Howard Hughes Promenade
I already searched around Chowhound for my question, but didn't find anything that would specifically address it, so here goes:
For all the eateries WITHIN the Howard Hughes Promenade, can you offer your opinion? I do understand that, overall, there isn't anything wildly spectacular, and I've read some people write that there is NOTHING worth paying for at all, and the best choice would be to go somewhere else nearby.
But my parameters are inside the Promenade, and I would like to know a general ranking of what exists there -- so it's more a request for a relative comparison of all the eateries -- perhaps warnings on what to avoid, if those ideas come more easily to mind than what to actually recommend.
Thank you so much in advance!
P.S. By the way, I tried googling the heck out of that place in The Bridge Cinema de Lux -- the 12 Lounge. Barely found squat, got mostly reviews of its sister place in Philadelphia. Has anyone eaten here? Is it just overpriced greasy goo hidden under the veneer of "I'm in a fancy movie theater so I must be gourmet"?
Well, I'm back from my outing. I took my parents. We saw The Dark Knight and then had lunch at Wild Thai. I went in knowing it wasn't going to be absolutely fantastic -- and lo and behold, it wasn't. I mean, that's right, it was not fantastic. It wasn't horrible either. But it was kinda expensive (as someone did already mention), and the portions were small.
I had the green curry fried rice with tofu. It was tasty, but not hot enough for me, and there was just so damn little of it! I am a fried rice glutton queen and they failed to satiate me!!
My mom got the Wild Thai noodles. They were flabby wide rice noodles in an orange-colored spicy sauce, with the option of seafood. Sorry I can't be more specific but I wasn't paying much attention. I did sample it and it was very nice and hot. But it was kind of one-dimensional -- it just had the spiciness going for it, and no texture or anything, just mushy mouthfuls of spicy goop.
My dad ordered a crab noodle dish. I didn't even try his; I'm not a fan of seafood and the noodles just looked really boring.
When we were walking back to the parking lot, we passed by Stefano's, with a bunch of people sitting outside eating their slices of pizza. My mom saw that and said "Oh wow, that would've been nice." And I have to admit the pizzas did look yummy in that fast foodish but fresh, hot, gooey-cheese-spilling-over-the-edge kind of way.
So I kind of regret going for sit-down restaurant over fast pizza joint. I just thought that my parents would have liked Wild Thai better. But now I know.
Of course I doubt we'll ever be back to the HH Promenade again. The IMAX did not impress me in the least, and that was the only reason we were there.
Finally, I wanted again to thank everybody who replied. In spite of my post-lunch feelings, your comments were extremely helpful, as the problem turned out more to be my erroneous perception of what would have pleased my parents the most (and no, asking them point-blank absolutely does not help, heheh).
Food at the Bridge isn't stellar, but you can't go wrong with a sausage from Jody Maroni's. Yucatan duck sausage is no longer ground-breaking in LA, but it's as good as it ever was. Rubio's is great as long as you stay away from the seafood/fish stuff, which is awful. Chicken tacos they do pretty well, and their salsa bar IMHO is the best of the fast-mex chains (Baja Fresh, La Salsa, etc.), especially the roasted hot red pepper stuff.
My family likes Island's; I can take it or leave it. Decent burgers and fries, pleasant tropical atmosphere, but certainly not worth waiting in line. We tried On The Border once when they first opened, and it was decent, but a subsequent visit was just awful and we haven't been back since.
I'd go to Maroni's more often, but the parking charge and inconvenience outweigh the benefits, sadly.
WOW, thank you, everybody, for such thorough and specific replies! This is exactly the kind of input I was hoping for! I will definitely keep every one of your comments in mind when I go to the Promenade this weekend with my parents!
Thank you, again, so much! It is deeply appreciated.
I've worked across the street for the past five years so sadly I'm a little too familiar with how much it lacks in the culinary department. Generally if I'm going to eat there it's one of 4 places:
Callendar's Grill: Better then the basic Callendar's. Your typical American grill fare with way too large portions.
Kubuki: Slightly better than average Sushi
Wild Thai: Average Thai
Truxton's: Avg lunch fare (sandwiches and salads). Like Tender Greens but not as good.
All of them are passable but not terribly great. Unlike Purple Fusion which lasted all of a month there and was hands down the worst meal I ever had. I avoid On the Border and Islands as much as possible. Star Chicken and the Pizza place aren't bad but should be much better. You should already know what you're getting at Rubio's, Subway and Johnny Rockets. I believe the Bridge only serves food on weekends so I've never tried it. Had very bad cocktails there once.
I know you said specificaly within the Promenade but all of a block away in the Spectrum Club is the Pure Energy cafe which I enjoy a great deal. There's zero atmosphere but the food is generally fresh and good and the staff is always friendly. It's been my lunch go to spot for the past few months.
I work at the end of it and I mainly bring my lunch... but sometimes need a bit of fresh air and it's my major lunch spot... Here are some suggestions...
The only thing to keep in mind with the 'lounge' is that they don't have a kitchen... more like a microwave... there... I said it... ;) As for the rest of the places to eat...
Tony Maroni's has an EXCELLENT grilled corn salad. Especially when you add Chicken or one of their sausages. I like their fries MUCH better than any of the other places (including islands) as well...
Islands now has sliders... that is all I will say... about that.
At Calenders I like the Rasberry Steak Salad, order the dressing on the side though...
At Star Chicken, STICK to their Roterisie, their cubed chicken (in the salads and wraps) is like saw dust! :P Plus they have a neat Garlic/Parsley Sauce that comes wiht the chicken. They also make a MEAN Baked Potato... One of my favorite treats...
Stephanos the Pizza place makes a MEAN Meatball sub...
At Wild Thai, I LOVE their Larb!
The last place I visited was Rubios since they recently fancied itself up. I wrote a post on the chains board specifically about their new "Gourmet Grilled Tacos"
They also offer a pretty darn decent Veggie Burrito on whole wheat tortilla...
I haven't tried Truxton's yet (Although I've eaten several times at their full serve and found it to be good, but conserative in flavor). It's a Tender Greens sorta concept which appeals to me actually... I plan to stop by tomorrow...
Everything else... Meh... you won't see me at Kabuki, On the Border, Johnny Rockets or SUBWAY.... ugh...
I am seeing Batman at the imax on sat there. I have had drinks at the bar in the movie theater before and those are delish. never eaten there but i assume the food is just run of the mill. Rubios and the pizza place are good fast food place. Islands is decent. On the border is horrendous. dont ever eat there. Walked out of there before the food got there last time. Sushi place is ok.
I've tried a few times to have dinner @ Howard Hughes before or after a movie, and I've been disappointed every time. That being said, If I had to eat there I'd go to Rubio's or On the Border (if you want more of a restaurant atmosphere.) Both are generic chain Mexican, but the latter has margaritas and they are both palatable. There's also Islands (which is fine if you like Islands) and Ben and Jerry's. I've never been to the place that's actually IN the theater. Don't go to the sushi place.
Haven't been to Howard Hughes in a year, but my favorite restaurant there is Wild Thai. It's a little more expensive than your average Thai place, but the food is pretty good. I like Ayara Thai in DT Westchester better, though. Otherwise I might go to On the Border or Islands. There is an upscale Marie Callendar restaurant as well.