Thursday, August 30, 2012

West Restaurant and Lounge - 17th Floor Dining

I booked reservations at West last weekend for a birthday celebration and was so looking forward to good food and service, but alas, it did not deliver.

My first visit at West was for a CMYE event where we were treated to a 10 course tasting menu. It was pretty damn amazing and the crispy egg was off the charts. 

However, last Saturday, the food was short of impressive. 

I had been raving about the crispy egg forever to my friends and was so disappointed to find out that it was no longer on the menu! WHAT?! Apparently, they switched chefs, and I guess the egg was his signature dish. *sad face*

So, we asked the waitress what she recommended and she said the loup de mer was bomb, which is European seabass. 

It sounded good, so 4 of us ordered it. 

And what a letdown!

Loup de mer with ratte potato and truflle: Presentation was boring, skin was on, and it just looked like it was slapped on there without care. I didn't think it had much flavor, so I switched my dish with my bf's. 

loup de mer

Beef fillet with red wine onions, gem lettuce, and short rib ravioli: This is the dish I swapped my fish for. It wasn't much better, but at least it had more flavor. Beef was too chewy for me. Presentation was whatevers. 

beef fillet

Hanger steak with English peas, tamworth bacon, and twice baked potato: Best dish out of the 3. Beef was cooked well, and the peas were a nice touch. Presentation looked more appealing than the others. 

hanger steak

My friends had mixed reviews on their dishes, but the overall consensus at the table was blah. No flavor, cold cheese for the cheddar cheese brûlée, and too expensive. 

On a positive note, the pear-tinis are delicious! Sweet with a nice pear flavor. At $12 a pop, they are totally worth it, albeit a tad small. 


In terms of service, it seemed our waitress was lacking in experience. She was nice enough, but she kept forgetting people's drinks, not filling water glasses, and she charged us for the "free" popcorn that we got for checking in on Foursquare and Yelp. 

Considering each popcorn was $8, and we got 4 of them for the table, that's $32 extra that we had to pay. 

Also, she mentioned valet parking would be free for everyone in the group since I had a "preferred" diners card, but it wasn't. 

In fact, the valet guy was pretty rude about it and wouldn't even give me my card back until they pulled my car up. Wtf. So, everyone else in the party had to pay the $7 charge. 

Please have the valet and the servers coordinate to make sure this does not happen again. 

We did get a 15% discount off the food bill (not alcohol) because of said card, but it was still pretty expensive for the quality of food we received. 

I wish Chef Matt was still working here! Had I known he left, I probably wouldn't have dined here. 

3 stars overall for decent service, good views, tasty drinks, and subpar food.


West Restaurant and Lounge at Hotel Angeleno
170 N Church Ln
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 481-7878

Monday, August 6, 2012

Nong La Cafe - Best Vietnamese On the Westside

If you're looking for some good Vietnamese food on the westside and don't want to sit in traffic for hours headed towards the SGV, you should try Nong La Cafe. 

This newish restaurant on the bustling Sawtelle strip serves up fresh Vietnamese fare with friendly service. 

I've come here 3 times in the past month and can't stop raving about the pho and the steak banh mi!

The first time we came here was on a weeknight around 7:30 pm. We had to wait a good 30-40 minutes for a table for 4. 

We ordered pho tai bo vien, bun bo hue, and spring rolls. 

The spring rolls were small and not that good. I would pass on these. 

spring rolls

The pho tai bo vien (pho with rare steak and beef ball was delicious! I've never had pho so fresh! Usually when I eat pho, I have to drink a gallon of water to offset the MSG. 

My friends said the bun bo hue was okay. One of them liked it, the other one didn't. The bun bo hue here does not contain blood, so yay for that!

bun bo hue

My next visit was during lunch on a weekday around 1:30 pm. Considering this was kinda late for lunch, we were surprised we had to wait. But, that's mainly because this one table decided to sit and talk FOREVER even after they were done eating! How rude! The girl actually went outside to put more money in the meter. Some people are so inconsiderate. She saw us waiting too!

Ugh.. at least the host was apologetic about the whole thing. 

I ordered pho tai and it was so tasty! I love how tender the beef is. 

pho tai

Since I read so much about the banh mi, I decided to get one to go. 

DAMN. The steak banh mi is amazing! It's loaded with jalapenos so make sure you pick some out if you can't stand the heat. No pate though, FYI. 

steak banh mi
bun with lemongraass and sesame steak

In fact, the banh mi was so good, I actually went back the same day to get another to go. The host actually remembered me and was like, "I told you it was good!". 

A couple days later, we went back again. My BF got the bun sesame steak and I got the pho tai again. What? I'm addicted. 

He said the bun was good, but not his favorite. The noodles are thicker than traditional bun, so that could be why. 

I do like the noodles in the pho here. Thick, flat noodles that don't stick together. Good stuff.

Highly recommended for pho and banh mi cravings! 

Closed on Mondays.

Nong La Cafe
2055 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, ca 90025