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Near Music Center early Sunday evening??

josephnl Dec 2, 2013 09:46 PM

We'll be attending a matinee performance at Disney Hall next Sunday and would like to have an early dinner (no later than 5 pm) with visiting friends right nearby. Is there anything good in the immediate area that's open at that time? Is Kendall's Brasserie at the music center decent? It doesn't have to be terrific, but good food and good drinks in a pleasant environment would be just fine. Is there anything?

  1. b
    brandygirl Dec 2, 2013 10:12 PM

    Yes, Kendall's fits your requirements. Although there are better restaurants downtown (Rivera being a favorite of mine), Kendall's is my usual go-to place when I am going to Disney Hall or the Music Center. It's convenient, the food is good, and everyone I've eaten with at the restaurant has enjoyed it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: brandygirl
      Jwsel Dec 3, 2013 10:02 PM

      After a series of horrible meals at Kendall's, I was dragged there for lunch after court a few times this past year by a client and then went for dinner when the plaza got to cold one night. I was pleasantly surprised. It's not great, but it is serviceable and is convenient.

      You also might consider going to Noe at the Omni. It's a short walk from Disney Hall down Grand. You can enter the hotel from Grand.

    2. j
      jesstifer Dec 3, 2013 12:03 AM

      Kendall's isn't terrific, but it's really quite good, and is one of the very few restaurants open in that awkward "after matinee" hour downtown (Rivera, for example, doesn't open till 5:30). There are usually a few members of the LA Phil there before and after concerts (and certainly in-between shows on Sunday) so that's handy for impressing the visiting friends.

      But if you want to impress them with food rather than cellists, Water Grill opens at 4:00 on Sundays, five or six steep (downhill) blocks away.

      If you do Kendall's, make a reservation. They're really good at handling a pre- and post-concert rush, but you don't want to be the last-minute people sitting in the bar. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

      1. ipsedixit Dec 3, 2013 08:02 AM



        Do not go to Kendall's.

        If you want to eat in a nice setting go to First & Hope instead (opens 4:30 on Sunday). Food not great, and in many instances spectacularly mediocre, but in comparison to Kendall's it feels like The French Laundry.

        Something a bit more casual, is Pinot Grill right in the courtyard.

        There are shuttles that run regularly from the various restaurants in/around DTLA that will take you to the MC, but I can totally understand if you don't want to deal with that hassle, but if you do, repost ...

        1. The Oracle Dec 3, 2013 03:10 PM

          This was years ago, but I had an absolutely horrific meal at Kendall's (food-wise). I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole. Are you looking for something within walking distance?

          1 Reply
          1. re: The Oracle
            Jack Flash Dec 3, 2013 03:40 PM

            There have been several chef changes over the years, but they seem to be much more competently staffed now. I had lunch there a few weeks ago. Not great, but definitely a lot better than it used to be.

            On the other hand, my mom recently went there and ordered the well-regarded mussels, and at least 8 of them didn't open. That's just too many, IMHO.

          2. j
            jesstifer Dec 3, 2013 05:06 PM

            With all due respect, an equally emphatic NOOOO to First and Hope. I have had spectacularly mediocre food and spectacularly worse service both times I made the mistake of going there. Also, while some people love the purple/blue lighting in the place, it makes me feel like I'm trapped in a tanning bed or a bug zapper.

            Wife and I are at Disney Hall all the time, and, sadly, there is zero "immediate area" food that's great. Kendall's has upped its game the last few years, and while not great, IMHO currently has food as serviceable as Pinot Grill, and much more atmosphere. Oh, and bigger drink pours. Caveat: I was never a huge fan of the Pinot brand.

            Again, if a ten minute walk or short cab/drive is a possibility, you can upgrade from "decent" to "terrific" by going to Water Grill. (They used to have a free shuttle to/from the Music Center/Disney Hall, but alas no more.)

            1. k
              kevin Dec 3, 2013 05:14 PM

              is Otto's still there ?

              I think it's right under the Music Center.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kevin
                JAB Dec 3, 2013 05:21 PM

                I believe that Kendall's is where Otto's used to be. Man, Otto's had a great double cut pork chop.

              2. d
                djquinnc Dec 3, 2013 07:51 PM

                Although you are probably looking for a sit-down experience, I have come to really appreciate the taco stand right next to the cafe on the north side of the Music Center courtyard. After being burned by the promise of Kendall's so many times, this has been a welcomed sigh of relief - a plate of tacos next to the fountain has proven to be most satisfactory for pre-show grub.

                2 Replies
                1. re: djquinnc
                  jesstifer Dec 3, 2013 08:15 PM

                  +1 on the taco stand. Excellent al pastor.

                  The OP is looking for dinner and drinks with friends, though. They could theoretically take a few tacos over to the outdoor bar and have a fine time (I've done that). But note that it's going to be FREAKING COLD this Sunday (Hi 55, lo 39) and it'll be near dark by the time the matinee gets out. Those metal chairs by the fountain? Brr.

                  In fact, the weather factor is making me re-think the wisdom of a 10 minute stroll down to Water Grill. Unless of course the visiting guests are from Fargo, in which case, balmy!

                  Nope. It's Kendall's or nothin'.

                  1. re: jesstifer
                    josephnl Dec 3, 2013 08:34 PM

                    I suspect you're right. We want comfort, good drinks and acceptable food. We know that Kendall's will not be great, but it's probably the best choice for us.

                    By the way, although we absolutely loved the Water Grill in its previous iteration, we are very underwhelmed by the new WG...we find it terribly expensive for the casual, noisy, and just pretty good seafood restaurant it has become. What was previously a very classy special occasion restaurant that was expensive, but well worth it...is now, IMHO a very overpriced and good, but unexceptional, restaurant.

                2. n
                  New Trial Dec 4, 2013 01:01 AM

                  You might consider Nick & Stef's Steakhouse, just down the street in the Wells Fargo Center. A far better option than Kendall's.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: New Trial
                    TonyC Dec 4, 2013 09:07 AM

                    Based on op's responses, it would seem Nick/Stef is the only choice.

                    When by Music Center, Blue Cow Kitchen is my default, but they ain't open Sundays.

                  2. f
                    FranklinJefferson Dec 4, 2013 09:27 AM

                    Border Grill Downtown offers a free shuttle to/from Disney Hall when dining and they open at 4pm on Sundays.

                    1. j
                      jesstifer Dec 4, 2013 10:28 AM

                      Nick and Stef's is a pretty good idea. Didn't know they opened at 4:30 on Sunday, will have to remember that. Again, Patina brand, of which I'm not that much a fan.

                      Ironically, While looking up N&S, I just discovered that Kendall's is now operated by Patina Group. So there ya go.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jesstifer
                        Jack Flash Dec 4, 2013 10:43 AM

                        Oh, it's been a Patina Group restaurant for the better part of 10 years now.

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