- Griller141 Mar 2, 2006 10:59 PM
Having recommended Windows (Downtown in the SBC Building, 12th and Olive) in the past few months, we felt obligated to recheck it last night, having not been in 4 months. 4 months ago it didn't seem as good as before, but even good places can have some irregularities.
I have decided to cease posting detailed negative reviews on this board, but let me just say that inexperience, carelessness, and apparent greed have become the dominant themes here.
Reservation, reconfirmed 24 hours in advance, was greeted with ignorance and surprise upon arrival. Service was sincere but extraordinarily inefficient - 35 minutes for water; never did get requested bread (other tables did). Longer for everything else, though with the view this was not really a disaster. Overpriced, lackluster food; expensive wines with scandalously short by the glass pours (tasting pours at other places - but we're cutting down anyway).
Somehow, despite the short staff and underwhelming product at high prices, the place got more and more crowded through the evening. There was nothing special going on downtown on this Wednesday, and we could see the ongoing Clippers game on the big screen in the Staples lobby, so these weren't the patrons. Go figure.
For many years, this was our favorite Big Time restaurant in LA - it had everything. But first the food went (Axel Dikkers and then Akira Hirose), then the wine list (formerly the world class Saga Corporate wine cellar at bargain basement prices), then the service (Tommy, Gilbert, and the wine steward Smitty), and now the prices have been jacked up even as most aspects of the restaurant have deteriorated. We suppose the view is the same, but we didn't realize how much the other aspects affected our perception of it.
Go for a drink (don't expect much even here). Or better yet, just go to the top, look around, and come back down.
We have a group of 8 who used to work together years ago and we meet once a year to catch up on each other's lives. Since we are very spread out, we try to find centrally located places to meet. A few years ago Windows sounded ideal, right in the middle for everyone.
We have to set the date way in advance in due to everyone's busy lives(and in order to find a nice table for 8), so I called Windows about 2 to 3 months ahead of time and requested a corner window (round) table.
When we arrived, the sat us at a square table by the door. I complained to the Maitre D' and he looked at the reservation and you could clearly see our name was erased!! Since the corner tables were all taken by now, we had to settle for the rectangular one, which makes it very difficult to talk to everyone outside of the people right next to or across from you.
Next, they were out of prime rib, they claimed due to a private party who ordered it all up.
The rest of the meal was uneventfull at best. They compted us a desert of their chosing, for the lack of prime rib.
Unfortunately this would have been a great place to meet every year, but they blew it BIG TIME.
Nick & Steph's (this years) was much better in all respects, except for the view.
I was taken for my birthday over a year ago, and it was not good then, as the food was just ok at best, the service scattered and the prices were basically about $10 per entree higher than almost any other place - thus getting $10 per person for the view.
They get the ladies of the night crowd as the evening wears on and the Staples crowd in the earlier part of the night, when appropriate.
Knowing how the board felt about this place, I still wanted to see the view. Went last night for drinks at sunset, and had only apps, Crab cakes (one large) and spring rolls. Granted, not a full meal, but service was attentive and appetizers were suprisingly good. Maybe it was because we were there so early (6pm). I wonder if they just can't maintain quality when it gets crowded (as it was when we left at 7:30pm). I guess I'll have to take the plunge for dinner and hope for the best.
Let me know if you try it for dinner. If you don't, I may give it yet another try for old time's sake. The memories of the old Tower (1970s - 80s) and the legendary Raymond Andrieux (who had a large supply of loaner jackets for the heathens and is said to have "force fed style and standards to an LA restaurant scene that sorely lacked both") and the dynamite wine cellar fade very slowly.
re: mc michael
Closest I can think of is WEST at the Hotel Angeleno. http://www.westatangeleno.com/
Don't get me wrong, the food at WEST, an Italian Steakhouse, isn't all that great and rather overpriced, but compared to the other places that try to combine view with fine dining, it's not that bad.
Better than Windows, Yamashiro's, and probably even the Restaurant at the Getty.