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May 7, 2009 12:41 AM

Golden State - 3 strikes and out

After three attempts to enjoy something at Golden State, I'm over it. I live very close and was really hoping it would be good or at least decent, but no. They may have good beer and scoops ice cream, but neither redeems the mediocrity they deliver food wise.
First visit I didn't bother ordering because there were no available seats and the place was crawling with loud rambunctious children. Second visit I had the burger and fries. Small disappointing burger, not cooked as ordered, crumbly bun, under cooked fries and bad curry catsup. Today I tried the hot dogs. Like the previous visits, the room is way too loud and again, kids running around unchecked.
Terrible parents.
I ordered the spicy frank with kraut and grilled onions with a cucumber salad and the italian with peppers and onions with a cabbage slaw. They arrived and the first thing I noticed was how small the buns are, the franks are small and the toppings are small. The sides are big. The spicy frank was totally dry, over cooked, hard on the ends. The italian had no fennel/anise/garlic flavor or any other flavor that you'd expect from a sausage called italian. it seemed more like a bad veggy concoction. It too was dry and over cooked. I tried the "hot" mustard, expecting something like colemans, but no more heat than Frenches. The cucumber salad was lame. tasted like it was dressed with only oil. no seasoning, no acidity, bland. The slaw was very under dressed, dry, under seasoned and tasted more of bell pepper, or something. just bad. The two bad hotdogs were $15 plus tax. The guy at the counter asked me how everything was. I told him it was very disappointing and I told him why. He was very nice and apologetic and asked if there was any way he could make it up to me. I said no. I already ate the food so I wouldn't think of asking for a refund and since six out of six items I tried off their menu were very poor, I saw no point in asking for something else since the kitchen and I clearly have different ideas about what is acceptable for good food. I wont be back.

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  1. It seems as if much of your objection is the ambiance. I agree with you that it really diminishes the experience when there are oblivious or over-indulgent parents around, but I can't really hold that against Golden State. I also agree that Golden State suffers from the prevailing design philosophy that "noisy" => "buzzy" => "popularity". I really wish more place didn't subscribe to this idea, and there are places I avoid because the volume just wears you out (Animal, Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya, Mozza). However, I've been very happy with everything I've had at Golden State. I haven't had the burger yet, but their muffuletta and BLT were outstanding on our visits, and the beer selection is great. Also, I liked the Persian cucumber salad. It doesn't hit you over the head with look-at-me-pay-attention-to-me! seasoning, but I can live without that.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Peripatetic

      "It seems as if much of your objection is the ambiance."

      I read r&y's review as more about his dissatisfaction with the food than the Excedrin headache inducing scene he describes. He obviously knows that if he were to go in at a later hour most of the "ambiance" problems would probably be at home in bed, while the food he found fault with would be the same. So when he says "I won't be back" I see that as much more about the food than any other issues.

      1. re: Servorg

        Agreed, SO. It was a thoughtfully written review of some terrible food. Guess I'm glad to scratch one restaurant off of my "Must Try" list.

        1. re: Phurstluv

          As many others, including myself, have really enjoyed the food, I think it would be unfortunate to dismiss the place on r&y's review alone, but do what you will. I was there on monday night and had the veggie sandwich and it was great (including the delicious breadbar ciabiatta) and i really enjoyed the persian cucumber salad. Really, though, this place is about really solid food accompanying their outstanding beer.

        2. re: Servorg

          right. had the food been good, I would have either dealt with the ambience, or gone back at another hour.

      2. i went there once and tried their vegetarian sandwich. it was good, but nothing special. the sweet potato wedges were also OK, nothing special. this place is close to me as well, and i wish i loved it but i don't. i'll be back for scoops to go. $2 a scoop is expensive compared to what Scoops charges when you order in the store, but it saves me the drive so i guess it's worth it.

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. I don't think of this place as a food destination per se. More like a place to stop by for a really great beer and watch the game or a quick bite. The burger was very good when I went, cooked to order medium rare and the bun did not fall apart. It wasn't unique like an FO burger but was good. The curry ketchup is one of those "hate it or love it kind" of things. And the old rasputin with brown bread scoops is reason enough to come here. There's no where else you can get that. The atmosphere for me has been laid back without an ounce of pretention. I think if you come in expecting really great food you'll be disappointed, but if you just want a great beer and something to snack on, you'll be well pleased. You can always go to animal across the street for the food.

            2 Replies
              1. Seems like Jonathan Gold loves the Golden State rates the burger among the best in LA......hmmmmmmmmmmmm


                4 Replies
                1. re: ronnie_gaucho

                  crap now it's gonna be packed every day

                  1. re: ronnie_gaucho

                    yeah, i was considering writing a thoughtful riposte to rednyellow, since i do understand what he wrote, but i just don't agree with any of it, but i think mr. gold took the words right out of my mouth.

                    for the record: the burger bun is not crumbly (it's from rockenwagner), the curry ketchup is bananas good, the hotdog bun is of normal size. and if you peep the other golden state thread, the cucumber salad gets raves--and yeah, it's delicious and refreshing, esp. now that it's hot.

                    but if peeps don't wanna show, so much the better, it'll be easier for me to grab a seat.

                    1. re: scuzm

                      Mr. Gold may like Golden State. I don't. My tastes frequently don't mirror his opinions, which are just that. Mr. Gold raved about the burger at Comme Ca, which I found to be bland and drenched in mayo and considering the price, the worst in L.A.
                      6 out of 6 items I tried at Golden State were poor. The bun my incorrectly cooked burger was served on was indeed crumbly and fell apart in my hands. I fail to see how being from rockenwagner somehow makes the bun crumble proof. Maybe the bun served to me was not fresh, poorly toasted? There are a number or reasons why it could be bad. The point is, it was bad. The bun was crumbly, fell apart and the burger as a whole was very poor. Their curry ketchup was the lamest I've had, flat, no tang.

                      1. re: rednyellow

                        For what it's worth, I think Rockewagner is overrated and I wouldn't be surprised if they put out an inferior bun.

                        And I agree about Comme Ca's burger, although I agree with Mr. Gold 90% of the time.