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Jul 8, 2013 11:38 AM

Expensive and worth it versus Expensive and not worth it

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???

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  1. But the fries are pretty bad at Houston's.

    Worth it: Park's BBQ

    Not worth it: Street

    1. Expensive and always worth it: Saddle Peak Lodge.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ozhead

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

        1. re: ozhead

          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

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

            1. re: ozhead

              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. 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

                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

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

                  1. re: The Oracle

                    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

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

                      1. re: The Oracle

                        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

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

                2. 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

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