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Why Hasn't There Been More Talk On This Board About WP 24?

Well, there hasn't been a thread on this board about WP 24 since its opening about a year ago. In the interim it was named top Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles by Channel 7 Eyewitness News, beating out those juggernauts Yang Chow and Chi Dynasty, so I would have thought there would have been more commentary since then. Consequently, I think I'm forced to answer my own question. While not bad, the food isn't especially good, and it's ridiculously expensive. Of course I ate in the lounge instead of the dining room since I wanted to limit my losses to $50. And I did go with an open mind, having been pleasantly surprised by upscale Chinese food for predominantly non-Chinese diners in New York (Chinatown Brasserie) and Toronto (Lai Wah Heen). The Sichuan Chicken Dan Dan Dumplings were actually pretty good, except that the taste and texture was eerily similar to Trader Joe's Chicken shui mai. Really. Everything else had me longing for Qingdao Bread Food. I must admit the view and the atmosphere are great. So if that's good enough for you, I won't criticize you for dining there.

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Qingdao Bread Food
301 N Garfield Ave, Monterey Park, CA

Chi Dynasty
1813 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

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  1. I think the statement "it was named top Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles by Channel 7 Eyewitness News" says it all... with the amount of great, authentic Chinese food available in this city for much less, I think WP24 has been largely ignored because of the price and relative exclusivity to dine there (I found it extremely difficult to make reservations for weekend evenings for quite some time).

    Regardless, I've heard great things about the experience and some of the dishes on the menu and look forward to dining there at least once.

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    WP24
    900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

    1 Reply
    1. re: mrshankly

      I will give Eyewitness News credit for ranking WP24 ahead of Yang Chow and Chi Dynasty.

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      Yang Chow Restaurant
      819 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

      WP24
      900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

      Chi Dynasty
      12229 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City, CA 91604

    2. There have been a few threads - http://www.chow.com/search?query=WP24...

      There's no space between the P and the 2, which is maybe why you weren't able to find them. But my guess as to why there haven't been more - because it's just not that good? I thought the food was dreadful, and I didn't like the atmosphere at all either. Even the view I thought would have been better if it had been oriented west rather than north.

      My original review is at the bottom of this thread, by the way: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/707419

      2 Replies
      1. re: aching

        Aching, I totally agree. I ate there for the first time last weekend for the husband's birthday, and felt ripped off. The food was just OK for paying that amount of money. To get to the restroom you have to walk a long way, and there are dead end halls everywhere. The lounge is really average looking for a restaurant that is supposed to be this elegant.

        1. re: sibaik

          Went to WP24 on Monday for a big anniversary; first impression was the motor court was a thin alley with robotic help dressed in various uniforms mumbling Welcome to the Rita Carlton. Had to wait in a tiny hallway for the elevator since it was not yet 5pm. Once up to WP24, the place was empty and we looked for the sunset over the acres of parking lots and 24hour urgent care facilities. It improved after dark with lots of lights and a mountain back drop. Waitperson explained that the raspberry cocktail ($8 special) was very sweet so Mme Zoe opted for a regular martini and I had the pear martini with a slice of asian pear and more alcohol punch that I possibly expected (definitely $16 worth as opposed to the $12 Hemingway daiqui that I had at Fraiche the previous night which was three sips and its gone). No complaints here. Ordered the seafood dumplings to start ($16 for three which were packed with shrimp and lobster). Then we had the tasting menu and it was just that. Small small bites just enough to soak up the liquor. Service was OK but all plates were cleared before we took the last bite. Then the place filled up and when we left at 7pm the place was jumping and noisy too. The room is like a barn and is almost like a play looking for a third act - more robotic help. Nice touch is the woman at the desk as we left the restaurant took our ticket and told us the car would be ready when we went downstairs. With that small a space they have to clear the cars out fast. No lingring.
          Glad we went but no going back

      2. I thought the Peking Duck was good, though stupidly expensive. Everything else would have been okay if I didn't already know where to find the same or similar dishes that are far better and much cheaper in the SGV. Great view, though. I suppose it's a good place to take out of town guests for a drink and maybe one or two appetizers - but even then, I'd probably try to talk them into somewhere else.

        3 Replies
        1. re: estone888

          Gorgeous views, elegant service, mediocre and very expensive food. This is definitely an expense account place.

          1. re: maudies5

            Bummer, I really wanted to go.

            So how do you all feel how it compares to WP's flagship, Chinois on Main? We found the food there delicious, but again, really expensive. No view, except his ex's wild tile design in the resto, which now, 20+ years later to feel incredible dated.

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            Chinois
            2709 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

            1. re: Phurstluv

              They are very different restaurants. Chinois is packed and the noise level is deafening.
              Service is pretty casual. WP's service is quite elegant and the ambiance is quiet and very subdued. Chairs are comfortable, the table settings are beautiful and the views are gorgeous. I prefer the food at Chinois. However, I do feel as if we are comparing apples and oranges. The restaurants could not be more different. The highlights of my meal at WP were the appetizers. Just the opposite at Chinois.

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              Chinois
              2709 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

        2. Every time I'm there I feel like I'm at Chinois, but about 20 miles east, and at higher elevation.

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          Chinois
          2709 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

          1 Reply
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Actually I thought Chinois was better. Of course that was an expense account meal.

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            Chinois
            2709 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

          2. "Why Hasn't There Been More Talk On This Board About WP 24?"

            ... Because the regular contributors on this board are more 'Houndish' when it comes to discerning really good food, and separating it from food mixed with hype, views, scene, etc.

            When I first reviewed WP24 near its opening, I thought it was OK, albeit expensive. I did enjoy the great views (and still do). And, if you haven't been, I'd still recommend the lounge area over the main dining room (where the real hemorrhaging of the corporate account occurs).

            When is ABC7 coming out with L.A.'s own version of Makansutra? Answer: Not anytime soon.

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            WP24
            900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

            12 Replies
            1. re: J.L.

              Clearly you hit the nail on the head. I didn't bother to try WP 24 until a year after it opened, in contrast to a place like Shanghai Village, where I showed up a few hours after they opened the doors. Still, I had expected some reaction about WP 24 when the Channel 7 listing came out, particularly since the #2 hit on the list, Yang Chow, does get a mention from time to time. on this board, if only to be ridiculed

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              Yang Chow Restaurant
              819 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

              1. re: Chandavkl

                Still, I had expected some reaction about WP 24 when the Channel 7 listing came out, particularly since the #2 hit on the list ...

                __________________

                I think that speaks more about Chowhounds view of the ABC7 list than it does about the general ennui towards WP24.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Yes, but this was Channel 7. Eyewitness News. And they said it was the best!

                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    Did the Channel 7 "reviewer" discuss the traffic conditions getting to and from WP24 as well? ;-D>

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                    WP24
                    900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Ingress and egress should be much easier now that the Lakers et al. are on vacation for the foreseeable future ...

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        So, you're saying no lockout? ;-D>

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Actually that's why I went last night--figured things would be quiet with the anticipated Laker game not taking place. Staples Center is basically vacant for the rest of the month. I do feel sorry for the people who spent big bucks to put up a vinyl advertising supergraphic on the Hotel Figueroa for the express purpose of it being conspicuously seen in the aerial shots of Staples Center during last night's Laker telecast and the rest of the playoffs.

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                          Staples Center
                          1111 S Figueroa St Ste 3100, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            Traffic on the 10 heading east is nasty from 3:00 - 9:00. And then it drops off, but to be honest, I'm not even sure what time it stops being a problem. I went out to Palate Food & Wine - and it was still problematic after 9:00.

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                            Palate Food & Wine
                            933 South Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91204

                            1. re: foodiemahoodie

                              I heard some nice things about WP24, but I think maybe it's Wolfgang Puck ennui? He has a new restaurant every minute it seems.

                              The Peking Duck is supposed to be excellent and done using the rarely used real method, according to LA Magazine.

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                              WP24
                              900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                            2. re: Chandavkl

                              Staples Center is basically vacant for the rest of the month. I do feel sorry for the people who spent big bucks to put up a vinyl advertising supergraphic on the Hotel Figueroa for the express purpose of it being conspicuously seen in the aerial shots of Staples Center during last night's Laker telecast and the rest of the playoffs.

                              ______________

                              Are you discounting the draw of Wango Tango, Britney Spears and, of course, the ever popular media-darlings that is the Sparks?

                              http://staplescenter.com/wide.php?pag...

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Or to put it another way, Glee and Wango Tango are the only events scheduled for the next 18 days. That does make it a good opportunity to try some of the eating establishments in the area between now and the end of the month (except for tomorrow and two weeks from tomorrow).

                                1. re: Chandavkl

                                  Unless of course you work and live down there ...

                2. I have my birthday there this year, hosting about 25 people. I like it for smaller groups, catching a drink alone or with a friend or two. I do not recommend it for large groups. Service left me wanting, food was so-so, and I felt like most of my guests left hungry even though the bill was astronomical. Exceptional city view, nice ambiance, good location. Nice for a cocktail or two, but I don't recommend it for much more than that. I will be going back, but I won't be hosting a party there again.

                  1. I'll defend this restaurant. While it may not be authentic, it's a hell of a lot better than almost all the restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley IMHO. The lobster and shrimp spring rolls were the most refined spring rolls I've ever had. They looked gorgeous and were delicious. The baked sea bass in salt crust, deboned before serving, is close to perfect. The tobu bananas dessert is exquisite.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: AlkieGourmand

                      So overwhelmingly disagreeing with you...

                      But that's what makes this board great.

                      You said almost all the restaurants in the SGV - Which ones do you like?

                      1. re: J.L.

                        I like almost all the restaurants in the SGV. They're all good values. The restaurants I eat at most often are Mei Long Village and Chung King. I like Sea Harbour and Elite for more upscale Southern Chinese.

                        I'm just saying that none of the restaurants in the SGV comes anywhere close to the level of refinement of WP-24. If you took pictures of the dishes at WP-24 and the dishes at any restaurant in the SGV, it would be night and day. This doesn't mean that the dishes at WP-24 are especially delicious; they're not. I recognize a distinction between deliciousness and refinement, the former of which is more visceral, and the latter of which is more cerebral.

                        Also, don't get me wrong--I'm not raving about WP-24. I don't consider the quality of the food there to be special for the price by any means. The quality is what should be expected for the price. And as I wrote in another post, I was disappointed by a gloopy sweet and sour "Szechuan shrimp" dish, which was a failure in my book.

                        Perhaps my tastes are veering more toward Michelin than Chowhound as I get older. There's no right or wrong answer to what's good food.

                        1. re: AlkieGourmand

                          It's true that there's not a lot of refined Chinese restaurants in the L.A. area, particularly like those in New York that are largely geared to a non-Asian audience, though I guess there are a couple on the drawing boards. And for that we should probably be grateful. Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village in San Gabriel might be breaking the trend with regard to refined restaurants, though it's not particularly expensive. And don't forget there are many Chinese restaurants in the SGV that are capable of turning out pricey, high end dishes in addition to their normal fare.

                      2. re: AlkieGourmand

                        Good point. Sometimes we forget that the questions "Is it good?" and "Is it Chinese" are sepearate questions. I once had something at P.F. Chang that tasted pretty good. But it wasn't Chinese. (Mr. Chow, on the other hand,...)

                        1. re: Chandavkl

                          Along the same vein, I will defend Panda Express as having "good food" and even "some of the best Amercanized Chinese food" but would not say that it is "Chinese food".

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Yeah, I remembered that some hounds were fans of the Orange Chicken at Panda Express. In that case, it may usually be the very best option in a mall food court.

                            And for some reason, now I am kind of craving it.

                            It is good stuff, in many ways along with that spicey sauce.

                      3. Just to add to my previous post - we were there for the tasting menu 5-7pm a week ago: as soon as we were seated and when we ordered drinks before "dinner" the waitperson asked for a credit card to 'run a tab'. We were seated and we stated we wanted to eat. Thought this weird - any comments?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ZoeZ

                          In the main dining room and not the lounge? If so, weird indeed. Do they get many dine and dashers at WP24?

                          1. re: JAB

                            Yeah, I was about to say they probably get a lot of dine and dashers too. Maybe because most people use it as an upscale bar with the nice view, rather than Puck's version of Chinese???