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Finally good eats in HB

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25 Degrees just opened! Started with the tempura green and yellow beans (try it with the dill dip sauce!) The sweet potato fries are perfection, perfectly crisp with a chipotle sauce. Not a big burger eater, but I had the #1 turkey burger and it was insanely good. Nice pours of wine too. The decor is fantastic. Great to have a "foodie" place in HB. This is the real deal!

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  1. thanks for the tip. huntington beach is much closer to me than the roosevelt. hopefully the quality is the same.

    1. Just a warning in these recessionary times for those like me that have been enjoying tasty under-$5 to $7 burger-combo's at HB burger joints like TK's, Beach Burgers, Hot Off the Grill, Steve's Burgers, Woody's, etc: I just checked the menu prices for 25 Degrees and their burger runs $12, fries are $4, and shakes are $6-$8. I'm sure that it would be an upscale delicious eating experience, but with tax & tip a simple burger/fries/shake meal at 25 Degrees would cost you about $30!

      2 Replies
      1. re: HBfoodie

        While it is quite a sum for a burger, it's one heck of a big burger! It was almost dripping down my arm! I love TK as much as the next person, but I wouldn't take a date there. Heck, I won't even let my husband take me there. Izakaya Zero was far too expensive and a misfit for HB (god bless Abe), but 25 Degrees is a breath of fresh air. Given the gorgeous decor, open windows, and super creative menu, $30 seems like a bargin. It ain't Ruby's!

        1. re: HBfoodie

          I agree with tracicat. While I like TK Burger and would probably like some of the other places you mentioned, you can hardly compare a 5-6 oz patty with american cheese and a scoop of fries with a 25 Degrees burger.

          I haven't been to the HB location (I plan on checking it out next week), but the times I have been to the Hollywood location, I was presented a huge 9-10oz burger with gourmet artisanal cheese and a huge portion of fresh cut fries that were easily enough for two people to share. Also I don't remember the burgers costing $12. I just check the menu and they are actually $10.50.

          What drives me crazy is paying a premium for an inferior product in a nice location. Javiers in Crystal Cove is a good example. Look, I realize the cost to design and build that place was enormous and I love eating in a place with a nice ambiance, but please don't give me carnitas for $15 when the ones at El Toro Bravo are ten times better at four bucks. The problem is that I can't take my wife for a meal at El Toro Bravo because...well there is no seats and it is kinda gross in there.

          I will keep going to TK in Newport when I am looking to grab a good burger and don't mind the no a/c and sticky tables, but I am looking forward to seeing the HB 25 Degrees and hope it is as nice inside as the Hollywood location. If that is the case then I can take my wife out for the night in a cool spot and pay less then I would for a crummy meal at Javiers.

        2. Do the Goodells own that building, or did they sign a long term lease for that spot? Cause that's the same location where Red Pearl Kitchen was before it closed, and then Abe opened up Izakaya Zero there, then that closed and now we have 25 Degrees, another Goodell place. We'll see how long this place lasts, since non-bars with prices higher than wahoos and ruby's tend to have difficulty in surviving along Main St.

          4 Replies
          1. re: I got nothin

            25 Degrees isn't in too nice of a location in downtown HB being a block away from Pch/Main St. and with no view of the HB Pier or ocean (diners only have a view of the barren back walls across the street of the newly-opened Strand buildings). Johnny Rockets just opened up at a better location down the street at The Strand and it has ocean views.

            1. re: HBfoodie

              Let me clarify that I don't recommend Johnny Rockets----I've never ate at any of their locations because of the bad things that I have heard about their food. I simply mentioned that their new HB location is superior to where 25 Degrees just opened. I also just looked at the websites for the HB and Hollywood 25 Degrees and noticed that their top burgers are $10.50 compared to the $12 being charged at the Hollywood Roosevelt location (perhaps that is a tell-tale sign that the HB restaurant is in a lower-rent area).

              1. re: HBfoodie

                Got it HBfoodie. Thanks for the clarification.

                1. re: HBfoodie

                  I've been to Johnny Rockets. You're missing nothing. It's worth skipping.

            2. I'm going to agree with Tracicat, the area along Main St, where 25 Degrees is located, is a culinary wasteland. I can't think of a single good chow place. The best place is Wahoo's (yes, the chain, no I don't like them, the area is that bad).

              I was there last Sat. 25 Degrees will prove to be an interesting experiment. It's either going to take off, hopefully revolutionize that area, or it's going to flop badly. It's a nice space. The menu is a lot like the Counter or Father's Office. The burger is the main player. They do have a decent beer selection and an impressive cocktail selection. I daresay it's a gastropub?

              However, the vibe is very different. The setting reminded me of Cobras and Matadors, more formal that FO or the Counter. Definitely a place to "see and be seen" but more Hollywood than HB. It's a welcome change from the typical HB hipster-infested joint.

              Food was good, a bit pricey; I got bacon wrapped dates, two burgers, a beer and diet coke, the total bill (tax + tip) was $50.

              I wish them luck. Time will tell if HB is ready for a "foodie" place.

              14 Replies
              1. re: SmokeyDoke

                There's LaRocco's pizzeria right on PCH in the first block north of Main. There's Cucina Alessa, which I think deserves to be called a good chow place, on 6th and Main, and I actually like the beers at HB Beer Co. While Silvera's is no Mastro's, it's not bad either, and the Sugar Shack is certainly the place to be for breakfast.

                Further from the Main St. area (to the original poster's complain about "oh FINALLY some good eats in HB") there's Chronic Tacos, which have the most addictive potato tacos in all creation; there's Flight Bistro; Pizza D'Oro on Newland and Indianapolis has pretty decent pizza; John's Philly Grille on Beach and Ellis has very good cheesesteaks; Gyu-Kaku on Beach and Warner.
                Are any of these high-end places? No. But Newport Beach is just ten minutes away and they are choked with high-end places.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  What have you tried at Flight Bistro? I've only been there one time and tried some of their appetizers and found them to be very meh. Haven't been inspired to return to give anything else a chance

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Sorry, I'm going to have to disagree. LaRocco's is the typically HB food joint. Never tried Cucina Alessa, but since you mentioned it, I may try it (I'm in the area a lot). It's not a popular Chow place, but that doesn't mean it's bad, it can be a diamond in the rough.

                    Chronic tacos??? What? Sorry, you lost 10 respect points for that answer.

                    And Gyu Kaku is one of my top favs, I'm there often, but it's not even close to walking distance from the beach (which was the area I was pertaining to). If we want to consider the entire city of HB, there's plenty of good chow places. One of them being my beloved Matsu (yep, that's right, the gauntlet has been thrown)

                    1. re: SmokeyDoke

                      I like LaRocco's pizza. The place tends to be dirty is the only real complaint I have.

                      Alessa is the new outpost of a pretty popular Italian place on PCH in Newport. Try it out -- I just reviewed it the other day actually.

                      And if you notice, I recommended one particular dish at Chronic -- the potato tacos. Please read the comment fully before charging off on me. I also didn't say Gyu-Kaku was near the beach -- it appeared in my list of things that were further from Main St., since TraciCat (the OP) was talking about HB in general.

                      I'm curious what you like at Matsu. It holds the distinction of having the only sushi -- including Vons supermarket sushi -- that, having ordered it and tasted it, I actually refused to eat. I would actually sooner eat at Olive Garden or Chili's before eating at Matsu, but it's my sister-in-law's favourite restaurant, so if there's something there worth eating I want to know about it so I can stop stopping elsewhere to eat first.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        I read your review, and honestly, I was shocked. I trust your opinion but it sounded like we visited two different restaurants. My only conclusion can be the sushi chefs in the kitchen aren't as good as the ones in the bar (I forgot his name, but he's been there forever). Also, they're very busy, so they must mass produce and I'm sure Joe-blow makes the sushi in the kitchen.

                        They may have stepped up their game since reading your review. I only discovered Matsu a month ago, I've been back 3 times.

                        Here's my review from Urbanspoons:
                        1. Assorted Sashimi for $7.50. Yes, $7.50!!! That's cheaper than the day old sashimi at Marukai Market and 100x better. It's fresh and melt in your mouth good.
                        2. Sabrina Roll, Everything Roll - Mmmm... soy rice paper rolls.
                        3. Suicide Roll - it gets a honorable mention. It's a spicy tuna roll topped with another raw fish and crunchy (don't know what the crunchy is, maybe chicarrones?) It's good but it's pedestrian. Chris loves it, so we always get it.

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          I'm sad to say that DU actually may have a valid point about Matsu, which has been my usual sushi spot for the past 5+ years. Matsu has not "stepped up it's game" recently, in fact it has gotten much worse. I went about a month ago and sat at the sushi bar in front of the two new sushi chefs. I've always thought that the sushi made in the kitchen and served to those at the tables was pretty bad and inferior to that served at the sushi bar. This is why I would only sit at the sushi bar to order. But now that they have hired two new sushi chefs, this poor quality of cuts has made its way to the sushi bar as well. I have not gone back since, but when I do I will only sit in front of Yuki, not the new guys. Maybe Yugi the owner should get back behind the sushi bar.
                          As for Smokey Doke's praise of the Sabrina Roll, that in and of itself should explain why she likes the place. IMHO, it's just an overload of fish which prevents you from being able to actually taste any individual element. Especially after someone dips it in soy sauce or ponzu. I ordered it once having no idea what it was and only after the prodding of the annoying drunks seated next to me. I won't be ordering that again. If I'm going to be eating americanized sushi (note I didn't say "fusion sushi") in HB, I now go to Sushi on Fire on Main St. partially for the sheer comedy that is Mama, the owner/hostess, yelling at all of the employees

                          1. re: I got nothin

                            Wow, that's quite a change of opinion since this post in April
                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/614253

                            And is Yuki also referred to as Hatsu? I know he's been there for a long time.

                            Well, to each his own, I know I'll not be going to Sushi on Fire anytime soon and hopefully Matsu won't be as crowded next time I go.

                            1. re: SmokeyDoke

                              Change of sushi chefs led to a change of opinion. When I'm served yellowtail belly with thick pieces of skin still attached and big chucks of connective tissue in pieces of bluefin, I'm not exactly a happy camper.
                              Yuki is a male sushi chef, Hatsu is the waitress for the sushi bar

                            2. re: I got nothin

                              I wanted to report that I went to Sushi on Fire and it was a horrible experience. It only further proves that there are no good foodie places along Main.

                              Firstly, I showed the boy this post, as he's a long time HB resident and has visited almost all, if not all, the mediocre "sushi" joints in HB (which in his last estimate, is around 30). His first opinion on Sushi on Fire is that it's a "Thai" sushi place, filled with tourist, completely opposite of Matsu. He said the biggest draw is the flaming fire put on the plates, not the sushi. He goaded me into trying Sushi on Fire but his motives must've been more to see the skinny, tightly-cladded, Thai waitresses than to eat good sushi.

                              Talk about an overload of fish drenched in ponzu sauce... yuck. I'm not a sushi snob, I like a sushi roll, just as much as I like a muffalata sammich or a cheese pizza, but what irked me most was the outrageous prices on very mediocre food.

                              And at the cost of the boy never being welcome at Sushi on Fire again, I thought the hostess was annoying and the place was loud. Go there if you want expensive, mediocre food and want to see young Thai girls. DO NOT go if you want good Japanese food.

                              1. re: SmokeyDoke

                                Haha... Sushi on Fire. I agree with every point except that there is thirty sushi places in HB. It's more like forty.

                            3. re: Das Ubergeek

                              Hi DasU - I share your disdain for Matsu's sushi. It's awful. However, their regular Japanese menu is very good. The sukiyaki is excellent. If you like teppan dinners, they do a good job on those too. Give the cooked menu a try. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

                        2. re: SmokeyDoke

                          That was my point. We ride bikes up to HB a lot during the summertime, and spend the day on Main Street. Certainly not writing off all of HB. But Hurricane's, Fred's, HB Brewery, Aloha Grill, the ever changing couple of restaurants there by Long Board.... Get's old (and sticky) after 15 + years. It's nice to have the option of a nice upscale burger place. HB (Main Street) is what it is and you can't argue with what works, but for a semi-local regular, 25 Degrees sure fits my bill. (IMHO their burger, was well worth $10.50, my wine was $6 and I saw canned beer for $3) And while the food is decent, it's nice not waiting skin to sticky skin in Wahoo's, Chronic and TK. By the time I eat my food I'm already in a bad mood. I think the new hotels will ensure a lot of new business. I think that's what Izakaya was banking on before they closed.

                          1. re: Tracicat

                            Try Alessa. I'm harping on it because I want someone to tell me I'm not crazy. :-)

                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                              Love Alessa. You've got good taste, DasU.