Wednesday, October 12, 2005

L.A. Dining Scene--A "not so must see" show

Ok. Rarely do I ever rant in cyberspace. But I feel the need to get out a little frustration from my experience with the L.A. dining scene. Sure, L.A. is sexy and full of A-List people going to A-List places, but as a colleague from L.A. pointed out, "restaurants in L.A. are like clothing. People try them on, wear them a few times, and then toss them out and go shopping again."

Case in point: Eurochow in Westwood

The first time I drove past Eurochow, I was amazed at the building's grandeur--a stately, 1929 Mediterranean style landmark building, complete with a large, domed roof. What could this building be, I remarked driving past, on the hunt for a parking space. I peer in the window to find a magnificent, theatrical restaurant space, with a killer bar and lounge space and a soaring 55-foot domed ceiling. It seemed to me a must-see restaurant spot for another night.

My colleague Tiffany called me on a Tuesday night as she was finishing up a Vanity Fair party in Bev Hills. "Dinner?" she asked.
Sure thing! How about Eurochow in Westwood, have you been? "No. We should check it out."

We arrived around 8:45 p.m. Maybe this was a bit late for the crowd in Westwood? We practically had the place to ourselves. We settled in with a few cocktails and made small talk with the Manager.

Eurochow opened in 1999 and is part of the internationally-known Mr. Chow group of restaurants. The menu is a blend of Mr. Chow's two favorite cuisines, Italian and Chinese. We sampled a number of the menu items: the dumplings (which were overly chewy and somewhat cold), the orange chicken (I've had better at Chinese take out joints), and the pork chop (which was actually quite tasty). Overall, the food experience was so-so. Maybe I am spoiled with so many great dining options in DC? Eurochow was probably all the rage when it opened six years ago, but alas, I am going to go shopping like everyone else in L.A.

My biggest annoyance was the service, not just at Eurochow (our server was nowhere to be found at times and actually seemed annoyed we even decided to come in at 9 pm), but at many of the venues I patronized. We have all experienced bad service at some point, but the service in L.A. just seemed to be bad almost everywhere I ate. Rushed servers who did not seem to give a damn whether they refilled your water in a timely fashion and portrayed a general air of annoyance with my presence in their establishment. Maybe my friend Nicole is right--she says quite a good number of restaurant servers are actually budding actors, trying to make a buck and pursue their moviestar careers.

My advice: Get a day job kids. Oh, and I'm out of water.


Photos courtesy of Eurochow

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