places with cheap corkage and decent food?
which part of LA? if venice works for you, go to Mao's Kitchen for chinese-inspired california food. corkage is free. this is a neighborhood place that doesn't take reservations, no tablecloths, wooden chairs and benches, etc.
i believe they also have a place on melrose, but i'm not sure about the corkage policy there.
thanks! got another question! what is the proper way to BYOW? i read online that bringing your own bottle requires some ettiquite. one thing they mention is dont bring a cheap bottle.
so, i dont want to look like a fool and bring a $20 bottle of wine to a restuarant.
what is the proper price range in order to not look like a fool when you ask the staff to open that bottle of wine?
You won't look like a fool no matter what.
The real issue here is
a) restaurant restrictions and/or limitations,
b) your taste, and
c) the added value involved.
a) restaurant usually specify certain pre-conditions, such as:
no BYOB if on their list;
BYOB on certain days of the week only;
certain number of bottles per party;
Better call and ask if you want to play it safe.
b) If a) above is clear, then comes your taste, which is the main thing.
If you like it, you bring it. If staff don't, that's their problem.
c) If you are adding $20 to the cost of a, say, $2.00 bottle, your corkage fee is way out of proportion. Is like paying $20.00 shipping for a $2.00 item. But again, if b) above is main concern, then c) should be something you can live with.
I've been eating at Frito Misto in Santa Monica, inexpensive, family friendly, 3 dollar corkage and a lot of people bring wine. The arugula gorganzola salad is very good, and I've been enjoying the whole wheat pasta with pesto and broccoli (you create that combo if you desire, not the wine-friendliest, but goes good with a Gruner Vertliner I just discovered)
Most L.A. area restaurants have corkage are $20 and under. Only really high end places, with serious wine programs have $20+ corkage, and even there, some have corkage free nights (e.g., Mondays at Providence). There are tons of places that have no corkage, for example, all of the Pinots branches. And even many places that don't advertise as being wine places and have no liquor license will let you BYOB if you ask, as it's completely legal and no skin off their respective necks.
Re: etiquette, as RicRios suggests, always good to call ahead, as some places have specific policies (e.g., can't bring wines they have on their list). You also get a feel for their attitude about corkage; do they welcome it or are their tight about it? And it depends on the level of the place. A cheap but good Thai place near me has no corkage and doesn't care what I bring because they don't know wine. But yes, if you take Charles Shaw to Melisse, it wouldn't look good. Just use common sense and take a level of wine appropriate to the level of restaurant. If you're BYOBing at a hole in the wall pizza place, an $8 Chianti would fit the bill. But if you're going to a high end place that has a great wine program, that same wine might not look good.
There's another underlying issue, which is that some places welcome corkage whereas others tolerate it but aren't happy about it and might give you a bit of attitude. I can understand the latter point of view, it would seem tacky to bring your own food to a restaurant, so why is wine OK when that restaurant may have worked hard on their wine program? But I really appreciate the places that welcome wine lovers who want to pull something good from their own stash, so those are the places I tend to go.
But in general, corkage is allowed at most places and even at good restaurants it's often $20 or under and in some cases $0. The key is to be respective and appreciative about it. If some place has $0 corkage but welcomes me and provide some wine service, I tip accordingly.
re: Robert Thornton
"And even many places that don't advertise as being wine places and have no liquor license will let you BYOB if you ask, as it's completely legal and no skin off their respective necks."
This isn't actually true, just mostly overlooked. See:
Excellent food and no corkage at:
429 W 8th Street (couple of doors East of Olive)
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 622-5950 for reservations or local deliveries
Lunch - Mon – Fri 11AM-3PM
Dinner - Thursday, 6PM-9PM; Friday and Saturday, 6PM-10PM
link to another thread called:
Listing of corkage free places in LA