12 July, 2010

The Duchess Roasts . . .

House Cafe

There are so many fine restaurants, of different cuisines and different expenses, all over our fair city. In Little Tokyo we have Hama Sushi; on the edge of Chinatown we have Philippe's; on Bunker Hill we have Nick & Stef's and Patina. In Silver Lake we have Forage and Cliff's Edge. In Los Feliz we have Little Dom's and Yuca's. We have The Hungry Cat, Hatfield's, Lucques, Matsuhisa, Jar, Spago, Joe's (in Venice), and don't get the Duchess started on the Mozza empire. A truly endless array of muy lishy options.

It is all the more devastating, then, when one dines out at a reportedly terrific new Los Angeles restaurant and has a completely disastrous experience. The Duchess does regret having to speak the truth of the matter this time, but her Friday night dinner at House Cafe (company excluded) was the worst taken in a mighty long time.

The food is fine. It isn't spectacular. It's a bit cheaper than some of the big name restaurants in the Beverly Boulevard corridor (a la Jar, or Angelini Osteria) but certainly not appreciably less expensive (if at all) than the marvelous Terroni just down the street. We got off on the wrong foot with House Cafe. Our initial order, a $40 bottle of middling Sauvignon Blanc, had turned in its bottle. Then we had to repeat our orders, some of our dishes came out completely wrong (no, no, no, we said "carnitas", not "short ribs!"), and all of them came out very, very late.

In a seemingly oxymoronic way, the service was both slow and intrusive. Dear waiter, please save the audition for your auditions, should you get any (heaven forbid). We just want to eat!

And the ultimate face-slap: no smoking on the patio. Please, then, explain the point of having a patio at all. Do non-smoking LA diners really want to sit within spitting distance of the Beverly Boulevard asphalt (right in front of the valet, no less) under steamy, sweaty heat lamps just in order to (attempt to) enjoy their meals?

No more House for the Duchess. She'd rather stay at Home.

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