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Susan Fineger's Street-- nothing to write home about

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Checked out Susan Fineger's Street for Dine LA week. We had a 30% discount which saved us 20 bucks off a 70 dollar bill, not including drinks.

We tried six dishes, including the lamb meatballs, the Vietnamese corn, the green beans, the Brazilian fritters, the black peppered clams, and the kale with white beans. The two standout dishes were the corn and the green beans. The corn was very flavorful and the green beans were fresh and tasty. The green beans did taste like a simple dish that one could make at home, though (fresh green beans, butter, olive oil, lime, salt). The clams were a disappointment. They tasted like someone had an accident with Kikoman soy sauce in the kitchen. The clams were overpowered by the sauce.

The other dishes were nothing special. Without the discount, it would've been an over-priced, mediocre meal. Service was good, except for the hostesses, who took too long to get us a table, even with a reservation. The space, in my opinion, is too small and tight for a restaurant like this. They crammed too many tables into a small space that looks like it would do better as a vintage clothing store, instead of a restaurant.

In my opinion, if I want street food, I won't be going back to Street. I'll head to downtown LA for food trucks on Thursday night or try the local food trucks in Pasadena, Highland Park and El Sereno.

I will say that the bartenders at Street do make some interesting drinks. The honeydew cucumber fresca was very good, and my hot toddy (whisky, lemon juice, honey and hot water) was very good, too. The highlight for me was the drinks and the two vegetable dishes mentioned above. Beyond that, I'd say Street is nothing to write home about.

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  1. The reason that this concept does work is that there are plenty of people (non-chowhounds) who would never consider venturing into areas like Pico-Union or Westlake, let alone actually eating something there from an outdoor street vendor’s cart or a truck. But they are totally okay with paying 6X for pseudo street food that may even be inferior as long as it is served in a restaurant where they have the perception of comfort and safety.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Sam D.

      "there are plenty of people who would never consider venturing into areas like Pico-Union or Westlake"

      Absolutely correct. And even more so, a fortiori, into "Macau to Jaipur to Havana".

      1. re: RicRios

        I have to agree as well, even though I love Susan Feniger as a personality.

        I brought my non-hound coworkers and boss here for my birthday lunch. While my boyfriend and I silently thought it was a huge disappointment, my coworkers + boss (minus the scared intern that looked like she was revolted by everything served) thought the place was amazing -- so much so that my boss put me in charge of finding a "new cool restaurant" for my company to go to every month!!

        FYI - a breakdown of what my BF and I had:

        Vietnamese Corn - revoltingly over-limed and old tasting

        Burmese Melon Salad - not bad but on the watery side, def muted x10 for Vanilla diners

        Korea Rice Salad (I think that's what it was called) - turned out to be just a very average Bibimbap

        Kaya Toast - fine but disappointed that the egg was not the super soft watery version that requires a bowl. Btw this dish really freaked out all of my coworkers + boss.

        If I could take my birthday lunch back I would, but at least with my new designation as "new cool restaurant" person I can pick something better next month!

        1. re: eatingculture

          Hi eatingculture, if you're still around I'd love to know what "cool" restaurant(s) you've picked since. I am planning an office holiday lunch and Street was at the top of my list until I saw this thread! TIA.

          1. re: rmb123

            Hey Tia,

            We haven't had any occasions for $$-$$$ lunches lately, unfortunately. A company favorite is Royal/T, not for the food (it's OK), but for the general ambiance. Last week we ate at Tara's Himalayan, which is not new or really "cool", but one of my coworkers liked it so much he went there again by himself this week. I wanted to eat at A-frame and Waterloo & City, but unfortunately they're not open for lunch. Sorry I can't be of more help!

            MAL

            PS I should mention that my coworker found his falafel at Street to be "one of the best" he's ever had.

            -----
            Tara's Himalayan
            10855 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

    2. Ditto. I was there this weekend after a family member chose this place for brunch. I thought it was expensive too, especially the drinks!! $14 to $15 for cocktails, including $14 for a bellini? Our server forgot two of my requests and kept trying to up-sell us on more cocktails. For the prices I expected better service from the waiter. I thought the Turkish donuts were good, although the famous coconut spread on toast was overly rich. I felt like I had put a quarter stick of butter in my mouth.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mari

        I wasn't very impressed with the brunch. I'll give them props for having one of the most creative -- or should that be 'strangest' -- brunch menus I've ever seen, but I didn't find the choices incredibly appealing, and what was served was rather heavy-handed and messy.

      2. Bravo, katkoupai - could not agree more.
        IMHO, the very name "Street " is kind of too kind - Ditch or Gutter, anyone?

        1. While I completely agree that the food is mediocre verging into bad, Street has one of the best Happy Hour deals in town. When everything is $5 and under and the place is virtually empty, it tastes a little better. I just wish the Ginger cocktail was on the happy hour menu, because I refuse to pay $16 for it!

          1 Reply
          1. re: LAEats

            I love the Ginger cocktail...but it is expensive. I really like the idea of Street more than the restaurant. I love that the menu is different, and I think the place has a good vibe. But I've either had really good service, or awful service. The food is hit and miss. But I will check out the happy hour deal. I've actually had some good lunches there....better experience than dinner.

          2. I was excited to use my 30% off coupon for Street and I am sorry to report that I completely agree with those who were underwhelmed. The Kaya Toast was interesting but it defiantely lost its lustre after the second bite.
            We did *love* the basboosa cake dessert. The farmers market berries on top of the yummy semolina cake were amazing.
            I think Ms. Feniger needs to rethink the menu and concept.

            1. I completely disagree with all the bad reviews. My partner made a reservation through OpenTable which somehow got lost. We called the restaurant to confirm the res and they did not have it but the hostess promised she would seat us anyway (we had an event to attend). The hostess was super friendly when we arrived and whisked us to a table. Our waitress was super pleasant and when I informed her that I don't eat meat she quickly said "No problem!" and that any dish could be made without meat (unless, of course, you are ordering a meat dish). My kind of girl! She talked us into the kaya toast which does not sound good on the menu but OMG! It was amazing - maybe we should have saved it for dessert? The "coconut jam" should be called "coconut custard" and you MUST dip it into the broken egg and soy! Trust them! The brazilian acaraje was super yummy as was the tofu satay! The sauce for the wild columbian river salmon was out of this world and they took out the sausage for me = brownie points. The highlight was the curried mussels (again, without the chorizo). Who would've ever thought to use a curry sauce with mussels? YUM AGAIN! The only thing we would've deleted from our order were the sauteed brussel sprouts (they were just okay). Bring your wallets and your imagination. Definitely will be going back!!!

              1. Agree 110%! I've been twice now, once for a business dinner and once with the SO. Both times were tuurrribble, to quote Charles Barkley. The only reason I returned was we had an Open Table Certificate, purchased before the first visit, or I personally wouldn't have given them a second chance.

                The unpleasant puffed rice balls that are like a stale, salty, rice crispy treat with a strange malty aftertaste, that they give you in lieu of bread or shrimp toasts or, you know, something palatable, should be your first warning of what you're getting yourself into.

                My first visit, we got roped into all their hyped "favorites" which were badly conceived versions of international street food (or something. Hard to tell sometimes.) Which tended towards the fried, sickly sweet sauce (Ukrainian dumplings, fried chicken), far too much butter and cheese in dishes that really didn't require it (brussels sprouts, I'm looking at you!) or just plain bland and uninspired (watery spaghetti squash.) All for CRAZY markups seated in uncomfortable plastic chairs in a place so crowded that the servers have a hard time navigating the maze, the customers even more so. The outdoor terrace is only covered with cloth and has only a few heaters, so when we came for our reservation we were outside, staring at the sky, no heater on a 60 degree night. When we asked to move inside we were told that wasn't possible but at least got a table closer to a heater, another table of 4 (seated at a cramped 2 top sized table) was not so lucky. They offered blankets. Seriously? Blankets?! At a place where your beers are 10 bucks a pop and you serve your mediocre (also overpriced) wine in tiny little jelly jars? Pony up for the space heaters, it's not like you're not making cash hand over fist since the place is inexplicably always packed.

                This time around, I tried to avoid some of the pitfalls of the last visit, so we went with mostly Thai influenced dishes. "grilled" tofu satay was actually 3 pieces of firm tofu the size of a pack of Dentyne gum not particularly grilled, almost like the slices had just been carved out of a package, with some heavy peanut sauce glugged over the top and about 1/4 cup of some sort of Thai cole slaw on the side. The price? 10 bucks. Thai rice noodles with pork and broccoli were just okay, kind of soggy and too heavy on the fish sauce (and I'm a Jitlada fan so I can handle fish sauce.) But for, I think $12, the serving size on this dish, that any greasy spoon in Thai town could run circles around, was about 1/4 the size of what you'd get in any Thai restaurant for almost double the price (dish was about 7" round, 1" high .) It was like the old joke, "Terrible food...and such small portions!"

                Charleston Shrimp were tasty enough. Tasted like actual Gulf Shrimp. The very sweet sauce didn't diminish them. 7 shrimp and arugula salad set us back about $14 if I recall. Kale with bean dip was also pretty good. Frizzled black kale with anchovy butter on the side as well as a white bean dip and 4 olive croutons.

                Lucky for me, SO is a carb lover and had the foresight to order brown rice and some olive toast (much to the chagrin of our server who was well-versed in the over-sell.) Or we would have left Street pissed AND hungry.

                -----
                Jitlada
                5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                Street
                742 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                1. If what they served at the 2011 Gold Standard event was anything at all representative of the rest of the menu in the restaurant, I wouldn't bother wasting my time and money.

                  1. Wow! I've been to Street on many occasions and have nothing but wonderful food and service.

                    1. i went there over the summer not expecting much from the reviews i'd read back then- however i was pleasantly surprised! the kaya toast was really good. i honestly do not recall much else that we ate (the four of us ordered a bunch of stuff), but i i did cheat on my sometimes vegetarianism by eating a spare rib that was delish! i wouldn't rush to go back, but it wasn't such a bummer either. i left having a really good meal.