Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >

Food Scrounger's Profile

Title Last Reply

Wexler's Deli - Yesterday

It's the food that meets that description, even if the owner doesn't. And, you're right, Jonathan Gold is not clueless; that was, unfortunately, an overstatement.

Wexler's Deli - Yesterday

Seem that Jonathan Gold is clueless. His recommendations are uniformly off kilter.

Wexler's Deli - Yesterday

Wexler's is a yuppie deli, taking advantage of the new Grand Central market which, sadly, is quickly losing its true character as it gentrifies in the worst of ways.

This is goyish deli food and, as one poster accurately said, the bread is awful and the pastrami over cooked, not to mention that it's so spicy that it hardly tastes like the real thing.

Wexler's is not even in the same planetary system as Langer's. The long lines are inexplicable.

Orsa and Winston

We went recently and completely disappointed. We ordered the fiver-course dinner and found the entire meal to be mediocre.

The seafood starter was tasteless and so was the risotto course; the lamb was a bit better. But nothing stood out. Mediocre is the word.

And, even worse, the presentation is pretentious: Mediocre food served pretentiously is worse than just mediocre food.

To make matters worse, the pacing of the meal was awful. The waits between courses seemed interminable, so much so that our party actually contemplated paying and leaving before the main course was served! As we were about to get up and ask for the check, the main course arrived---it was lamb belly. I found it good; others at our table found it average.

The final insult: The tab was way way too high for what was served and for the way it was served.

The ambience of the restaurant: Plain.

We would never consider returning. I would be very much surprised if the restaurant is there a year from now.

Mediocre Bouchon

I love Balthazar for its atmosphere, and I go for breakfast. Great breakfasts, great atmosphere. Transports me to Paris.

As for big name chef restaurants, I'm a fan of Osteria Mozza. Like the food and the feel.

Osteria Mozza
6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Mediocre Bouchon

The reason: Clients wanted to try it and the restaurant was convenient for purposes of meetings with clients. Otherwise, I'd never go. And, each time I went, I was hoping and hoping that the food would improve. It didn't.

Mediocre Bouchon

Balthazar is way, way better than Bouchon BH. They can't even be mentioned in the same breath.

Mediocre Bouchon

Seems to me that when a restaurant is opened under the auspices of a famous chef, the reviews should not be mixed. There should not be any so-so's, mediocre, just average comments. With rare exception, the reviews should be positive---across the board.

I believe the growing trend where famous chefs attach their names to restaurants in which they do not cook is leading to a singular conclusion: rip off.

In my view, Bouchon in Beverly Hills just doesn't measure up with anything that is better than mediocre. The same is true of other famous-chef establishments, Craft being a good example.

Bouchon is ok, but not up to the reputation of its chef. Not even close.

I've patronized too many of these famous-chef restaurants, with mediocre outcomes. Time to move on to simpler, cheaper and better alternatives. There are so many excellent local LA restaurants, where the chefs are really trying and producing good food. Why allow oneself to be ripped off?

Mediocre Bouchon

I agree. The food is average, at best. I've been there several times and never experienced a single dish that is above average.

No Big Deal

Also, El Parian.

El Parian
155 E 7th St, Oxnard, CA 93030

No Big Deal

Lately, I've been loving La Teresita in East Los Angeles. I also continue to enjoy the tapa platters served in the bar at the old El Cholo on Western Avenue. Many more, but not much time to respond at this point.

No Big Deal

Amongst the dishes we had were the following:

**Guacamole: It was ok.
**Tamales: Dry, tastless, awful---bordering on the inedible.
**Quesos Fundidos: A pile of overly-spicy, cheesy goo. With great regret, I'm still tasting this slop almost 24 hours after I ate it, and I never have that problem. There is not an ounce of imagination in this dish.
**Enchiladas Suizas: Ok, but nothing to rave about.
**Tacos al Carbon: Ok, but, again, nothing that would bring me back.
**Polo en Mole: The same.

The deserts were ok as well.

As I said, there is nothing about this restaurant that would even begin to warrant the pretention of exclusivity that the two outer doormen are apparently designed to achieve. Either Rick Bayless is not the chef his reputation merits; or, he has nothing to do with this restaurant other than lending his name; or, the execution of his recipes is substandard. No matter how viewed, his reputation is not served by this establishment.

No Big Deal

We were really looking forward to experiencing this restaurant. We went this evening.

Our assessment: Blah to blah-minus.

The first thing we noticed is the transparent effort to appear trendy and exclusive. Unbelievably, they have a doorman standing outside the restaurant for the apparent purpose of making sure that persons actually have a reservation. It's like having a bouncer-doorman at an exclusive club. The pretense is off-putting and, when we experienced the food, the pretense appeared more like a joke. Snooty might work if the food were really great; it's a travesty when the food doesn't measure up. Here, the food doesn't measure up.

The food here is a serious disappointment. There were four of us and each had a different dish, with all of us sharing tastes. As for me, the only dish that was really delicious was the pork belly appetizer. After that, everything went downhill.

The biggest problem is that there was nothing subtle about the food. It was greasy and overly spiced. Even if I had unlimited free meals, I wouldn't think of returning, nor would anyone else in our party.

I can think of 10-15 Los Angeles Mexican restaurants that have much better (and subtler) food than Red O, at a tenth of the price. But, how foolish of me to think that a Chicago chef could come to Los Angeles, add his star name to a restaurant and to expect that he would really know how to prepare Mexican food. This stuff that passes as Mexican food might sell well in Chicago, but not here.

Red O furnishes an all star-name, with a nice atmosphere, attracting a moderately glitzy crowd, but with mediocre food.

The service, however, was quite good.

It would amaze me if this restaurant were still here a year from now. It serves no useful purpose.

Red O
8155 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Belvedere Restaurant, Peninsula Hotel: Way, way overrated!

Travel & Leisure Magazine reported this was the best hotel restaurant in the country. If that's true, then woe to hotel restaurants.

We dined at Belvedere last Saturday night. The restaurant is elegant and understated. Most importantly, it's quiet. And, the service is good. So, the restaurant would be a nice choice if the food were outstanding.

It's not. There were six in our party. All agreed: The food was average, at best. All of us had different dishes, so we sampled a pretty broad selection. Yet, everything was tasteless.

Even worse, the meal was exhorbitantly expensive.

If you're looking for a Los Angeles restaurant, you can do way better than Belvedere---and, at a much lower price.

Don't hurry to this establishment.

Looking for an off-strip locals, but excellent, restaurant in Las Vegas

We've been to Las Vegas a zillion times over the years and have always chosen Strip, big-name restaurants, without venturing into non-tourist RestaurantLand.

We're interested in knowing whether there is a local Italian restaurant that is worth a visit.

Thanks in advance for any guidance.

Jul 08, 2008
Food Scrounger in Las Vegas

Does "Cut" Play Reservation Games? [moved from LA board]

Recently, the Los Angeles Times published an article about various high-flying restaurants that purport to take reservations only during exceptionally early or exceptionally later hours, supposedly being "booked" solid at other times. When the Times reporters went to the restaurants during more popular dining hours, they found there was plenty of available seating (with some of the supposedly busy restaurants being almost empty).

For the past two months, we have attempted to get a reservation at Cut. We were told each time that there was no reservation available during the 7pm to 8pm time slots; all that was available were the very early or the very late hours. We were told that, if we wanted a reservation at 7:30 or 8, we should call 30-days in advance. We did so. No luck. Still, no availability during any of the popular dining hours.

Is Cut playing games, reserving its best times for persons it perceives to be VIPs? And, is Cut even worth the trouble?


Food Scrounger

Dec 11, 2007
Food Scrounger in Not About Food

Bastide: Stay away, an unpleasant dining experience.

The letter was a polite, straightforward report on the evening---what transpired that caused us to be hugely disappointed. It was not angry; it was factual. The tone was that Mr. Pytka should know what occurred so that he would be better able to address the issues and, hopefully, correct the problems. Remember: We have been going to restaurants situated in the Bastide location for about 30 years, starting with one of our favorites, Le Restaurant. We really loved having Bastide return; we loved being able to dine at that location. We really wanted the place to get its act together.

Bastide: Stay away, an unpleasant dining experience.

Here's a follow-up on my original post. As I said, we voiced our concerns to the manager on the night in question and, given our concerns and uniform disappointment, we thought it appropriate to send a letter to the owner, Joe Pytka. Our purpose in writing the owner was to let him know how six diners perceived our evening. Our goal was to induce improvement, so that a restaurant that all of us had previously loved in each of its prior incarnations might get its act together.

Today, we received an envelope on Bastide stationery. There was no accompanying letter. All that was in the envelope was a copy two credit card receipts (my partner and I split the bill, treating another partner and his wife in celebration of his recent marriage), indicating that the restaurant had fully credited us for the cost of the meal

While I believe a full credit was appropriate under the circumstances, I would have much preferred a letter apologizing for the evening and indicating that Bastide would try harder in the future.

That's it. Classy establishment?

Bastide: Stay away, an unpleasant dining experience.

We wrote. No response yet.

Bastide: Stay away, an unpleasant dining experience.

We were ready to ask for the bill for quite some time, but no one from the waiting staff approached us. We were in the "chef's table" room. After waiting an intolerably long period of time, I got up from the table and went to search for someone to give us the bill. That's when I voiced our complaint.

Bastide: Stay away, an unpleasant dining experience.


Thanks for all your comments. Since we opted to have the chef "cook for us," we received about 9 courses, with wine pairings. We expected a wonderful evening. We didn't receive that. Far from it.

As I said, one course was served without wine---the wine for that course arriving after the course was completed. As for another course, wine glasses were set up, but the wine never came. Empty wine glasses from prior servings were left on the table through several courses.

As for the quality of the food, the opinions in our group varied. Some thought some of the dishes were excellent; others thought some dishes were o.k.; some disliked some of the dishes. I'm not going to describe each dish, except I will say that, of the nine courses, the first five were fish/seafood. All of us thought that was boring and unimaginitive.

We've eaten at French Laundry. There is a vast difference between the leisurely pace of a meal there and the meal we had at Bastide. The difference is that, between courses at the French Laundry, you can enjoy a glass of wine in the garden, returning to your table when you're ready for the next course. We were not in the patio at Bastide and we had no choice about the pace. There were lengthy, unexplained gaps between courses; this was coupled with missed wine pairings and, on some courses, non-existent explanations as to the contents of the course and the wines. All of us agreed, the pace was simply too slow---by any standard. Long period went by with no waiter, no nothing; the most attentive person was the man who filled our sparkling water glasses. After the first serving of bread, we never say the bread person again until we asked. There were long delays between our sole meat course (a delicious slow-cooked beef) and dessert; and coffee was offered long after dessert, when all of us were worn out. We even had to wait a considerable period of time to find a waiter to bring us a check.

What a restaurant of this caliber should be selling is wonderful food plus wonderful service. This should equal a wonderful experience. The experience is a giant part of the meal. This one was painful. A restaurant of this caliber should never have customers begging to get out. We couldn't wait to get out.

We did complain that evening. The manager agreed the pacing was poor, apologized profusely and stated she was discounting the bill by half. She didn't. The total cost: $1,600 after the supposed 50% discount. This would mean that a meal for six would, but for the discount, have cost $3,200. Even though the service was awful, an 18% gratuity was included; we had no option to reward or not reward for the poor service we received. Given our complaint, it seems to me that if the restaurant felt the service should be compensated, it (not us) should have paid the gratuity.

As for the food, I'll give a few personal comments regarding my two visits to the restaurant. On my fist visit, I enjoyed the three-step "taco" opener; we got it again the second time. I find that once is enough. One of our first courses was octopus cerviche; I found it overly spiced. On our fist visit, our main course was duck; we found it tasteless. On this visit, the only meat dish was slow-cooked beef; I love it, but the meal had by then descened so far downhill that it was hard to enjoy. I loved the chocolate dessert. All the rest was good to acceptable, but not, in my view, outstanding.

I hope my 6-month prediction is wrong, as I'd love nothing more than to see this restaurant make it, providing it gets its act together. One thing is clear: I have no plans to go back.

That's all for now.

Sweet Lady Jane's

We have just stopped going there. And, with the exception of triple-berry (which is delicious), we don't think SLJ sweets are all that great.

Bastide: Stay away, an unpleasant dining experience.

We just returned home from an awful dining experience at Bastide. This was our second visit to the restaurant.

We have been dining at the Bastide space for about 25-30 years, starting when the restaurant was Le Restaurant. We always loved the space and wished every restaurant that opened there nothing but the best.

Our first meal at Bastide was about a month ago. Four of us dined there and found the food good, with some dishes mediocre and others quite good. After the meal, each of the four concluded the meal was nothing special and concluded we would not likely return.

My wife and I decided to try it again. Hence, tonight's meal with two other couples. All I can say is that it was painful. We were asked if we'd like to have the chef "cook for us." We agreed and asked for a wine pairing as well. Big mistake!

We started at 7:30 and ended after midnight. The meal was horribly paced, with long gaps between courses, with no waiters in sight. A dinner with wine pairings should mean that the proper wine will be served with each course. On one occasion, the course was served and the wine for that course did not arrive until after the course was completed. As the meal progressed, the gaps between courses grew painfully long; the explanations as to what each course contained disappeared and so did the wine descriptions. What should have been a special, wonderful experience turned into an unpleasant experience. Each of us couldn't wait to get out of the place.

And, to make matters worse, the food is just so-so. Nothing great. Some courses were quite tasty and others were ordinary. When coupled with the awful pacing, I would rate the meal a "C" at best. And, the meal was extremely expensive to boot.

Bottom line: The restaurant does not have it together.

My prediction: The restaurant won't be in business in six months.

My recommendation: Go somewhere else. This place is a loser.

Rate these Santa Fe spots, please

We just ate at the new Coyote Cafe last night. It was virtually empty---almost spooky in the absence of people. The food was ok, not outstanding.

Aug 28, 2007
Food Scrounger in Southwest


The burger is served as an appetizer only. It is tiny. It was decent, but nothing to rave about. In and Out is better.

French 75

Just ate at French75 Brasserie about 10 days ago. I didn't like the restaurant---too noisy and way too much bustle; bad live music. However, I have to admit, the steaks were very good and the twice baked potato was excellent. However, I won't return, as the noise negatively outweighed any goodness in the steak. Also, parking in Century City on a weekend night is a complete pain.

When we made the reservation, the person who took it was quite specific that the dress code was nice business casual; not jeans, etc. When we arrived, nicely dressed as requested, we were shocked to see what they allowed people to wear---scuzzy, sights for sore eyes.

I don't mind casual. But I do dislike being told to dress up when, in fact, the restaurant has no dress code.

Our waiter was a joke. He tried to be so, so sophisticated; yet, he couldn't correctly pronounce half of what he was saying.

If you want a restaurant that tries to be a French bistro (but doesn't make it), if you want noise and if you want to eat with people who just attended the movies but look like they fell out of bed, try this place. You'll get a good steak, at a very hefty price. You can do better.

Mastro's Steakhouse

Just had a very good steak at French75 in Century City. Despite the very good steak, I wouldn't return. The restaurant was way too noisy and seemed liked a factory.


We had the junk food sampler and the iron chef burger. The burger was ok; the junk food sampler was a gimmick---so so at best.

I'm at a loss to explain why this place is so crowded. But, each to his own.

simons restaurant

We couldn't agree more. The food was simply awful. We, too, had the mac and cheese; it was maybe the worst I'd ever had; I, too, would choose packaged mac and cheese over the Simon version.

I ordered the meatloaf, which they call: The "meatloaf." I asked the waitress about it and it was hawked as one of Simon's specialties. It was inedible. Absolutely awful.

As I said in another post, six of us had dinner there and not one of us would return. The food ranged from average to awful; the service was mediocre.

The place is pretentious, with a big, noisy bar crowd.

You'd do much better at Pink's, which is about a mile or two away.


It was awful. I had the meatloaf. There, they call it "The" meatloaf because it's one of Simon's specialties. Inedible.

There were six of us who dined there tonight. We were unanimous. Not one of us would ever return. Not ever.

There was nothing good about any dish we ordered.