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Jul 9, 2008 10:24 AM

Casual work dinner/interview downtown?

Hi guys,

My potential new boss is in LA and I have my second interview tonight for a job I really, really want. I need a restaurant downtown (that is where he is staying) that is mid-price range and just really cool, casual and laid back. Don't worry about drinks-- just food.

I was thinking the Wood Spoon, because I'd read some stuff about that on here. And the Tiara Cafe? What other suggestions do you guys have for me?

He is staying at the Wilshire Grand specifically, which is 7th and Figueroa. It would be great if we could walk or take the subway, but not a requirement. Thanks!

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    1. re: russkar

      Roy's is definitely a good choice, so is Zucca right across the street.

      Don't go to Wood Spoon or Tiara Cafe, both are a bit too casual to impress a potential new boss.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        I just realized that my interviewer is from Hawaii! So while I've always wanted to go to Roy's and I think it would be the perfect choice... I am hesitant to take a real Hawaiian there. Unless you guys completely disagree?

        1. re: Lmo1823

          Hmm, good point.

          Maybe you want to play it safe and try Zucca, which is about 3 blocks south of the hotel where he's staying at.

          If you don't mind driving a bit, try Chichen Itza on 6th Street, which is Yucatan/Mexican. It shouldn't be very busy, or crowded on a weeknight, so it should make for a nice leisurely dinner. They have valet parking at night.

          1. re: Lmo1823

            What could be better? Roy's originated in Oahu (Hawaii Kai). It's probably one of the best choices for the area. I'll be at Morton's tonight just down the street, if your interviewer is into Steak it's always a good choice.

            1. re: russkar


              I think the concern the OP has would be something like taking a Los Angeles native to a California Pizza Kitchen in NYC. It would just be a bit dicey ...

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Actually I see a lot of Locals in several of the Roy's all over the Islands. I'm not sure there really is very much to offer in Downtown but I get your point.

                1. re: russkar

                  I was wondering if anyone's been to that Roy's recently, because a friend of mine seems to think that all their good people must be getting the new Pasadena location ready to go, because the downtown location has slipped a lot recently, in terms of both food and service.
                  Whenever I hear comparison of Roy's in HI to the ones on the mainland, it's always that the HI Roy's are far superior. So from that perspective, could be a let down for someone from HI?

                  1. re: slacker

                    We go to the Downtown location 1or2 times a month and nothing has changed and most of the same management is in place. New food items are the Tempura Rock Shrimp and Salmon Tartar. Reg favorite is still the Seared Ahi and Halehakala Roll covered in Kobe. The Hi locations actually aren't that great except the Hawaii Kai which is better than everywhere else. The hottest Roy's at present is the new one in San Diego on the Water, packed.

                    1. re: slacker

                      We went to the downtown LA Roy's last night. Very good, as always. We both had the $35 prix fixe, (wife had shumai with mushrooms, bacon wrapped shimp and fried rice with a fried egg and the strawberry shortcake and I had the rare ahi appetizer, braised short ribs and the souffle lava cake). We also shared an order of the lobster pot stickers. Two before dinner drinks and I had a glass of cabernet. Service was professional and excellent. Ice water refilled on a regular and timely basis. They honored my request for a big booth, (of which they only have 3 I think and considering it was only the two of us was really very considerate of them) which looked out on the open kitchen and the waitress took my valet ticket and asked me if we wanted our car brought out so it would be waiting for us when we left - which it was. Highlights were the short ribs - cooked to a custardy intensely rich meaty goodness and my wife's fried rice with fried egg was wonderful and my ahi appetizer was great, if a little on the small side. The lava souffle and my wine were excellent. Out the door for $125 plus tip.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        thanks for your responses, Russ and Servog. Perhaps my friend went on an off day or two. Interesting to know about the Hi locations.

                        sounds like this is the best pick for dinner with the potential boss.

        2. Engine Co. No. 28 is across from that hotel, nice casual plus historic bldg, but can't vouch for the food anymore as I haven't been there in a long long time.

          1. Roy Yamaguchi is quite the Hawaiian dynamo. I've been to his restaurant in Maui and here several times. I highly suggest it. Just don't pump it up as a Hawaiian place... it isn't. It's kind of a Japanese-Hawaiian-Fusion. Beautiful flavors, great colors, and unique ingredients. A great suggestion by all these folks that I have to agree with.

            1. When I was working downtown, my wife and I had Philharmonic tix for a Friday evening. She met me at the office and we went to Roy's for dinner down the block from the office -- primarily, though we like Roy's fine, because I had called and found that they offered free shuttle service up to the godawful Disney Hall (don't get me started).

              Anyhow, toward the end of dinner we told the waiter we would need the shuttle in 15 minutes. When we walked out the door it was waiting for us. I was of course expecting something along the lines of a 9-passenger courtesy van. But noooooo -- a stretch limo, just us and the driver. And after the concert we called the driver and he showed up at the godawful Disney Hall (PLEASE don't get me started!) in about 5 minutes, and drove us both down to our respective cars. And yes, it was courtesy of Roy's -- a terrific service, I thought. (I also tipped the driver -- how could I not?)

              Oh, the HALL in the godawful Disney Hall is fine. But the outside looks as if somebody crumpled up a mass of metal and threw it down on the corner. Mark my words: 20 years from now, probably sooner, folks are going to look at that place and say, "What were we THINKING???" Frank Gehry has managed to pull the wool over far too many eyes. IMHO. FWIW.