Went this weekend before a show at the Avalon. It's definitely hard to see, but it's a gorgeous space - really high ceilings, a cleverly created indoor/outdoor patio, giant loteria cards. They definitely didn't have the whole bar thing going yet, although they did have a tasty tamarin martini? Our service was good - not terrible, but not fantastic, and the kitchen pacing was a bit off (of our group of five, my plate came a good 5-10 minutes after the others).
Food, as has been already mentioned, is basically the same as the farmers market (down to the colorful papers under the tacos), with a few additions... The crispy cheese appetizer is fantastic - basically a huge round of cheese griddled until it's crispy, served with tortillas and guac. They have a new chipotle salsa that we really liked with the cheese, too. And the sit-down setting made me more comfortable ordering chile rellenos, which I've been curious about at the market. The platter includes two different kinds - one dried, one fresh and battered. They were tasty if not fantastic, but I was happy to satisfy my curiosity. They also had a "lime ice cream" that was more like sherbet than anything else, which half of our group thought tasted like lime, half thought apple. Not bad, but not ice cream.
It was pretty quiet when we got there around 6 on Saturday, but filled up pretty well by the time we left. I hope they do well and work through the service issues.
Had a great lunch there yesterday...well, partly great, anyway...
Have loved the Farmer's Market location for a long time, and took mom in for the sit-down version of Loteria.
Empty dining room...literally, only Mom and me at 11:30am...server was quick to approach the table and offer drinks. Aguas frescas all around, please!
We also ordered the queso fundido with mushrooms to get us going. Drinks came soon, fundido soon after. We ordered two dishes: Mom had 3 sopes with one of the chicken preparations, and I ordered the burrito with habenero pork. Not three minutes after we'd ordered it, the server brough the dishes to the table. We had each only taken a bite of the appetizer, and I guess that's a riskj you run when the kitchen is waiting for something, ANYTHING to do. But it also seems like the server should have thought about this, especially with no one else in the room.
That said, burrito was super tasty. The sopes seemed a little stale, but the filling was great.
The room is clean, open, and really welcoming. There is no sign on the door, so we drove by it twice before seeing the entrance. But the server and host were very friendly, and the food was just as good as it should have been (except maybe the sopes).
Looking forward to going back in a couple of weeks when some of the hiccups have been ironed out.
I went last night with a large group (there were 13 of us). The food is as great as the Farmer's Market stall, but the service left something to be desired. The restaurant's big advance from the stall at the Farmer's Market is the tequila, yet there was no list of tequilas, nor was there even a drink menu. Even if the restaurant just opened, surely someone can open Microsoft Word, type the list, and hit print, no? This led to some annoying confusion about the price of a bottle versus individual shots for the table. We inquired about the price of a bottle and were met with blank stares. We were told shots were $12, but the whole bottle was $200, even though there were about 12 shots in a bottle (their shot glasses are slightly larger). When we crunched the numbers for the manager, he changed the price of the shot from $12 to $15 so that it more closely matched the price of the bottle. I know restaurants make a lot of money on booze, but $200 is a bit ridiculous for a bottle I can buy for $50. But never mind the price, the shady manager is a bigger problem.
We had another problem when we were paying the bill, which I admit we complicated with various credit cards and cash. We did the math and gave the server the money and cards, and he returned 10 minutes later to inform us we owed another $11. We had to take out the calculator and show him we paid him correctly for him to believe us.
Good thing the food is good, right?
Bottom line: I like their food too much not to return, but they clearly have some work to do to elevate their service. This ought to be a great place.
Did you make a reservation for your party? If the large party is a walk-in then it really throws things off.
I've been working in the restaurant's for many years now. Large parties are very difficult to serve (especially in Los Angeles). Each person is doing there own thing, and 50% of the them are very self-absorbed (Hollywood=70%) it rare to find a large that is well prepared (The group must have a good "Captain"). Large parties also make every other table in that servers section suffer, if not the whole restaurant.
I have never worked at a restaurant that offered "bottle service". That is something a Club will do. So I can only imagine why the manager seemed confused.
As for multiple payments you make the process extremely difficult. i don't understand why everyone in the group can't just pitch in a rounded up portion of what they owe and be done with-it.
If you need to pay separately then order separately. And remember if you are going to order separately you will most likely all get your food at separate times.
Please do not attempt to judge service based upon a large group. And with that being said if there is a large group of people you should expect below average service.
Maybe I have some pent up resentment from being an ex-server for so many years, But I find it very troubling when poor customers try to blame poor service.
I am not saying that Tookyt is a poor customer, but the large party she was with; is very much a party that clearly has some work to do to elevate thier service. I hope your party left a 20% tip for causing so much chaos.
re: 420 Reasons to eat
We did have a reservation and the restaurant was not slammed. I disagree with the idea that I should expect below average service because of a large group. I also am sorry that your negative experiences as a server have so drastically colored your view on my group and on restaurant service overall. The majority of the group were out of town visitors here to celebrate my brother's wedding. They are not "Hollywood," nor are they self-absorbed.
I should add that our food arrived quickly, as did the drinks. The restaurant was by no means a disaster, and in no way did I want to leave the impression that it was a horrible, awful, no-damn-good experience. They do have some kinks to work out in terms of service. Judging by the other comments here, this does not seem limited to large groups.
As I posted on another thread, the menu is too similar for me to take a drive up to Hollywood since the grove is walking distance for me. I'm not a big drinker either so I'll just walk to the stand to get my regular tacos. I didn't like their conchita pibil, too dry but others were good.
I ate there last Sunday, pre-Pantages. I had the "Probaditas" platter, and a pineapple agua fresca. The "Probaditas" is a plate with 12 very tiny (about 1.5" in diameter) soft tacos, one of each of the varieties they serve in the larger version. It was quite good, but I wish they'd included some sort of guide so that one would know which was which. Perhaps I should've kept the menu to refer to while eating. The agua fresca was almost flavorless-- I would've been hard-pressed to identify it as pineapple. The service was very erratic. I was seated for around 10 minutes before anyone acknowledged my presence, and then only to bring me chips and salsa-- no one asked about a drink order. I think I dealt with four different people until I ordered my food, then it was the same server for the remainder of the meal.