HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
What's your latest food quest? Tell us about it
TELL US

Expensive and worth it versus Expensive and not worth it

orythedog Jul 8, 2013 11:38 AM

I am a fan of saying, "there is no such thing as an expensive GOOD meal, only an expensive BAD one."

Still, after my most recent meal at Houston's in Pasadena, I am left to wonder if my French dip sandwich w/fries, and a coke in a bottle was worth $30. The math is sandwich $20, coke in bottle $3.50, + tax, + tip $5.

I have decided that it is expensive and worth it. My reasoning? Houston's is consistent, uses quality ingredients, has superior service, possesses a comfortable and inviting atmosphere, and most importantly, never makes me wonder if I am going to have a good meal or not.

Any thoughts, examples???

  1. c
    cincodemayo1 Jul 25, 2013 07:58 PM

    WORTH IT:
    Hatfield's
    Red Medicine (at least for the menu when we went)
    Genwa (not terribly expensive, but pricey for Korean food)
    Son of a Gun

    NOT WORTH IT:
    Ray & Stark's Bar (drinks are fine, food hit or miss)
    The Ivy (I could be wrong about this, but I believe I paid $7.50 for an iced tea the last time I was there...)
    The Melting Pot (I hadn't been in years but ended up going with a group to the Pasadena location and what a rip off! Pricey, quality seems cheap, portion size is minuscule, totally not worth it)

    1 Reply
    1. re: cincodemayo1
      Savour Aug 6, 2013 11:13 AM

      We ate at Red Medicine a little over a year ago and got out for under $100 for two. We weren't drinking, but we practically had to roll out of there because we were so stuffed. I actually thought it price to value ratio was outstanding. Have their prices gone up?

    2. nelehelen Jul 15, 2013 06:05 PM

      expensive & worth it:
      providence
      n/naka
      shunji
      totoraku

      expensive & not worth it:
      bazaar (it used to be, but was very disappointed in a recent visit)
      red-o
      mr. chow

      6 Replies
      1. re: nelehelen
        k
        kevin Jul 15, 2013 06:49 PM

        totoraku, really ????

        1. re: kevin
          nelehelen Aug 6, 2013 10:56 AM

          best yakiniku i've had outside tokyo.

          but, i hear the prices went up? not sure how much it is now...

          1. re: kevin
            t
            Thor123 Aug 6, 2013 11:05 AM

            Isnt that the meat joint you have to get an invite for? Have heard its awesome.

            1. re: Thor123
              nelehelen Aug 6, 2013 11:07 AM

              yep. if you find someone who's been, ask them to take you!

              1. re: nelehelen
                k
                kevin Aug 6, 2013 11:14 AM

                are you offering nelehelen ???? :)

              2. re: Thor123
                k
                kevin Aug 6, 2013 11:13 AM

                yep, i went once before.

                it's great, or good depending on other factors. in fact, i was more please with the raw beef sashimi dishes than the ones cooked on the grill.

                it's pretty good stuff.

                and the chef/owner is a real sweetheart (he spoke with us for a solid half an hour after dinner about his philosphy and approach and how some guys even brought their gfs there to propose though it's not exactly a romantic joint, i found the bullet holes (ok, maybe they are not bullet holes) on the red checkered tablecloth (a la an italian restaurant quite enduring). and beers are only served in the can (go figure) so most people bring their older bordeaux and burgunding and maybe a Sine Quan None or two, or even a cheval blanc and serve to the chef, he has a wide range of classy bottles lining the counter.

                anyhow, it's good, but if you have been to the heavy hitters of an omakase sushi menu, maybe (just maybe) you're not really missing too much in my opinion.

                yeah, you have to know someone to get in such as a regular and ride on their coattails if they would be so kind as well as be ready to drop about $170 before tax, tips, and drinks.

                i garnered the famous business card from the chef but sadly i have lost.

                which sucks.

          2. s
            SoozyQ Jul 12, 2013 08:27 PM

            I agree with Houston's. I don't care what I pay for the Thai Steak and Noodle salad when it makes me so happy. My husband is definitely a French Dip person and I think their skinny fries are great and addictive. The service is always spot on. So what if it's corporate.
            Expensive and not worth it.....Scarpetta Sunday brunch buffet Now to me that was a big rip off.

            1. j
              judybird Jul 12, 2013 08:39 AM

              Expensive and not worth it: any Patina restaurant at a museum, including Descanso Gardens. Okay, not expensive like Providence or Melisse, but totally not worth it. I was at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena last summer with a friend, we shared a sandwich and an "heirloom tomato salad". The salad, in peak tomato season, consisted of romaine lettuce, about 3/4 of a tasteless, underripe tomato and some dressing. It was about $10. The sandwich was dry and forgettable.

              8 Replies
              1. re: judybird
                a
                archer Jul 12, 2013 11:57 AM

                Disagree (in regards to "all" museum Patina restaurants). Suggest you try Ray's & Stark @ LACMA. Excellent, well-prepared, very tasty and fresh with a strong focus on "farm to table" cuisine. Given the stunning museum view and quality of the food, I think it's well worth the price. And the free corkage significantly reduces the expense.

                1. re: judybird
                  e
                  Ernie Jul 12, 2013 05:03 PM

                  I agree 100%. I have yet to experience any Patina Group restaurant, e.g., Pinot, Patina at WDCH, Kendall's Brasserie, etc. that I thought was remarkable, especially considering price

                  1. re: Ernie
                    m
                    manku Jul 13, 2013 01:47 PM

                    Don't forget Hollywood Bowl...I've been fortunate to sit in the Pool Circle, and the food "Patina" serves is one step above business class airline, barely.

                    And pricey too!!!

                    1. re: manku
                      k
                      kevin Jul 13, 2013 01:50 PM

                      Fuck that place.

                      I'm swearing off patina.

                      If I were to settle for cut rate food, I'd make a beeline for providence.

                      1. re: kevin
                        j
                        john gonzales Jul 13, 2013 04:12 PM

                        You think Providence serves "cut-rate food", as in lesser quality ingredients??

                        1. re: john gonzales
                          f
                          foodiemahoodie Jul 13, 2013 05:51 PM

                          I think Kevin's being sarcastic.

                  2. re: judybird
                    i
                    ilysla Jul 13, 2013 05:53 PM

                    I used Patina catering for a work event I had to plan for 100+ people at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. There were some borderline unforgivable behind-the-scenes issues leading up to the event, but food and service at the event itself was fantastic. The food was only good (service was amazing), but given my relatively limited budget, I thought they did a very fine job.

                    I do realize that catering is/can be very different than the food for an individual diner....

                    1. re: ilysla
                      trolley Jul 14, 2013 08:04 AM

                      i too used Patina catering once for my wedding and witnessed a major faux pas. I upgraded and paid for my wine to a better quality. At first they were serving the wine I had purchased. then after a while the wine service wasn't visible anymore and they started pouring in the kitchen and bringing wine out. I have several wine friends who commented on the wine tasting terrible. So I went back to the kitchen to check it out and lo and behold they were pouring Salmon Creek. unacceptable. So they comped me a case of the better wine but it left a terrible impression in my mind about them. if they were purposely doing this with the wine what else do they do to cut corners??

                  3. a
                    aventinus Jul 11, 2013 05:32 PM

                    Expensive and worth it: Mori Sushi. Simply the best.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: aventinus
                      j
                      jblee Jul 26, 2013 03:22 PM

                      +1

                    2. v
                      VenusCafe Jul 11, 2013 04:26 PM

                      This is just the place to complain about my recent EXPENSIVE, but NOT worth it:
                      Maison Giraud in Pacific Palisades. I was there for a Pan Bagna which was no longer on the menu. My to go order was for a roasted cod sandwich on a bun. What I got was a SLIDER size cod on a slider bun. You could barely see the cod for $22.00. Outrageous to even place it on the sandwich menu.
                      Had I not been returning from early AM eye surgery, I would have immediately taken it back, but my situation did not allow that.
                      Previously, when at the PP farmers market, we brought home some highly touted MG croissants.
                      The bakery there is heavily overpraised, the croissants were not even as good as Trader Joe's frozen ones.

                      Nobu=worth it everytime!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: VenusCafe
                        d
                        Dirtywextraolives Jul 12, 2013 12:59 PM

                        Being that what you ordered is not in season now on the west coast, most likely it was flown in from the East coast, which would explain the steep price. Not really out of line when you consider what is charged in a restaurant for Maine lobster, which is also flown in from the North Atlantic.

                      2. soniabegonia Jul 11, 2013 03:29 PM

                        worth it: pork belly sausage pizza at Milo & Olive. I happily pay for that.
                        not worth it: pretty much everything else at Milo & Olive. Their pasta dishes are ridiculously small and just not that good. Salads are also small for what you pay and boring.. yes, they use top quality ingredients but you just don't very much of it. most of their pizzas are just not that great - mushroom, panna, anchovy... all sound great on paper but pretty mediocre for the $15-20 they charge. Also, I just picked up a cookie for $2.75 - one of those large, but paper thin ones that probably cost them 10c in materials.

                        i think prices like theirs would be justifiable in a nicer setting, but the ultra-casual, loud & cramped setting just doesn't make me happy about paying those prices. Oh well... I'll just keep getting that pork sausage pizza to go.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: soniabegonia
                          j
                          john gonzales Jul 13, 2013 12:56 AM

                          That pork belly sausage pizza IS great!!
                          I like some other stuff there more than you, and don't think it's expensive enough to be on my long list of not worth it. But i do agee that it's hard to understand why so many of these new places can't provide a more comfortable setting.

                          1. re: john gonzales
                            Ciao Bob Jul 25, 2013 03:43 PM

                            Had the pork belly sausage pizza for lunch today because of this thread...really excellent toppings but the crust at M + O just doesn't do it for me (reminds me of P. Mozza's, which I also do not care much for - good flavor but not the texture I prefer). Guess I'm a Sotto man for fancy 'za, Vito's for daily 'za and still on the lookout for Sicilian 'za.

                            But it was an excellent lunch. Thanks for mentioning it, sonia and john!

                            1. re: Ciao Bob
                              k
                              kevin Jul 25, 2013 03:48 PM

                              Peppy's is great for Sicilian za !!!!

                              i joke.

                              You might just have to go to DiFara's for that, or perhaps (shudder, shudder, shudder) L & B spumoni gardens for your Siciliano fix.

                              1. re: Ciao Bob
                                j
                                john gonzales Jul 25, 2013 05:54 PM

                                I agree that the crust is somewhat akin to Mozza. My wife had similar comment about it.
                                Other than the fact that I think Sotto's crust gets mushy on some of their "zas" I like it's flavor and outer sections a lot. I especially prefer the charred crown. Their guanciale doesn't suck either.
                                M & O's is breadier, so different, but I like their flavor too. It's not for a super thin crust fan. In reality though, you are right it was the topping, especially the sausage, that made it good.

                                1. re: Ciao Bob
                                  soniabegonia Jul 25, 2013 08:48 PM

                                  yep, M&O's crust is in the same style as Mozza's (although I'm sure Nancy would like to dispute that).
                                  Haven't tried Sotto but I love all kinds of pizza--gimme M&O, Mozza, 800 Degrees, Mother Dough, Stella Barra, Clusi Batusi... as long as it's tasty and has a good chew to it, I'm happy (as long as toppings are good too, of course!) Actually, if I had to pick one style I don't much care for, it's Chicago-style. And if it's neopolitan style, make it soggy the middle! Still haven't tried Vito's.. shame on me... maybe I'll swing by tonight.

                                  1. re: soniabegonia
                                    Ciao Bob Jul 26, 2013 10:58 AM

                                    Any pizza is better than NO pizza!
                                    I love both 800 Deg. and Mother Dough. To my way of biting, they are not in the the Mozza/M&O Cracker-Crust Mold

                                    1. re: soniabegonia
                                      n
                                      ns1 Jul 26, 2013 11:58 AM

                                      I didnt like Chicago style but then I had the one from Hollywood pies and thought - "Hm, I can see the appeal of this"

                                      1. re: ns1
                                        k
                                        kevin Jul 26, 2013 12:32 PM

                                        Is their new Pico locale good ?

                              2. l
                                la2tokyo Jul 9, 2013 06:49 PM

                                Melisse = Expensive and worth it.

                                New Spago = Expensive and not worth it.

                                1. m
                                  manku Jul 9, 2013 05:13 PM

                                  Funny, I've dined at Houston's/Gulfstream/Bandera/Hillstone and while I'm almost always happy during my meal, when I get the check I wince and promise myself not to come back.

                                  I think it's just too expensive for what is essentially a "upscale" Cheesecake Factory experience. I'm not comparing the food, which is infinitely better, but rather the experience which feels very corporate and manufactured - it just doesn't feel like fine dining, but the bill does.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: manku
                                    k
                                    kevin Jul 9, 2013 05:15 PM

                                    I couldn't have put it better myself.

                                    Yes, its an "upscale" Cheesecake.

                                    1. re: manku
                                      o
                                      OCSteve Jul 9, 2013 05:27 PM

                                      Perhaps it's a question of location. I almost always go to the Irvine branch of Houston's. I have always found it to be much more quiet and pleasant than any Cheesecake Factory, which I find to be louder and more manufactured. I have never felt that corporate vibe at Houston's. Just my experience.

                                      I have found that R+D Kitchen in Newport beach can be a little loud and seems more manufactured.

                                    2. aching Jul 9, 2013 03:16 PM

                                      I may be alone in this, but I have always left Rivera feeling like it was expensive and somewhat unsatisfying. I wanted to love it, but in the end I decided it wasn't worth it.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: aching
                                        Porthos Jul 9, 2013 03:23 PM

                                        Not alone. Rivera definitely in the not worth it category for me.

                                        1. re: Porthos
                                          h
                                          Helper Monkey Jul 14, 2013 02:41 PM

                                          Totally agree. Rivera is way over-priced and over-hyped for the quality of their food.

                                        2. re: aching
                                          The Oracle Jul 30, 2013 12:05 PM

                                          agreed!

                                        3. wienermobile Jul 9, 2013 02:46 PM

                                          Cut = I don't think so.
                                          Craft = Worth it.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: wienermobile
                                            e
                                            Ernie Jul 9, 2013 04:36 PM

                                            Wholeheartedly agree with both!

                                            1. re: Ernie
                                              v
                                              VenusCafe Jul 11, 2013 05:19 PM

                                              Me too!

                                          2. f
                                            flowergirl Jul 9, 2013 07:34 AM

                                            worth it - Hatfield's - The Ivy - The Foundry on Melrose-
                                            not worth it - Melisse - Ivy at the Shore - Hungry Cat

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: flowergirl
                                              t
                                              Thor123 Jul 9, 2013 03:07 PM

                                              So there is a difference between Ivy and Ivy at the Shore. I like Ivy but have not been to the Shore.

                                              1. re: Thor123
                                                k
                                                kevin Jul 9, 2013 03:12 PM

                                                I think The Ivy is the original gangster. Maybe that's why. It would kind of make sense to me.

                                                But nowadays for an extended brunch, i.e. a brunch crawl, I like to add Ivy at the Shore to the fucking mix.

                                            2. n
                                              ns1 Jul 8, 2013 11:10 PM

                                              bazaar = expensive and not worth it
                                              langers = expensive and worth it

                                              1. f
                                                fourunder Jul 8, 2013 09:31 PM

                                                In your example provided...it's clearly worth it for you...but the possibility exists it may, or may not be worth it for others. If I were in your shoes, then it's only a question important to me and what others think is not important to me, i.e., my decisions, expectations and satisfactions, not others nor their opinions.

                                                I surmise by your example given, that you have the good fortune to have the ability and resources to experience and answer your own query for any example... by applying your own expectations, standards and satisfactions through an actual experience. Asking someone else to offer their opinion on your query, whether in the same standing as yours....or in a position not as fortunate...only opens the door for dissent and is not really relevant, especially if their tastes are not similar to yours ....as facts for the pricing are not considered or appreciated.....e.g.....I can purchase a French Dip for 6.95 and a coke for .99 @ my local pub and I don't have top leave a tip...it really does not matter if they enjoyed the $30 meal in Houston's or not. They don't acknowledge or consider the fact that Houston's has a large overhead and using Rib Eye and not Rump Roast for their roast beef doesn't make any difference to them....the cost is the bottom line.

                                                I happen to like Houston's, but I have to admit.....I'm borderline offended by their pricing.....when I have lunch there for two......with tip, it's always is in the vicinity of $150 with tip and alcohol.

                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: fourunder
                                                  JAB Jul 9, 2013 06:13 AM

                                                  And yet you return?

                                                  1. re: JAB
                                                    LA Buckeye Fan Jul 25, 2013 05:01 PM

                                                    Alas, sometimes your dining companions get to choose.

                                                    1. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                      k
                                                      kevin Jul 25, 2013 05:09 PM

                                                      Indeed they do.

                                                      Life is rough as a hound. But we must stand our ground firmly.

                                                      1. re: kevin
                                                        LA Buckeye Fan Jul 25, 2013 05:51 PM

                                                        Tru dat

                                                        1. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                          Servorg Jul 25, 2013 08:23 PM

                                                          kevin can be as Petty as anyone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvlTJr...

                                                          1. re: Servorg
                                                            k
                                                            kevin Jul 29, 2013 11:57 AM

                                                            anyhow, yeah, my bad

                                                            my not so smart phone was pretty fucked.

                                                            I'm not sure if this was the right thread but i wanted to get to an old-fashioned computer before i posted, that is if a computer can be called old-fashioned.

                                                            1. re: kevin
                                                              Servorg Jul 29, 2013 12:33 PM

                                                              Click on the youtube link to get the "Petty" reference (which was based on your "But we must stand our ground firmly." statement...)

                                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                                k
                                                                kevin Jul 29, 2013 01:25 PM

                                                                I see, Petty and the Heartbreakers. That's some great stuff right there.

                                                2. n
                                                  noshie Jul 8, 2013 08:11 PM

                                                  worth it-Nagao, Favori, Tavern (only for their turkey burger), , Stella Rossa
                                                  not worth it-Providence, Crustacean, Sotto, Waterloo & City (except for their crock of chicken liver pâté), Villetta

                                                  9 Replies
                                                  1. re: noshie
                                                    ipsedixit Jul 8, 2013 08:32 PM

                                                    I've seen everything now.

                                                    Providence and Crustacean lumped together in the same sentence. Side-by-side, no less.

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                                      n
                                                      noshie Jul 8, 2013 08:47 PM

                                                      I always loved Water Grill before he left and had many nice dinners in the space when it was Patina. However, the meal we had at Providence fell well short of expectations, which was a sentiment shared by most at the table.

                                                      Crustacean's crab and noodles are actually quite tasty, there is just not enough of it on the plate and it's just not worth the price.

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                        Porthos Jul 8, 2013 09:01 PM

                                                        "Crustacean's crab and noodles are actually quite tasty, there is just not enough of it on the plate"

                                                        No, Ipse, *now* you've seen everything.

                                                        1. re: Porthos
                                                          n
                                                          noshie Jul 8, 2013 09:23 PM

                                                          Happy to provide a fresh perspective on the topic.

                                                          I personally liked the taste of Crustacean's crab better than Newport Seafood. The wait at Newport doubtless puts me in the minority on this but hey that's what it's all about, right?

                                                          1. re: noshie
                                                            Porthos Jul 8, 2013 10:00 PM

                                                            "I personally liked the taste of Crustacean's crab better than Newport Seafood."

                                                            Okay, now *I've* heard everything! ;-) j/k!

                                                            Of course different views is what it's all about! Cheers.

                                                        2. re: ipsedixit
                                                          p
                                                          PayOrPlay Jul 9, 2013 10:13 AM

                                                          Not gonna touch Crustacean (ick). But as to Providence . . . it used to be clearly, unmistakeably worth it. But I am not so sure since the introduction of the mandatory prix-fixe. It's certainly no longer our place of choice for celebrations that include family members with small appetites: at our last meal there, what once was a reliably wonderful night of indulgence became instead an ordeal. Luxurious expensive food is one thing. A table full of expensive food that no one has room to eat--or that a couple of the diners feel obliged to gorge down--is another.

                                                        3. re: noshie
                                                          i
                                                          ilysla Jul 8, 2013 09:41 PM

                                                          Do you really find Waterloo & City that expensive? I feel like it's no more expensive than most tapas-style places. And I actually quite like the food there....

                                                          +1 for Melisse and Providence for the worth-it.

                                                          Don't think Saddle Peak Lodge is worth it if you get the buffalo (not very tasty).

                                                          1. re: ilysla
                                                            f
                                                            foodiemahoodie Jul 8, 2013 11:03 PM

                                                            I would actually put Waterloo & City as a high value place because the portions are generous.

                                                            But that's not what the O.P. was looking for.

                                                          2. re: noshie
                                                            v
                                                            VenusCafe Jul 11, 2013 05:17 PM

                                                            Unfortunately, I must concur regarding Providence. We were there several weeks ago and left very dissatisfied.
                                                            The Santa Barbara prawns were tough and overcooked, which was very disappointing since I really looked forward to them.
                                                            They even took them off our bill. Everything else was only so so. There was only one outstanding dish between the three of us, the morels with spinach. Delicious, but hardly enough to justify the total cost.

                                                          3. g
                                                            granadafan Jul 8, 2013 07:58 PM

                                                            Expensive and not worth it:
                                                            Red O

                                                            We had such high expectations and came with a party of 6, but left much lighter in the wallet and still a bit hungry afterwards.

                                                            1. f
                                                              foodiemahoodie Jul 8, 2013 05:24 PM

                                                              I've never had an expensive "bad" meal. Some very good, but not special enough to warrant the price, some good, bu still mediocre ones, followed by a disappointing meal where I feel a bit sullied and cheated.

                                                              Mori and Ursawa are both expensive. Both fun, no regrets, but too pricey? I'd say yes. Melisse used to be a relative bargain, now, not so much. Worth it, absolutely. Just not the bargain it used to be.

                                                              n/naka can be a relative bargain too.

                                                              Went to Kiriko and got 3 omakases, saki and the bill ended up close to $500 and it was only sushi. Good, but not Mori. I won't be back.

                                                              I've been to some pop-ups that were fairly priced, but the food just wasn't stellar - Ludo Bites for one. Looking forward to Trois Mec where he can have control over his environment.

                                                              Giorgio's - never had a bad meal, but come on with those prices! Same with Capo. Too effing expensive.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                                                m
                                                                maudies5 Jul 8, 2013 05:53 PM

                                                                Agree that Capo is too expensive. However, the food is excellent. Madeo is as satisfying and the prices are not insultingly high.

                                                                1. re: maudies5
                                                                  k
                                                                  kevin Jul 8, 2013 05:58 PM

                                                                  Madeo is insultingly high, and yet I still go there.

                                                                  Maybe I just like the whole package of the place. Though it does feel too stuffy for me at times, which is why I like eating at the bar often over there.

                                                                  1. re: maudies5
                                                                    l
                                                                    latindancer Jul 10, 2013 10:15 PM

                                                                    I agree. The food is excellent and it's very expensive. I don't mind (ever) paying too much for excellent food.
                                                                    However, when I've found a large, thin bone in my soup and the manager and owner are indifferent to my concern of having it, if not noticed before swallowing it, lodge in my throat...then I'll not return. Ever again.

                                                                  2. re: foodiemahoodie
                                                                    k
                                                                    kevin Jul 8, 2013 05:57 PM

                                                                    your sentiments on giorgio applies with me on both madeo (but i do like more of the food at madeo) and tana's.

                                                                    here's the thing, the eggplt parm at madeo is pretty good, but the one at tana's is just ok in an americanized way.

                                                                  3. Will Owen Jul 8, 2013 04:42 PM

                                                                    The French Dip is only $5 more than I used to pay at the original (and now defunct) Houston's in Nashville about thirty years ago for a somewhat better version, the open-faced Prime Rib sandwich that was everyone's lunch favorite. That and a glass of wine, or a beer - remember the times! - was how I'd treat myself for a particularly good paycheck. It was expen$ive then and it is now, but I'm sure it's worth it.

                                                                    Steak fries or skinny?

                                                                    1. d
                                                                      Dirtywextraolives Jul 8, 2013 03:21 PM

                                                                      Worth it:
                                                                      Craft
                                                                      Melisse
                                                                      Nobu
                                                                      Dan Tanas

                                                                      Not worth it:
                                                                      Mr. Chow
                                                                      Giorgio Baldi
                                                                      The Ivy
                                                                      The Chart House
                                                                      Gladstones

                                                                      18 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                                        b
                                                                        Bradbury Jul 8, 2013 07:10 PM

                                                                        Re: The Chart House and Gladstones - I think you can extrapolate a bit and say that most "upscale waterfront dining" places fall in the category of "expensive and not worth it"

                                                                        First of all, you're paying a 25-50% premium for the waterfront view; second of all, you're looking at a menu designed not to challenge the comfort zones of, well, the sort of folks most happily inclined to pay a 25-50% waterfront premium.

                                                                        1. re: Bradbury
                                                                          d
                                                                          Dirtywextraolives Jul 9, 2013 11:19 AM

                                                                          And your point is....... That my suggestions are wrong?!

                                                                          Sorry, just don't get it. You are stating the obvious, and I gather you think I am too?

                                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                                            b
                                                                            Bradbury Jul 9, 2013 04:06 PM

                                                                            Nope, not implying you're wrong. (OK, I could quibble a little bit about Dan Tana's, but otherwise your list makes fine sense to me)

                                                                            Was just posting a corollary thesis, not an antithesis.

                                                                          2. re: Bradbury
                                                                            f
                                                                            foodiemahoodie Jul 9, 2013 04:25 PM

                                                                            Best for drinks.

                                                                            It's almost like having a view is a prerequisite for mediocrity.

                                                                            I dined at the Post Ranch Inn's fine dining restaurant earlier this year. Did their tasting menu. Fantastic view! Tremendous. As good as the food totally sucked.

                                                                            1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                                                              d
                                                                              Dirtywextraolives Jul 9, 2013 07:25 PM

                                                                              You mean DT's?

                                                                              I'm surprised to hear re: PRI, wonder if they got a new chef since we had been there a few years back, we found the meal to be great.... But then again, our meal across the way at the Ventana Inn was even better......

                                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                                                Searching4Dunny Jul 25, 2013 04:18 PM

                                                                                There was grit in my morels last time I was at PRI. Decent pasta - but the morels had an unpleasant crunch every few minutes. Nice view though!

                                                                                1. re: Searching4Dunny
                                                                                  k
                                                                                  kevin Jul 25, 2013 04:20 PM

                                                                                  Grit in the morels ? And I'm thinking you don't mean stone ground grits from the south ?

                                                                                  in which case, check please.

                                                                                  did they replace the dish or anything of the sort ?????

                                                                                  1. re: kevin
                                                                                    Searching4Dunny Jul 27, 2013 02:53 PM

                                                                                    Not not the Southern grits. That would have been enjoyable.

                                                                                    I sent the dish back and they took it off the bill. Wasn't really hungry after that.

                                                                          3. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                                            v
                                                                            VenusCafe Jul 11, 2013 05:50 PM

                                                                            I don't think Gladstones is still Gladstones

                                                                            1. re: VenusCafe
                                                                              d
                                                                              Dirtywextraolives Jul 11, 2013 06:06 PM

                                                                              Okay.... Not sure what you mean. Care to elaborate?

                                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                                                v
                                                                                VenusCafe Jul 13, 2013 09:17 AM

                                                                                Sorry my neighbor told me that Gladstones had closed,
                                                                                but I went by there and did not see any indication of that.

                                                                                1. re: VenusCafe
                                                                                  wienermobile Jul 13, 2013 09:21 AM

                                                                                  Gladstones is one of the most successful restaurants in Los Angeles despite the food. It's still is owned by Richard Riordan, former Mayor of Los Angeles. As of just a while ago it was the 37th highest grossing independent restaurant in the country. The only thing that would make them close is if it burnt to the ground.

                                                                                  1. re: wienermobile
                                                                                    A5 KOBE Jul 13, 2013 09:31 AM

                                                                                    The one did close, in Universal City Walk.

                                                                                    1. re: A5 KOBE
                                                                                      wienermobile Jul 13, 2013 09:35 AM

                                                                                      The Pacific Palisades location is a different owners and company than the Long Beach and Universal Studio's City Walk locations.

                                                                                    2. re: wienermobile
                                                                                      k
                                                                                      kevin Jul 13, 2013 11:20 AM

                                                                                      Yeah.

                                                                                      The apocalypse would be upon us before that slop house with a great view closes.

                                                                                      1. re: wienermobile
                                                                                        d
                                                                                        Dirtywextraolives Jul 13, 2013 02:28 PM

                                                                                        Yes, I thought SBE owned the one on the beach now. Still as crowded as ever. Freaking gold mine.....

                                                                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                                                          t
                                                                                          Thor123 Jul 13, 2013 02:51 PM

                                                                                          The Nazarian people did buy it I believe.

                                                                                          1. re: Thor123
                                                                                            wienermobile Jul 13, 2013 03:23 PM

                                                                                            SBE runs it but Riordan owns it.

                                                                              2. t
                                                                                Thor123 Jul 8, 2013 03:06 PM

                                                                                Expensive and worth it:

                                                                                Yamakasi
                                                                                Madeo
                                                                                Dan Tanas

                                                                                Expensive and Not Worth it:

                                                                                Fig & Olive

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Thor123
                                                                                  k
                                                                                  kevin Jul 8, 2013 05:55 PM

                                                                                  See I don't know if either Dan Tana's or Madeo is worth it, and yet I really like those places.

                                                                                  And know I like Tana's even more for drinking.

                                                                                  But then again, I think that Madea is way way way overpriced and yet I continue to go there. Close to 30 bucks for a cheese pizza, or close to 20 bucks for an eggplant parm is way expensive. But then again, their pizzas is better than a lot of the neapolitan, or florence style thin crusts around town (i'm lopping all the thin crusts together, yeah, i know there could be an extensive discussion on these types of pizzas). and there desserts are incredibly expensive too,

                                                                                  maybe just like tana's i'm spending loads upon loads more for the enviroment, i.e. the old world, red sauce italian atmpshere. ????????????????

                                                                                2. m
                                                                                  maudies5 Jul 8, 2013 02:51 PM

                                                                                  Toscana is expensive and worth it.
                                                                                  Peppone is expensive and not worth it.

                                                                                  1. o
                                                                                    OCSteve Jul 8, 2013 01:56 PM

                                                                                    +1 on Houston's. In all the years I've been going there, I've only had one subpar meal (bad piece of fish on a sandwich).

                                                                                    Love their beef dip, although I skip the fries for braised red cabbage. I also love their Thai Steak Noodle Salad.

                                                                                    I will also add THE RANCH in Anaheim to the "worth it" category. All-in (cocktails, food, wine), I've never gotten out of there for less than $250 per couple, but they also have one of the best steaks I've ever had.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: OCSteve
                                                                                      Porthos Jul 8, 2013 07:53 PM

                                                                                      +1 wine list at The Ranch.

                                                                                      ~1.5x markup for the wines I was interested in. Lowest markup I have ever seen in LA. Even found some prized bottles at 50-60% under current retail!

                                                                                      Expensive but oh so worth it.

                                                                                      1. re: OCSteve
                                                                                        c
                                                                                        ccmccall Jul 10, 2013 10:08 AM

                                                                                        The Thai Steak salad! So incredibly incomparably good! Yes! I regularly prowl the internet for an accurate "copycat" recipe -- no luck yet and I've been trying for years!

                                                                                        1. re: ccmccall
                                                                                          aching Jul 10, 2013 11:54 AM

                                                                                          I think what makes that salad so good is the quality of the steak - it's always perfectly trimmed, succulent, and juicy. Yum.

                                                                                      2. JAB Jul 8, 2013 01:50 PM

                                                                                        In the same vein, R&D Kitchen. Every time, it's initial sticker shock followed by but, it was satisfying.

                                                                                        1. f
                                                                                          Fig Newton Jul 8, 2013 01:47 PM

                                                                                          Expensive and worth it = Gjelina, Tar & Roses.

                                                                                          Expensive and not worth it = Superba Snack Bar.

                                                                                          I know many people love SSB, but I tried it for the first time a few weeks ago and just felt like the meal was ok, and I felt so ripped off. Heirloom Tomato Salad + Papardelle w/ Ragu + 1 glass of Rose was $45 pre-tip. I understand the cost associated with local, carefully sourced & housemade foods. But nothing wowed me, and I left deeply dissatisfied with the cost.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Fig Newton
                                                                                            cookie monster Jul 8, 2013 03:12 PM

                                                                                            Agree on Superba Snack Bar in the expensive and not worth it category. I went a couple times after it first opened and I really wanted to love it, but some of the prices seemed way too high for extremely small portions, local and housemade notwithstanding as you say.

                                                                                          2. blimpbinge Jul 8, 2013 12:26 PM

                                                                                            I'll add onto houstons and say.. it is worth it, the french dip is very good, and their steaks and prime rib are good.

                                                                                            What isn't worth it? waiting 2hrs in line every time i go there. Maybe i'll just try weeknights from now on.

                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: blimpbinge
                                                                                              The Oracle Jul 8, 2013 01:03 PM

                                                                                              Apparently, they take reservations now! I went recently (at the request of the b'day guest) and waited 70 minutes for a table (!!). They even TIMED it to make sure we waited that long vs. other places that estimate and then give you a table (sometimes more quickly than the estimated time).

                                                                                              I had the exact opposite reaction to the food, though (which, for the record, I used to love when they first opened). I had a burger and I thought it was chain-like, expensive, and NOT worth it. (Haven't had their French Dip, though!)

                                                                                              1. re: The Oracle
                                                                                                o
                                                                                                OCSteve Jul 8, 2013 01:48 PM

                                                                                                They do take reservations. The Irvine location even accepts them through Urban Spoon. Not sure about other locations.

                                                                                                1. re: The Oracle
                                                                                                  blimpbinge Jul 8, 2013 02:37 PM

                                                                                                  The pasadena location has (or had?) a policy that only allows reservations for parties with at least 6 guests. I have not gone recently though.

                                                                                                  1. re: blimpbinge
                                                                                                    The Oracle Jul 8, 2013 02:46 PM

                                                                                                    Pasadena location said they took reservations for any party size - FYI

                                                                                                    1. re: The Oracle
                                                                                                      blimpbinge Jul 8, 2013 03:03 PM

                                                                                                      looks like their policy changed.

                                                                                                      if you search the word "reservation" on their yelp, it's like a roller coaster, some saying they don't take it even as recent as this and last month.

                                                                                                      1. re: blimpbinge
                                                                                                        The Oracle Jul 9, 2013 10:51 AM

                                                                                                        Interesting - my visit was mid June. The hostess seating us informed our wearing looking faces that we could have made a reservation.

                                                                                                        1. re: The Oracle
                                                                                                          blimpbinge Jul 9, 2013 03:50 PM

                                                                                                          Yes, it is interesting.

                                                                                              2. o
                                                                                                ozhead Jul 8, 2013 12:10 PM

                                                                                                Expensive and always worth it: Saddle Peak Lodge.

                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: ozhead
                                                                                                  wienermobile Jul 8, 2013 12:26 PM

                                                                                                  ...agree with both Saddle Peak & Park's BBQ and I would add Langer's.

                                                                                                  1. re: ozhead
                                                                                                    cookie monster Jul 8, 2013 01:40 PM

                                                                                                    Saddle Peak was my first thought. Yes, the food is good to excellent, but the setting, the service and the whole experience of going there just make a special occasion feel truly special.

                                                                                                    1. re: ozhead
                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                      selfportrait93 Jul 8, 2013 01:59 PM

                                                                                                      Saddle Peak indoor dining....worth it. Outdoors, so not worth it.

                                                                                                      1. re: ozhead
                                                                                                        b
                                                                                                        beaubourne Jul 9, 2013 04:03 PM

                                                                                                        couldn't agree more. i just wrote a new post questioning Saddle Peak's omission from Jon Gold's 101 Best Restaurants in LA list. you should check it out.

                                                                                                      2. A5 KOBE Jul 8, 2013 11:47 AM

                                                                                                        But the fries are pretty bad at Houston's.

                                                                                                        Worth it: Park's BBQ

                                                                                                        Not worth it: Street

                                                                                                        Show Hidden Posts