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Aug 20, 2009 09:44 PM

very short review of bottega louis tonight

first of all, know that the noise level in this restaurant was deafening.
they desperately need to find somewhere in the place to conceal some acoustical batting to bring the noise level down

the restaurant itself is beautiful

the dishes i had were:
the spaghetti with caviar
pizza margarita
white anchovies
asparagus with fried egg.

the asparagus and anchovies came first and were the two high points of the meal. both were done well and were served nicely (although i gotta say, the cafe del rey version of this asparagus dish beats the bottega version hands down).

the pizza followed. i watched as the server wandered around the huge restaurant for what seemed like forever with our pizza in hand looking very confused as to what table it might belong to. by the time he figured it out, the pizza was cold. on top of that, it was flavorless.
i've been too spoiled by my neighborhood places, antica pizzaria and the good pizza, to find anything worth eating about this pie. my dining partner, felt the same way. basically we each had one piece and left the rest.

the spaghetti arrived at least 25 minutes after the rest of the food had already arrived. we had to ask our waitress twice about it's whereabouts. it ended up arriving at room temperature. if it had been warm or hot, it would have been terrific.

so, to sum up, regarding the food, there were some hits and some misses.
the logistical problems they are having getting the food to the tables before it's cold works against them mightily.
the noise level made the whole experience too unpleasant to cause me to want to drive downtown to come back here.

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  1. While I have never been, yet will be going next week, cannot imagine ordering any of the items you did.
    I will go with trepidation, given that an asparagus/fried egg dish was a highlight - I could do that at home, without the subway commute. And you can have all the anchovies you want. The other two dishes are equally uninteresting.
    Hope something on the menu is more interesting - maybe they have added earplugs!!!

    11 Replies
    1. re: carter

      #1) maybe the type of items that you like to order will be better
      #2) i'd recommend trying to stick with items that don't need to be served hot in order to be good
      #3) their valet charges $7.50, but across the street on the west side of the street there was a garage with a sign in front for $3.00 flat rate evening parking.

      1. re: westsidegal

        the good news is that both of us will be using public transportation to get there, so there is no concern for parking - I from sherman Oaks, friend from Newport Beach, via Long Beach and the Blue Line.
        Yes, people from these places use public transportation, and love to use it.
        Use it all the time to Disney Hall for LA Philharmonic season.
        Too bad many restaurants downtown don't understand the need for a Sunday brunch/lunch pre-concert meal, commencing about 11am, or so, so a 2pm curtain time at disney, Dorothy Chandler, Ahmanson, Taper, etc. could be met.

        1. re: westsidegal

          i think this is the second post we're replying to regarding a restaurant to which you may have only visited once.

          "...the noise level in this restaurant was deafening".
          - it is a noisy restaurant, but to quote a michelin-starred chef here in LA, "restaurants aren't overly concerned about restaurants being too loud in this economy, we're all worried about them being too quiet."

          "#2) i'd recommend trying to stick with items that don't need to be served hot in order to be good"
          - we've had just about everything on the menu. we think the best dishes are hot. pizza (though it can be uneven, ask for the crust to kept in the oven until crispy and definitely not as good as ANTICA), calamari, and portabello fries are among the strongest dishes. the kurobota pork chop is a steal (ask them to not overcook it). would be a shame to miss these.

          "#3) their valet charges $7.50, but across the street on the west side of the street there was a garage with a sign in front for $3.00 flat rate evening parking."
          - not always $3.00 in the lot across the street. when there is a big event at Staples or the Nokia, it is $10. so far, the lot is free on sundays.

          carter, note that some of the items available at dinner are not available at lunch/brunch. have been there four times in the last 30 days once hosting a group of 22, another with 15. ask for "taylor" as your server, if she's on shift. otherwise service can be spotty.

          also note that the asparagus with fried egg, unless they've changed it in the last 9 days, is really more like asparagus with shaved/grated hard boiled egg, not asparagus with a beautifully fried egg with runny yolk on the top.

          1. re: revets2

            #1)the fried egg that was served on my asparagus was a regular fried egg with a runny yolk.
            revets2, if you like this dish, as i do, i recommend giving the Cafe del Rey version a try, i think you'll like it.

            #2)when the dining experience at the first visit is as lackluster as this was, and there will be no repeat visit, necessarily, my report will be based on only one experience.
            good to know that you've done better with this place than we did.

            1. re: revets2

              If her initial visit is this bad, why would she go again? She did mention it was her first visit. I don't see anything wrong with her posting her opinion of her initial visit.

              1. re: fuddykat

                why do you think restaurant critics visit a restaurant several times before writing a review?

                if you had a poor initial visit, there is nothing wrong in saying, "went once. not sure if i'd go back." it's another thing to make recommendations like parking and what to order and what not to order when you've never ordered it based upon a single visit. and we all know (especially if you're in the business) that every restaurant can have a bad day.

                boards like CH give everyone a tremendous resource and opinion base, but few posters understand the responsibility. so many post on restaurants as if they are signboards and spaces with chairs, tables, a kitchen, and a bottomless pit of funds. there are faces in these restaurants, human beings who depend on the establishment to pay the rent and put food on the table. your opinion can have an impact on these people! which is why even for a "first look" column, a critic will eat there a few times before writing.

                in my group of foodies, if we have a not so great experience, we cite it is an initial visit and make recommendations based upon the experience we had, not food and the servers we didn't have. and unless there is a dire health issue or a service issue an establishment is not willing to resolve, we often will not post anything until another visit.

                it's okay if you never want to go again. just leave the door cracked for someone else to have an experience different than your own. and do no harm to owners and their employees based upon a first visit unless absolutely necessary.

                1. re: revets2

                  it was a first visit review, and was identified as such.

                  it is ENTIRELY FAIR to let other chowhounds know about any first visit.

                  (where is there any official chowhound rule that negative or mediocre first visits are not allowed to be posted?)
                  i did not make parking recommendations, i did accurately report what i observed.

                  the legitimate purpose of this board is to serve chowhounds as individuals.

                  i stand by my review and believe it to be entirely fair and accurate and useful information to the individual chowhounds on this board. the fact that Lambster reports a similar experience at Bottega Louis would seem to indicated that my experience there was not necessarily an isolated incident.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    While there's obviously no rule against posts like yours, it always does make me a little sad to read what i consider pretty harsh words about a place after only one visit. it's someone's livlihood, after all. but different strokes...

                    as for the food, i'm glad they're now doing the asparagus with a fried egg rather than a shaved hard boiled egg. And if you ever do go back, the portobello fries are really delicious.

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      much like another post where you took an opinionated stand on a restaurant you had never been to, what we found not entirely fair or accurate was your recommendation to "stick with items that don't need to be served hot in order to be good" when you did not experience the calamari or the portobello fries both of which are executed exceedingly well and delicious.

                      would hate for a reader to miss those.

                      1. re: revets2

                        you must be talking about sugarfish in brentwood.
                        it is part of a chain.
                        my experience at their marina del rey location was so horrid that it was worth mentioning when the chain's name came up.
                        it isn't like the marina del rey location of sugarfish is really a completely separate operation from the brentwood location.. . . .

                        1. re: revets2

                          If you consider certain individuals to be lacking in fairness or accuracy, then maybe you should simply avoid reading their reviews and opinions. CH was never intended to saddle its contributors here with the same rigid standards to which professional reviewers adhere. This site is about the free flow of information and not about taking measures to protect the interests of the restaurant industry.

                          The OP had a so-so experience combined with a mediocre meal and she took the time to tell us. So get over it. If she is somehow wrong, her comments will be tempered by contrary opinions.

            2. I went for lunch a few months ago and found it quite disappointing. The place is beautiful, but my food was bland and below average at best.

              1. Personally I take all chowhound reviews good or bad with a grain of salt and as long as they are detailed I can decide whether to ignore them entirely.

                I understand that westsiders are somewhat trapped due to traffic congestion but thankfully the rest of us have some broader options.

                1. It's three blocks from my office.

                  I've got to agree about the acoustics; they'd have been hard-pressed to design the place to make it any LOUDER. (had business lunch there a couple of weeks ago with a group that included some folks with audio engineering experience). "Deafening" doesn't = "Must be popular", it just equals "Should have figured out how to control sound levels".

                  Food pretty good, though pricey in comparison with other Italian places around.