

                                                                                                                                    1. I'm going to add brunch at Comme Ca although I don't know if it's well-regarded on CH or not. I love Sona and was so excited to get a real French omelette and not be the one to have to struggle to make it.

                                                                                                                                      First, they ran out of their house-made sausage so we settled for thin cut slices of Oscar Meyer-quality bacon baked in little Staub cast iron mini cocottes while folded upon themselves and sitting in their own substantial drippings. I love bacon and that's a travesty. I've had better at Denny's. No lie.

                                                                                                                                      Second, my omelette was folded in the saddest, laziest, and most bizarre package. But the heartbreaker was that it was profoundly overcooked even if I were judging by diner standards. No delicate golden skin to pierce. No custard-like interior. No good.

                                                                                                                                      The oysters were fine, if a little gritty and the charcuterie and cheese plates were wonderful. So, basically the garde manger was great but nothing cooked was up to par from that kitchen.

                                                                                                                                      1. A few that have not broken my heart, but have not lived up to my chow (hyped) expectations:

                                                                                                                                        J & J Burger & BBQ - I thought it was mediocre at best, and still stick by my fave: Phillips

                                                                                                                                        Vito's - I am just not as big a fan of this place as everyone else, but I do think it is still one of the best pizza spots in LA, but I put it behind Mulberrys and Joes.

                                                                                                                                        1. Yuca's is not for everyone. If you prefer l’style garbage with beans, rice, and other groceries on TOP of an included-in-the-price kitchen sink, then you probably won't like the delicately nuanced presentation of a juicy cochinita pibil burrito at Yuca’s. So very intriguing, mes amis y amigos de la ciudad! Perhaps these little creations are meant only for sophisticates like myself who travel in a mad social whirl from Bell to East LA to Los Feliz, associating with the most-refined denizens of the taco stand and l’coach delaroach.

                                                                                                                                          But enough of this. I must hurry down to the, yes, aloof (but proper) BH Cheese Store on Evergreen in Boyle Heights for their wonderful queso fresco con “bell peppers” del Orange County. I understand that Wolfgang serves nothing less when you request a cheese course at Cut.

                                                                                                                                            1. J & J and Luscious Dumplings are the most disappointing Chowhound faves that did let me down. I thought both of the places are overrated and come out disappointed at the end. I didn't think either of the place's dumplings were any special nor did I understand why they were that good.

                                                                                                                                              I would rather go to Mei Long Village or Dragon Mark before J&J. I would definitely stick with DTF over Luscious.

                                                                                                                                              Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                                                                                                                                              1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                                                                                                                                              Luscious Dumplings
                                                                                                                                              704 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                                                                                                                              J & J Restaurant
                                                                                                                                              301 W Valley Blvd Ste 109, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                                                                                                                              Mei Long Village
                                                                                                                                              301 W Valley Blvd Ste 112, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                                                                                                                              Dragon Mark (Yitiao Long)
                                                                                                                                              301 W Valley Blvd Ste 110, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                                                                                                                              18 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pepsi Monster

                                                                                                                                                I don't understand how you can compare DTF and Luscious Dumplings.

                                                                                                                                                They don't serve the same things. Do you just prefer XLB to dumplings? If that's the case, it is really unfair, and inapt, to say that DTF is somehow better than Luscious Dumplings.

                                                                                                                                                It's sort of like saying you prefer Pink's over Fatburgers. It really doesn't mean that Pink's is better (or worse) than Fatburgers; just merely perhaps that you have a preference for hot dogs over burgers.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                  No, just dumplings to dumplings comparison. I didn't mentioned anything particular, especially about XLB.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pepsi Monster

                                                                                                                                                    DTF does not serve good dumplings.

                                                                                                                                                    Again, going to DTF for dumplings would be like going to Pink's for hamburgers.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                      Sorry to disappoint you, but Luscious Dumplings was not better. It'[s like going to Hot Dog on a Stick for filet mignon.

                                                                                                                                                      To each of our own.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pepsi Monster

                                                                                                                                                        Actually, IMO, I think there are no good dumplings anyplace. Think about it. Sometimes I get cought up in all the dumpling / XLB talk on CH, make a list and after trying several places I look at how much money that crap cost and what little you get for your money that I get a broken heart and broken wallet. Going out for 10 dumplings for $6 to $8 is like paying for a great burger and getting a bad pork hot dog cut into ten slices and wraped in cheap pasta. Nevertheless, I still try the crap once a month and get broken hearted again and again.

                                                                                                                                                        Also, at first I liked DTF and still do now and then when I am on Baldwin but those rubber bands around the take out boxes are tacky.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JeetJet

                                                                                                                                                          That's just the wrong perspective.

                                                                                                                                                          That'd be like saying, why would I pay $6 for ONE burger when for the same amount of money I could get TWO (or THREE) banh mi sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                                          If you don't like dumplings and/or XLB then just come out and say it straight up -- nothing wrong with that. But don't play the cover-up game and say something like "well I don't like it because it costs too much in comparison to some other food I like better" -- that's weak.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                            I second your comments on DTF and Luscious. The 2 should not be mentioned on the same sentence.

                                                                                                                                                            On a side note, DTF Arcadia is way overrated if you had DTF in Taiwan. The quality has gone down considerably, I was just there yesterday, and there were hardly anybody there from 11:00 to 1:00 (it could be lunch time). As for Luscious, I have always liked this place, cozy, family-owned (Cantonese, to think they are not known for such stuff, they have done an excellent job), the dumplings have a good 'bite' as opposed to a lot of dumplings out there which are mushy, and the soup base(being Cantonese) is unbeatable with their beef tendon noodles.

                                                                                                                                                            I respect personal preferences from this board.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                              Hey ipse. I really do read and enjoy your great post.

                                                                                                                                                              That analogy of one good all beef burger vs. three banh mi is weak. First, one good beef burger is worth three or four banh mi. Second, no one can really complain about a sandwich that cost a little over a buck, even if we really don’t know what those filliings are. My point about the dumplings is three prong “…how much money [PRICE] that crap [QUALITY] cost and what little you get [AMOUNT] …”. Your analogy only addresses two prongs, price and amount. A better analogy would be the broken heart feeling of paying $6 expecting at least as much cheap filling as you can get in three or four banh mi and only getting a hand full of little dumplings. But still, getting more crap for my money is not what I am talking about. Also,I stopped buying banh mi because it breaks my heart even if it is lots of crap for a low price. I never tried that stuff either until I read about it on CH. However, sometimes the bread at those places is very good.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JeetJet

                                                                                                                                                                Well, I disagree on the 'crap' concept you profer. I think dumplings in all of their various incarnations are little packages of love, gift wrapped just for me. It's fine that you're not a fan but I think it's a little rough to drop a whole element of so many cuisines in the tank like that.

                                                                                                                                                                I also have to agree that you are making a noble attempt to compare apples to oranges. It just doesn't work. If all food choices were made on that basis then we'd all be eating that one dish that balanced all three of your criteria.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JeetJet


                                                                                                                                                                  While I don't agree that your trifecta of Price, Quality and Amount is necessarily the right paradigm to judge what is "good eats", I do think you are still off-base in comparing one type of food (e.g. dumplings) with a totally different type of food (e.g. burgers) to disparage the former and praise the latter.

                                                                                                                                                                  I mean why not just say, flat out, "I don't like dumplings, no matter how much or little they cost because they taste like crap to me." That's totally respectable. People like different foods for diffferent reasons and that's what makes this board so invigorating.

                                                                                                                                                                  But, to say "I don't like dumplings and they taste like crap because burgers are better" is just a non-sequitur. I can understand and respect a person not liking dumplings. That's cool. I can understand and respect a person really liking burgers. That's cool, again. But to say one is better than the other simply because one is cheaper is really a rather disjointed position to take.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                    Tee, hee, hee...It always goes back to those darn juicy XLB. I can't take this too seriously but I am going to try Luscious having already tried AND LIKED both DTF and MLV.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                      I never said I don't like dumplings. I never said they taste like crap either. I happen to like dumplings and love pork hash. I just happen to feel that pork hash is crap. I also love Kraft Mac & cheese for the flavor and think it is crap as well., but reasonably priced crap. The broken heart about dumplings is that crap should never be so over priced that your heart gets broken. Your love of a food item should never blind you to how much you are paying relative to what it is really worth. With dumplings I feel I am paying more for the kitchen labor (Ever see that assembly line at DTF?) than food. Maybe someday a Krispy Kreme Dumpling Machine will replace all those human hands and the price will be more real. It will still be crap but it will have a better price and I will not be broken hearted.

                                                                                                                                                                      I see the same high cost, labor intensive, small amount of food problem with sushi. The food is not crap but the “Sushi Chef” is more like a time consuming artist than a chef -- the fish is not even cooked. I love sushi and have tried so many places mentioned on the LA CH Board. The bottom line is broken heart, empty wallet, and empty stomach. Analogy, well, it is like paying for the whole fish and getting only a spoon full. I can’t help but wonder if the process of making dumplings and sushi was socially pioneered more with an eye for creating jobs in mind than feeding people.

                                                                                                                                                                      People dislike different foods for diffferent reasons and that also makes this board invigorating. Moreover, in LA we have so many different foods that it makes LA an invigorating place to live and eat, compare, like and dislike, get a happy heart and get broken hearted.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JeetJet

                                                                                                                                                                        Everytime we dine out, we not only pay for the cost of the food but also the labor, the rent, the expertise of the chef, the advertisement, the janitor of the restaurant, the owners' kids private school tuition...... :) My point is that the only way to avoid all these extras is to make the food yourself at home. My mother-in-law keeps saying how cheap everything can be if we cook at home but that takes away the convenience and enjoyment of someone cooking for you.....

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fdb

                                                                                                                                                                          I was just searching for a legitimate reason for the crazy high price of dumplings – excessive labor. But you got me thinking more about it. For the cost of those ten dumplings ($6 to $7) you could buy three or four good sized tamales. Those tamales are at least as labor intensive and are filled with shredded beef. I wonder how many mini bite sized tamales might be made for that same money? Because of the additional labor the amount of food for the dollar would probably be a little less but it would take a lot of chutzpah to charge $7 for 10 bites of tamale. My point is, chutzpah brakes my heart.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: JeetJet

                                                                                                                                                                  I've had Chinese dumplings that may change your mind--just not in LA. The three dumpling places I've been to in SGV have seemed just OK to me, both in the dough and in the filling. But i need to try DTF.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: aventinus

                                                                                                                                                                    Where are these mind-altering dumplings, pray tell?

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                I LOVE DTF's steamed green vegetable and pork dumplings! I love the velvety fillings, paper-thin wrappings, and the fact that it's non-greasy.

                                                                                                                                                          2. I looked forward to eating at Parkway Grill, but the entrees were disappointing both times I was there (lunchtime). The first time, the lamb shank was tender but completely devoid of flavor. The second time I ordered the seared albacore, and it was sliced lengthwise and completely overcooked. I've had tuna out of the can that was more tender and flavorful. Why they would do this, I have no idea. Another person at my lunch ordered this and his was even more overcooked. A restaurant this classy and expensive should know better. The rest of the meal was fine. But I thought I'd have food that was a real stand-out. Not.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hpcat

                                                                                                                                                              Sarah Jessica Parker & Parkway Grill -- I just don't get it.

                                                                                                                                                            2. Skaf's was EXCELLENT when it first opened but it's gone down a bit in quality. My parents live down the block and they go there more frequently and have told me the same thing.

                                                                                                                                                              1. Ce Fiore was a bit of a bust, too. I want to try Menchie's

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Diana

                                                                                                                                                                  Overrated places. ...hmmmm
                                                                                                                                                                  Shiro, Orris, Orochon, Takumi, Daikokuya and Santouka for Japanese
                                                                                                                                                                  Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles
                                                                                                                                                                  Mei Long Village and Din Tai Fung for dumplings
                                                                                                                                                                  ParkAve in Stanton

                                                                                                                                                                2. I don't know if these are all CH faves, but all these places below previously mentioned on CH were disappointing
                                                                                                                                                                  Beard Papa (is disgusting, I just don't get it)
                                                                                                                                                                  Sarducci's in San Juan Capistrano (awful, awful food)
                                                                                                                                                                  Selma's Pizzeria in San Clemente (terrible pizza, slow inattentive service)
                                                                                                                                                                  Wilma's Patio (don't get this one either, I thought the food was bad)
                                                                                                                                                                  Layer Cake, Irvine (every variety of cake I tried from LC -carrot being the only exception-was both dry and greasy, and the icing on their green tea cake was gross, and I normally love green tea sweets. The pastries were OK, nothing spectacular).
                                                                                                                                                                  And the biggest disappointment, is Zov's Bistro in Irvine. This used to be one of my favorite restaurants (I used to rave about Zov's too until recently), but it seems that they've gotten pretty mediocre in recent months. The meal I had in Irvine was overpriced, the menu was ridiculously short, and the food overall was just meh compared to the once great meals I had at their original Tustin location.

                                                                                                                                                                  Have to say though, I find local Chowhounders' recs to be absolutely spot on most of the time. Only a few hiccups considering the vast number of gems I've found thanks to Chow.

                                                                                                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodieKat

                                                                                                                                                                    Hi FoodieKat... My mother once proclaimed that "..women's knees are disgusting..". No further clarification on her part, but I think she meant that she doesn't like women to wear dresses/skirts that are short enough to display their knees ( I couldn't disagree more, btw ). Reminds me of your statement that Beard Papa is disgusting. Dough too soggy/too crunchy/burnt/garlicky?? Custard too runny/bland/sweet/viscous?? No need to defend your taste to me. I just wanna know what caused the disgust. 'Cause if you feel about Beard Papa the way my mama feels about Kim Kardashian, I makin' a beeline to the take-out counter...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: silence9

                                                                                                                                                                      Well, Silence, for a start the puffs at the Beard Papa location I tried weren't freshly made, they were too dry, and cold (instead of fresh and warm) and expensive, which added insult to injury as far as I was concerned, given that the service was also rather brusque. I walked away from the experience with the impression that it was pretty overrated. Wouldn't go back there in a hurry. Your example amused me greatly though. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodieKat

                                                                                                                                                                        I forgot about beard papa. It really is disgusting. I tried it once. just awful.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rednyellow

                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, I don't get Beard Papa, either, but then again, I'm used to going to proper boulangeries for my choux creme needs.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                                                                                                                            It is difficult indeed going anywhere other than a proper boulangerie for pastry (ah, I remember those mornings in Parisian bakeries oh so fondly :-)). Do you know if there are any boulangerie-style bakeries in the LA area (incl. Orange County) or am I reaching here? Still somewhat of a novice to the neighbourhood.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FoodieKat

                                                                                                                                                                              Boule is a good start.

                                                                                                                                                                              You know what, underrated in OC are the Vietnamese bakeries. Those French colonials taught more than just baguettes for banh mi; you can find all manner of classic bakery items. While I haven't done any extensive research, I'm sure there's gotta be a gem in there somewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                                                                                                                                That is a good idea, and one that admittedly hadn't crossed my mind. Next time I visit Little Saigon I'll check out the bakeries.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm not sure it's fair to rip Beard Papa for not being an authentic boulangerie but give Vietnamese bakeries a pass because of colonial ties.

                                                                                                                                                                                  If you're looking for a good pattiserie then I'd try Michel Richard on Robertson.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Frommtron

                                                                                                                                                                                    I guess Beard Papa's (BP) cream puffs are OK at best in my book. I prefer Chantilly's by a mile though. The issues I have with BP are two.

                                                                                                                                                                                    BP always seems frantic - like the "I Love Lucy," episode where Lucy is trying in vain to pack the chocolates coming down the conveyor belt. I'm not expecting a serene environment where birds can be heard singing in the background or maidens approach me playing harps and tossing rose petals in the air. I just personally get turned off by the person frantically squirting and tossing pastry creme and choux.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The quality of their product is better than one would find at some shops that don't specialize in cream-filled pastries. But when considering this, I would expect a much better choux, and pastry creams that had better mouthfeel and taste. Maybe it's the market that they are targeting - that term, "pricepoint," that some get annoyed by. If that's the case, then I just have to accept the fact that it is what it is. Since BP has no direct competitor at a mass level, I doubt they will be improving their quality to price ratio.

                                                                                                                                                                                    One note that I've mentioned in the past about comparing BP and Chantilly... We were having dinner on Sawtelle one night and as we were leaving, our kids saw BP and started pleading for a cream puff. I begrudgingly gave in, we went and got a few. I passed. While my kids started in on their cream puffs, they asked why I didn't want one. I told them that I much prefer Chantilly's and went into detail how good they were in comparison to remind them of what they had that was a better version of what they were recklessly eating. First my son stopped eating his. My daughter kept eating her's but finally offered the half-eaten cream puff to me. "You're right, dad. I don't want this anymore..." Wow - me right for once? I noted this rare moment for eternity.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                                                                                                      When I read your well written post above I had to admit to myself a truth about how I feel about BP. I have visited the Arcadia CA, BP a few times but stopped going a few months ago. Family members asked me why and I could not put a finger on it other than I really do not like that blended filling they use -- not "cream" really but ??? My wife agreed. What you say, "I just personally get turned off by the person frantically squirting and tossing pastry creme and choux" hit the nail on the head! When I read those words I relaized that I am so turned off by plastic words and smiles that seem as if a parody TV commercial about "Fast Service" begins being taped when I walk in the door. I am the only customer in the place and yet "frantic" is the word that tells how the refer door is opened, the pump is yanked out, the pump handle is pumped, and the box is handed over to me. The only time I see a more normal relaxed behavior is when I open the door and walk out. I know this is not how these employees act in real life. What turns me off about it is it makes me feel like I just visited an army training session where rules are strictly imposed. I almost feel like asking whether they are free to leave. The owner really needs to chill out, like Big Time.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JeetJet

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, the cats running the show at BP seem to have the tightest sphincter muscles in the cream puff industry...

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                                                                                                        Great story. They really are different experiences and I think you hit it with the quality and pacing ideas. In addition to the care Chantilly puts into filling each choux, the way they serve a glass of perfectly chilled water along side their pastry sets a much different tone than the old DIY free water dispenser at Beard Papa (Sawtelle location). I like BP for what it is and enjoy their puffs sometimes, but I love Chantilly for the details.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: petradish

                                                                                                                                                                                          You do so well in pointing out the little attentions to detail like that. Most folks who've been to the "better" bakeries and patisseries (or for that matter, most places) in Japan have come to expect niceties and pleasantries like what has been eluded to.

                                                                                                                                                                                          One great example I recall from one of my visits to Chantilly was when a pretty decent-sized guy came in to pick up three 5-boxes of cream puffs. I get the impression that someone else had made the order over the phone and he was there to pick them up for the first time. These boxes probably each weigh a pound max. When the demure lady behind the counter politely suggested that she help the 6-foot plus broad-chested guy carry these boxes to his car, he was surprised and maybe at least just a little baffled. Her view was, "three boxes, two hands, no way without dropping at least one box when reaching for the keys and opening the car door - seen it coming too many times..." I watched as he, The Hulk's understudy, daintily carried one box of these delicate gems by the handle, while Chantilly's employee carried the other two right behind him. He reached for his keys, opened the car, loaded the three boxes on the floor of the car, and off he went. Whether he actually picked up on her reasoning, I don't know, but maybe that is how it should be - seamless. This is part and parcel of the old school Japanese psyche when it comes to doing things - do whatever you do as best as you can. You get the feeling at places like Chantilly that so many things have been considered from a lot of perspectives. However, I don't get that sense at Beard Papa, which is also from Japan. Maybe they never had it, but if they did, they certainly lost it somewhere along the way...

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: Frommtron

                                                                                                                                                                                        Never tried Vietnamese bakeries in the area to be honest, so can't say whether they're a hit or a miss. My guess would be that they're pretty good though (??) This is on my list (it's getting very long, believe me) of things to try. All I can say is the Beard Papa in Hollywood sucked, so it's kind of put me off the whole the BP experience. I just don't care for cream puffs that aren't freshly made (choux).

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodieKat

                                                                                                                                                                                          They're good, but the banh su (that's choux a la creme to you) are pre-made at all of them, so they tend to be, hm, a bit rubbery.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: FoodieKat

                                                                                                                                                                                      Try Patisserie Chantilly in Lomita. Their pastry creme filled choux is the real deal and one of the best that I have experienced around LA. The black sesame creme is pretty amazing as well. The only catch is you will need to wait. In order to preserve the integrity of the choux, they assemble them as the order comes in. It's peaceful in there too - no frantic assembly line pump, squirt, and toss action like at Beard Papa. Some have commented on the prices - I think they're around $3 per, but in this case, you do get what you pay for, and $3 for a piece of heaven is a deal in my book.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I think SS is on to something as well - the Vietnamese bakeries are overlooked treasures by most - me included. I just don't spend enough time down in OC. But I know who does - Das Ubergeek. If anyone on this board knows of where to find your treasure in the OC, he will... He has also recently written on a place in Tustin, called, "Cream Pan," which literally is Japanese for, "cream bread," or a cream puff-like pastry...

                                                                                                                                                                                      Patisserie Chantilly
                                                                                                                                                                                      2383 Lomita Blvd., #104, Lomita, CA 90717

                                                                                                                                                                                      Cream Pan
                                                                                                                                                                                      602 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't mind waiting for a quality pastry, or paying for it if it's really good. I appreciate care and attention to detail. That black sesame creme at Chantilly sounds yummy. I keep hearing great things about Cream Pan too, and it's much closer for me, so I will definitely have to get myself over there.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: rednyellow

                                                                                                                                                                                    The Beard Papa on Sawtelle has never disappointed me. My puffs have always been warm and fresh with yummy filling. Everyone I take there loves them.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Wow, sad to hear the comments about Sunnin's decline. These boggle my mind:

                                                                                                                                                                              Primo's Donuts
                                                                                                                                                                              Diddy Riese
                                                                                                                                                                              John O'Groats
                                                                                                                                                                              Father's Office
                                                                                                                                                                              Al Gelato

                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: petradish

                                                                                                                                                                                i can agree with your list (especially o'groats and diddy riese) except for jiraffe. i find jiraffe consistently excellent, great space and and service. we love it! it has not diminsihed in the last few years in my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: petradish

                                                                                                                                                                                  A third of your list boggles my mind... Primo's brought me back to appreciating donuts. I hadn't eaten them in years, until Mrs. Primo brought me out a hot glazed buttermilk. I haven't gone back since. Diddy Riese may not be top of the line cookies, but as a Bruin alum, they are part of the college experience there. Tasty (esp. cinnamon and sugar,) fresh, cheap, and open late. What more could a starving student ask for? Porto's: one pastry justifies all in my mind - the guava cheese. Amazing and addictive. Finally, John O'Groats always has great oatmeal, hot biscuits with preserves, and the Blue Skies smoothie. The perfect start to any day. And they are the happiest diner people that I've ever encountered.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: trishyb

                                                                                                                                                                                    I *really* wanted to love Primo's buttermilk donuts after hearing all the chowpraise. It was walkable from where I lived, the vibe was friendly and famililar, it's a mom & pop business, all good. So I tried them cold and I tried them fresh & hot but it just didn't click with me. The glaze is fragrant and pleasant at first, but then dissolves into overwhelming sweetness and dead flat flavor. The cake part seems heavy and fried so it's both too hard & too soft at the same time.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm more of a Bob's donut kind of gal. I enjoy the delicacy of their buttermilk cake's fine crumb, the balance btwn the sweet and tanginess, its light & airy quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Diddy Riese tastes like the mediocre cheap cookie it is. I say this as a Bruin. I spent more time at Mrs. Field's to be honest. Wedge some crappy quality ice cream btwn two Diddy Riese and....well at least it didn't cost much but seems like a lot. That submarine sandwich place next to the Tommy's knock-off shack thrives on the same idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Porto's overall quality tastes about a half step above a super market bakery to me...but a lot of people dig that. A lot. Their guava and cheese is good, but I prefer the filling & pastry crust at Venice Bakery.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The way people talk about John O'Groats on this board is so different from my experiences there. The food is good but not remarkable. I couldn't find a distinctive edge or personality to the basic breakfast offerings. I don't like their biscuits (they taste too much of baking powder). It doesn't feel "homey" or a particularly friendly setting, but that's just me. I'd rather drive to Nick's downtown for ham & eggs or San Pedro (JeetJet mentioned a bunch of great spots in a recent post).

                                                                                                                                                                                    JiRaffe...a very pretty place with perfectly decent food. Been there twice a few years apart but the experiences didn't knock my socks off. I like the approach of their menu, the veggie touches, but it didn't excite me.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Yai thai in Hollywood. Location is great ,right off freeway. But low quality chicken and seafood ruin the dishes for me. Nad Pob is so far and away the better choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. The first time I went to Bottlerock it broke my heart. I went back, and it was dang good. The wait staff needs to learn more about beer, but the service was wonderful, and the beer lovely!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Cut in Beverly Hills

                                                                                                                                                                                      Very disappointed in my dry-aged ribeye a couple months ago, and at their prices it really is unforgivable. On the thin side and not particularly flavorful or tender

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. just got home fro my first long awaited dinner at hatfield's. certainly not heart broken, but disappointed. the amuse' of pea soup and trout mousse on a quail egg were wonderful as were the entrees. the two salads were ok. but the value was not there. $125 before tip and without wine or dessert, in a minimal and rather bland room doesn't add up for me. the lamb chops and beef rib were delicious, but if we would have had wine and dessert we would have been at $200 easily. at most of the popular steakhouses, and places from la cachette to jiraffe to patina to campanille to chinois the overall experience provides value. disappointingly, hatfield's didn't do it for me tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jay 1

                                                                                                                                                                                          I hate to be a downer, but I feel the same way about Hatfield's. I wanted to love this place, it is close to my apt. and everyone I spoke to loved it. I was really really excited to try it out. The food was pretty decent, some things were great, others just so so. My girlfriend got the branzino and repeatedly said it was way too salty and was disinterested. Our waitress seemed angry at us all night after we told her we were going to "split" a starter before our main courses. She repeated "split" two times like we were committing a crime. Didn't think it would be an issue considering we ordered 4 glasses of wine that evening and dessert. The panna cotta was a little larger than the size of a quarter I felt like. I dunno, maybe it deserves another shot, but it isnt cheap, the ambiance was a little stuffy, and our waitress seemed like she might need a vacation.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jay 1

                                                                                                                                                                                            Having eaten at Hatfield's three days before your posting, and eating similarly, our food was very good, prices were not as high as you mention, yet not too far below either, yet prices in all restaurants have really risen in recent months due to the high gas prices just to get the food to the restaurant of choice, much less the increases in the cost of product. If you walked down the street to Grace or BLD, across the street to Angelini, or similar in that neighborhood, you would still find Hatfield's was a better value, plainness of room notwithstanding.
                                                                                                                                                                                            ps - I like the patio along the east side, which makes you feel like you are in a different world, and thus the whiteness is no big problem because there is very little of it, and it allows you to focus on your companions and conversation and not the look of the place.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: carter

                                                                                                                                                                                              Hatfield's has delicious food, but I consider any restaurant w/ entrees in the 30s & appetizers in mid-high teens to be an expensive, special occasion restaurant. I agree w/ you re: Grace, but by comparison, Angelini, which of course is very different cuisine, is a much better deal since one can drop in & have a pasta in the mid-teens as a main course, while their daily specials are often closer to $20 rather than in the 30s. Further, I think many of these expensive LA restaurants are going to have to start reconsidering their prices since they may face higher costs, but the consumer is hurting in this struggling economy which is only getting worse; at some point, there will only be expense account diners willing to pay these absurd prices on a regular basis (but maybe that's enough to keep them in business). I think adjustments will have to be made though!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Sushi Ike. love Ike and I love this place. Close to me and always very very good sushi. Then about two weeks ago we went on a Tuesday night and nabbed a spot right in front of the man himself. While not frequent regulars, Ike did recognize us and we proceeded to have his omakase. With the exception of the Toro and the Uni, everything was average. It was the sushi I expect to have at Zip Fusion in downtown(aka stick to the rolls kind of place). I really didnt want to say anything bad about Sushi Ike but this post seemed appropriate. I wish Ike well and I hope this was a one time thing but I wont be returning - sushi is too expensive and the quality in LA to high to roll the dice on such a lackluster meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Anybody remembers Amuse Café in Venice?
                                                                                                                                                                                              According to CH it was sooo fabulous...
                                                                                                                                                                                              Then, the motto became "Just wait till they get their wine license."
                                                                                                                                                                                              Then they got the license, went belly up immediately after.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Tried a few times, always disappointing.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RicRios

                                                                                                                                                                                                But Brooke went on to Open Beechwood in MdR and found she could make more money selling Drinks to hipsters then closed Amuse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I still miss the St. Patrick's day Corned Beef Dinner @ Amuse

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Yes the Famous Father's Office $11 Burger, Wasn't as big as descibed by the chowboard, it was mearly "eh" dissapointing

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Thai Naikorn, rather than blowing my socks off as the CH reviews would have me believe, the Pad Thai & beef curry paled compared to virtually any joint in Thai Town, even the Elvis establishment, and even "weak Pasadena" gentrified Thai at the Saladangs. Cheap by OC standards perhaps if you happen to be in the area (does anyone realy frequent Stanton?) but certainly no great shakes IMHO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bernardo

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thai Nakorn's greatness does not lie in pad thai -- it's actually one of the weaker dishes on the menu. If you happen by again, pick from the "specials" menu on the first page -- the wild boar is outstanding; the green mango salad with crispy catfish bits is one of my favourites; the grilled fish with (ripe) mango sauce is excellent, the pork-stuffed squid are wonderful, and the clams with chile and basil are delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    And those of us who live near Stanton do frequent Stanton now and again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I am earmarking your reply just so I have my what 'to order' list when I try Thai Nakorn soon...thanks DU!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I'm sorry to put Jiraffe into this category. We live in San Diego so we only go once a year--but we've been going since they opened. We've always loved everything about it--the ambiance, service and creative food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    We were there six months ago and had service that I would rate on a 6.5 on a 1-10 scale. We were there again last Sat. and I would rate the service at 7.5 and the food also a 8. Now an 8 is pretty good except for the price and expectations we have for Jiraffe's. It wasn't that it didn't taste good. I just consistenly missed that something special that Jiraffe's used to do. It lacked imagination.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I guess we will be moving on the next time we're up in LA for a special meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Old Man

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Agree with JiRaffe. Had a great meal in 2003, went back in 2005 and it was just not the same. Good but not "wow, GREAT".

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jiraffe Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                                                      502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. You can see my post on Ketchup from the other day. Horrible staff attitude and average food at best. Definitely not worth your time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TwoGuys90068

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ketchup has never been a Chowhound favorite. Ketchup is just bad and bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: love2eat

                                                                                                                                                                                                          For the most part, I've thoroughly enjoyed the Chowhound raves, but I've been quite disappointed with Daikokuya and Santouka for ramen, the Bazaar by Jose Andres, Simon LA, the Griddle Cafe, Pink's, Shin Okinawa Izakaya, Porto's, Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles, and Zankou Chicken. I would go to Daikokuya and Santouka and Zankou again, but the others I'd rather pass forever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nomo_fan

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pink's I can absolutely understand, and Zankou is wildly inconsistent, but what on earth did you find objectionable about Porto's??

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't know about the other people who mention Porto's in this thread, Ubergeek, but here's what I find objectionable: (1) As a former Miami resident, I love the guava and cheese strudel, but the best part -- the flaky crust -- becomes mushy within hours, and, by the way, where's the filling? Compared to the more-than-ample apple filling in Brent's strudel, for example, there is none (and Brent's pastry, like all others, declines over time but with a "graceful degradation," as we say in my field). (2) The Danish pastries have a nice fruit filling, but the dough is heavy and dull, almost unpalatable. (3) The cinnamon roll appears to use the same dull dough. (4) The claimed tres leches has no discernible leches -- uno, dos, o tres! (That's meringue on top.) In the Miami Nica restaurants (and at many other places), you get a luscious piece of cake that a man dying of thirst would prefer to water. At Porto's, it was dry and uninteresting, like something you'd expect in a bus-station cafeteria.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've only been to the bakery a few times and haven't eaten at their cafe, so perhaps you can recommend other treats, but I haven't liked anything except that strudel and some of the fruit turnovers, and I wish they would use more filling in both. Back in the Eighties I loved to get a big dish of fresh Cuban cream cheese with guava preserves for dessert at the Spanish Park restaurant (now long gone) in Tampa. The combination is fabulous and meant to be, but you need more than the microdot in Porto's flaky strudel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sbritchky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I haven't found their pastries to be dry, but here are the things I crave from Porto's: the pain au chocolat (especially when hot), the papas rellenas, the pineapple-cheese danish (which is dry, but just scratches an itch I have), the fruit tarts, the carrot cake, and the coconut strudel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks. I'll try some of those next time around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: sbritchky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I sit between you and DU on Porto's. Like many, I find the guava & cheese strudel to be a hit. However, I find a lot of their items to be just ok. In general, the quality and balance of ingredients used in their goods seems to be average at best so the results are so-so in my eyes. But when you throw in the price quotient, Porto's is a good to great deal. I've only been on weekends - extreme quasi-controlled mayhem and the parking situation is left to the whim of chance. If we're in the general area, we'll take a shot at going. But in the end, I'm more than happy with what's available a lot closer to home. The next time we're around Glendale, I will make a point to hit Berolina instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Clementine (the service, the food, just about everything is so-so), Auntie Ems (food was beyond average as was the service), Campanille (living on fumes, don't get what the fuss is about), Susina Bakery (Urth is superior in every way), the Donut Man in Glendora (better off going to Randy's or Bobs)... I could go on but why bother.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: friedegg67

                                                                                                                                                                                                            In N Out. I have never understood the general fondness for In N Out on this board. Dull, stupid, boring burgers. Better than some other chains, but not demonstrably better than, say, Carls Jr. even. (For the record, I pretty much never eat any chain burgers, though I have sampled many of them.) Don't even get me started on the fries. Feh!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: friedegg67

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Even the great Donut Man will occasionally leave half-dead items on the trays after a slow business day and before the evening's new preparations. Few things are worse than a donut beyond its time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's why the first words out of my mouth at the window are always, "What's fresh?" I forgot to ask that crucial question at the drive-up window at Randy's a couple of months ago and got an apple fritter that I couldn't finish and a French cruller I wish I hadn't. I'll give them another try and hope that anyone who's had a bad donut at the Donut Man will do the same. (P.S. If you can manage it, the wee hours are the best time to hit DM. The lines are usually short by then, and many of their best donuts are very fresh.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sbritchky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Been dining in LA for many years so this is a really interesting string. These places weren't necessarily horrible but they certainly didn't live up to the hype.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ford's Filling Station
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Miss Peaches Southern Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Bear Pit BBQ (seriously, yikes!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                In N Out Burger

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Confession. I am a serial heartbreakee. If I counted all the times my heart - and palate - have been let down by Highly Touted Establishments, I would never leave my own kitchen. Among the perpetrators:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1) Patina (twice - call me a glutton for punishment)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              2) brunch at Jar (although I love their dinner)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              3) Valentino (pales in comparison to Mozza, Vincenti, among others)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              4) Square One (food poorly executed; service, indifferent)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              5) Oinkster (I so wanted to like this place!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: b. delish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hey, DasUbergeek, thank you very much for your replies on this thread and my post on La Espagnola. Here, the only two things that I have thoroughly enjoyed at Porto's have been the fruit tart and the potato balls. My friends go crazy for the tres leches, but I can't stand the sweetness of the cake and the meringue that they put on top. I would go to El Molino bakery in Hawthorne in a heartbeat over Porto's and pay about half the price. Ashamedly, I enjoyed the tres leches at Ciudad more than at Porto's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nomo_fan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You should try the tres leches at Vallarta Supermarkets (the one I used to go to is on Victory and Ethel in North Holl... er, Valley Glen). Blows Porto's STRAIGHT out of the water and it's $2 or less a slice. YUM. (Vallarta in general is a treasure trove of cheap, good food.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: b. delish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh man, I'm so with you on brunch at Jar and Valentino. My brunch at Jar might have been my biggest heartbreak of 08.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: b. delish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm just loving not being the only one! Square One just didn't do it for me. I'm a brunch junkie and the food was not very well executed and unexciting. Not to mention overpriced. And the fact that I couldn't get any side of fruit that wasn't a large full order bowl just made me sad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: b. delish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Re: Oinkster...I think their burgers are just OK. But, have you tried their pastrami sandwich and their fries?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Finally tried ZANKOU and other than their tasty hummus my chicken kebab plate was inedible. The chicken was full of pieces fat and too greasy (not in a good way). I was so bummed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ReelMike84

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Tarzana branch as serious problems. I won't eat there, as it's not up to what I consider to be Zankou standards.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: bruinike

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          you need to try the chicken tarna plate

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Twice, on trips to Alhambra, I've detoured to Fosselman's. OK, but -- to me -- nothing worth driving any further than the nearest store that sells Ben & Jerry's -- unless you have a real hankerin' for one of the flavors (I had blueberry last week; pretty good, but I'm sure glad I hadn't driven all the way from Hollywood for it).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          On the other hand, if I lived a few blocks or fewer away and had lots of money to spend, I'd be in there several days a week, and will probably drop by next time I'm in the area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Muskrat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fosselman's is not my favorite in Southern California -- for that I go to Glacier in Manhattan Beach and McConnell's in Santa Barbara (new location opening in Ventura) -- but I have to disagree with Muskrat, because I like many of their ice creams. My favorite order there is a shake with two scoops of cookies and cream and one scoop of espresso. Rich, creamy, and straw-clogging crunchy all at once. Someday I'm going to order two of those shakes -- the one just described and the other with the scoop count reversed!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Not exactly a broken heart, but dissapointment. After hearing many raves for it, went to Walters in Claremont on Saturday. I'd only been there once before, for breakfast, over 20 years ago. Saturday was for dinner. After waiting 20 minutes for someone to take our order, a waitress from another table took pity on us and took our order for a Queema kabob, chicken kabon, and lemon chicken. After not getting a salad...which the menu said it came with...our dinner arrived 40 minutes after we sat down. No silverware. Another 5 minutes before silverware was provided.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Except for the lemon chicken, the kabobs were terribly bland. Not to mention pretty overpriced since I can get much better at any mediocre Mediterranean restaurant nearby for half the price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The best line of the night, from my son as we left:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            son: "anybody have an eraser?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            me: "No, why?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            son: "So we can erase that one from the list."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: heckonwheels

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah, I was also let down by Walters... very 'ordinary'...


                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Tend to forget the dining misfires but here are a few minor letdowns after hearing them praised so often:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yucca - average
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Kyochon - dry,hard coating and lots of MSG on both styles of chicken

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And for those who remember, the place whose popularity really baffled me was The Authentic Cafe,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dineomatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                oh i loved authentic cafe. mostly because of the one winning dish. the brie papaya quesadilla.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Providence!! I can't believe how popular it is here on Chow. I went there based on the strength of the reviews here. I found the food bland to mediocre. $500 for the four of us, and nobody was truly impressed. Wine list was excellent, and the service was great... but the food was generally bland and unappetizing. We did enjoy the amuse bouche, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: toridori

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Went once to Providence, and had exactly the same impression - what is all the fuss about. Decor (I mean, tuck n roll - really) is very off-putting, service fine, food boring, wine list fine enough yet went with someone who did not drink, so I could only get wine by the glass and the selection was marginal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: carter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Agreed! I had dinner the next night at Factor's Deli and had a far better experience for less than a tenth of the price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Granville Cafe at the Americana... wilted food, poor tasting and ill-prepared food, terrible service (if any service at all), and lackluster menu. Haven't been back since but am hoping it has improved because it still survives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mrshankly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It hasn't. It could be so great if they would just edit JUST a little bit. Bleu cheese in an otherwise outstanding ribeye stew: FAIL. Chipotle on chicken breast sandwiches: FAIL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You nailed my sentiments exactly!! So much potential that's unrealized. A few tweaks here and there and I could be a regular there. Maybe they need to bring a real culinary expert in there to kick things up a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mrshankly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It drives me insane, because it could be a shining light in a dismal city (chow-wise). I expounded at length about it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/483706

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I don't get the Mo Chica hype.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Vito's Pizzeria was mediocre at best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I used to really like the Arroyo Chophouse. I found it compared favorably to Mastro's and Ruth Chris. Great for if you're in the Pasadena area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Recently spouse and I each had their bone-in Ribeye and there was so much gristle, I was disgusted. I haven't been back and can never refer them again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ogawak

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Palate... hands down one of the worst dining experiences I've had in LA, and that's saying something! Undercooked, bitter eggplant; gristly "Dry-aged" steak (that my friend actually spit into her napkin); overpriced wine list; shady service ("let me offer you a glass of wine to make up for that" only to discover it listed on the bill at $18); and the worst part of all... I left hungry! I actually came home and ate cheese and crackers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bottega Louie.. great first 2 experiences, horrific 3rd visit. Terrible service - and when I say terrible, I mean the painful kind where everyone in your party asks, "Did he really just say/do that?" The host, William, was so snarky and unbelievably rude... he should never be allowed to have contact with the public again. We waited 1 1/2 hours for a table, our server had no idea how to properly serve wine (which she forgot to order, twice), there was no bread on the table (no bread to be found anywhere in the restaurant, which is curious, because aren't they a bakery as well?). And the food, when it finally arrived was underwhelming at best and burnt to a crisp (pizza to be sent back, after waiting 45 minutes for it) at worst. This experience really did break my heart, because I honestly loved BL the first couple of times I went, had wonderful experiences and recommended it to anyone who asked about it, and now wonder if I'll ever go back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: wendysland

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Adding a few of my disappointments:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Santouka - Just tried due to raves on CH. The worst ramen I ever ate.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In n Out - Way overrated and the worst fries using fresh potatoes I ever had.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Clemetine - Used to like their food (not the desserts) but the service, or lack thereof, stopped me in my tracks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mopeyboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dude, nobody likes I-N-O's fries. It's the official "but" of the I-N-O thing. "I really like their burgers, but..."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What did you get at Santouka? And which Santouka?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I actually like their fries well-done or animal style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I know lots of folks who love those fries. OK, they also love McDonalds, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Santouka on Centinela. Shoyu Ramen. Greasy. Off-flavor. Pork(?) that looked like raw bacon. Just terrible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Years ago, used to go to Ramenya on Olympic and Asahi on Sawtelle. Both were much better but don't know about now. Seemed like Ramenya could only keep an A rating for a few months, then would get a B or C. Not my kind of place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mopeyboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    that was pork belly. it's what bacon is made from.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mopeyboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You think Asahi is better than Santouka?! Also, I don't know anyone who "loves" In 'n Out fries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't love In N Out fries per say, but I do highly enjoy them well done or animal-style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I like I-N-O's fries. I guess I'm nobody.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In-N-Out Burger
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      13502 Virginia Ave, Baldwin Park, CA 91706

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: wendysland

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    maybe i was actually lucky that my lousy bottega louis experience occurred on my first visit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. BLD.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Been several times for brunch/lunch, w/ no disappointments. Went in for an early dinner the other day just to get a sandwich or burger. Burgers $15-18, steak sandwich $20. I really couldn't believe my eyes, but ok, I got the burger (beef, medium).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Arrived. Little. On dry brioche that had been on the grill too long (I guess). Medium-well at best (no pink). The annoying thing was the meat - I guess they add herbs and spices before cooking, like meatloaf, which looked/tasted suspiciously like the herb/salt mixture they put on the fries, and imparted this adulterated flavor. At $15 I was expecting a mind-blowing burger, or at least a memorably good one that tasted like ground beef. This, and the $3 coke just made me sad. We were the only ones in there. I'll stick to brunch!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Just went to Casa Bianca for the first time tonight and to say we were underwhelmed would be the understatement of the century. We tried two different pizzas and there was literally no redeeming value to either one of them ... how this place is a board favorite I will never understand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tried the Fair Oaks Pharmacy afterwards in hope of something redemptive to the evening, only to be woefully unimpressed by their egg cream (one of the worst I've had), Cherry Ricky (tasted like cough syrup), and brownie sundae (really, YELLOW vanilla ice cream?!?).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sigh ... just an all-around loss of a night, in terms of food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: a213b

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I try to justify Casa Bianca by calling it really good frozen pizza- like when you have a hankering for that old frozen pizza you had as a kid (or that I had as a kid at least), but you want to drive really far and wait really long for it, then Casa Bianca is hands down the way to go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hyacinthgirl


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You made me actually laugh out loud and startle people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            hyacinthgirl -
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just ran across your post while looking for something else.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have found the fix to that craving for the frozen pizza from your childhood (if it was near the 70's).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Don't BLAST me (because I would blast me) until you try it - then blast away if I am not right on this.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I cringe with embarrassment as I write it . . .
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Gulp; it is the 99 cent Banquet Pepperoni Pizza Meal in the red box, found in any chain grocer's freezer.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The pizza is "pop-tart-ish" in size; and the pepperoni nibs are the size of a pea and sprinkled on top. It is accompanied by chocolate pudding; and it comes out warm!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I cook it longer than it states so the edges are crusty.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It really fulfills some bizarre childhood frozen pizza need I have.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            When the need for childhood delivery pizza arises; I make a drive to Barro's Pizza on Golden Springs in Walnut (usually on the way to the VanBuren Drive-In in the summer; where I am whisked back in time - dragging as many with me as I can convert to the old ways)!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In a world where NOTHING is like it used to be . . . Barro's Pizza is - exactly as it's always been. I still love it; and with the new FM Tuning and NO clipping onto ANYTHING; the Drive-in is actually better!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now, if I could just find a Naugles. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Doughboys Part 2... the newly opened cafe is far from the quality and taste of the old Doughboys. I hope they pick up their game soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mrshankly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Having a tough time tolerating Clementine these days. I do love the food. The service, never good, has devolved to nearly non-existent. I recently ordered the 1/2 sandwich, cup of soup combo. (there are 2 fresh daily soups). I ordered the lentil soup and tuna melt. When they arrived, the server brought the wrong soup and the tuna melt was cold, I actually tasted the other soup and it was also cold. Clearly, my order had been sitting around for several minutes waiting for it to be picked up. This has happened several times over the last couple of months, but this is the first time I have vowed not to return. Also, as folks are shifting from one foot to another waiting for a table to clear, or at least a clean table, there are several dirty tables crying for attention. Some customers sit down at these dirty tables. No me. I don't want to hang out looking at someone else's leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Mastro's. three meals there, all disappointing. i'll never understand why that place gets so much love.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Haven't been to Mastro's in 3 years. When they were new, they were great. Last time I went, I could tell they were taking the train to Craptown. Still get a great steak and sides at the Palm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mopeyboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                my experiences were in '02, '04, and '07 - as far as i'm concerned, they didn't need to take a train to get to Craptown, the place was already there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Had a terrible experience at Surfas yesterday. I posted separately about it (April 18, on L.A. board), so no need to repeat all that. Got lots of interesting responses. To sum up: I've been a 20-year customer, but their new policy lost me forever. (Well, until the new policy is reversed.)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: santamonica811

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To facilitate reference, I'm taking the liberty to add a link to your post :


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. There's a Thai Place on 1st Avenue that is decent in Arcadia below Huntington Drive just before Duarte Rd. Try anything with their divine curry sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thai Place
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5111 Ball Rd, Cypress, CA 90630

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: craig517

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Are you talking about Spices Thai Kitchen? If that's not it please return with the name if you happen to catch it (or the address). Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Spices Thai Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    402 S 1st Ave, Arcadia, CA 91006

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Suchi Shibucho in Costa Mesa..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Over the years, the quality and the freshness of the fish has decreased significantly. I'm assuming this decline has to do with the younger sushi chef (the son of the owner) working increasing hours at the sushi bar..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I understand that a restaurant can have bad service nights.. even Jordan had off-nights. But, his son consistently serving lower quality of fish is forcing me to not eat at Sushi Shibucho again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sushi Shibucho
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    590 W 19th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627