I randomly went to the Bowery on 12-31-12 prior to attending a concert at the Palladium. Although it was a dining choice made on a whim I must say that overall I enjoyed my experience here, although I do believe that some of the menu items and drinks were overpriced. Perhaps this is to be expected when dining at a "gastropub" vs. a traditional "restaurant." Also, the dining space in the restaurant is rather small, so be prepared to sit uncomfortably if the dining area is full.
For drinks, I ordered a $9 house red (perhaps a Syrah?), which was nothing special for the price. However, my friend also ordered an $11 cocktail (the "Working Girl") which was apparently quite good. In general I do not typically pay over $5 for alcoholic beverages although I definitely enjoy drinking them. I also noted that this gastropub offers a variety of bottled imports and domestic beers, although I did not elect to try any this time around. For food, I ordered a "Bowery Burger" with blue cheese, bacon and grilled onions, and shared the short rib gravy fries with friends. These items took a little longer than expected to come out (20+ minutes), however since we weren't in any rush and the dining area was rather busy this situation was understandable. Furthermore, we had no complaints here about these food items - they definitely hit the spot!
Overall, the Bowery seems to be a suitable compromise between a high-end LA dive bar and classy restaurant. I would recommend going here when you do not have a huge appetite, but are nevertheless looking for food more substantial than typical dive-bar fare.
I went here for happy hour mixers a couple weeks ago, and I must say that my somewhat mediocre expectations were turned completely upside-down because of one man, a hilarious bar server named Tony who's motto is to "wrap everything in bacon." True to his word, this awesome fellow was able to figuratively wrap every single drink order I placed in "bacon," and thus I decided to stay at the bar for longer than I would have given it's high-priced entrees and obscene focus on "organic" products. I hope to enjoy this same camaraderie if I ever decide to make my way back to Paul Martin's.
I discovered Kogi three years ago and I've since been back to sample Ron Choi's food wares dozens of times. Let me start by saying that the Kogi truck has a more authentic ambiance than the Alibi room, for obvious reasons. You go to the Kogi truck to have a quick bite to eat on-the-go during your lunch break, whereas Alibi room is more of a lounge that provides the same Kogi truck food at a slightly higher price.
Now for the food. Short rib tacos and burritos are pretty much the gold standard, and these two items hooked me initially during the first few times I tried Kogi food. My tastes have somewhat evolved since then, and now I will consistently order either Kogi short-rib sliders or the Blackjack Quesadilla. These are in my opinion the most succulent menu items offered by the truck, presenting a perfect blend of savory flavor and spicy overtures. Also, Kogi now offers each of these items as a "combo," including a drink and a dessert side dish for extra hungry lunch-goers. Both of these dishes are amazing beyond description, and I would recommend them to all carnivorous Korean-Hispanic fusion food fans. Basically my experience with this food is that it is worth all the acclaim & hype, although I certainly sympathize with those individuals who prefer not to stand in Kogi's sometimes obscene order line.
For my very first yelp post I've decided to review the Playground Restaurant, which I had the pleasure of having a meal at on October 28, 2012. First of all, quick disclosure, I am a big fan of tapas in general and am inclined towards favoring these types of restaurants, however my meal was somewhat of a unique experience and thus led me to post this review. Overall I paid $45 for a meal with over 11 courses/dishes.
Our party at the restaurant had reservations for 9 people, however they were able to accommodate me with an extra seat when I arrived late and another uninvited guest showed up to take my place. Despite this issue, I was treated very warmly upon my arrival, offered drinks, and I was able to jump right into the meal. The basic meal presentation (on Sundays) is to present customers with a variety of main courses and side dishes accumulated from meals cooked up throughout the week. Since this restaurant features a rotating meal schedule, Sunday dinner is somewhat of a "grab bag" of various dishes, so other than the standard dishes available all the time (e.g. "The Burger") you do not know exactly what to expect. However, I am an omnivore who feels that variety is the spice of life, and did not mind this "mystery" quality to the meal.
All of the food served was really good. We had plenty of vege side dishes, such as greens with bacon, sauteed spicy Brussel sprouts, flavored potatoes, cauliflower. Seconds for most of these side dished/tapas were available when requested. Next came the main course(s), which presented a variety of meat dishes, including pork chops, super grilled scallops (served twice), and an excellent ribeye steak.
One thing that really stuck out about the Playground staff's approach to customer service is that most of the restaurant staff were willing to bend over backwards to accommodate food/dish requests, and given the size of our part their positive efforts towards this were really transparent. One guy at our table ordered "The Burger" three times and voiced dissatisfaction at the fact that they ran our of ingredients on the final run. I, on the other hand, was amazed at the staff's ability to accommodate such a request, given that Sunday dinner is more of a family-style "eat what comes out" dining experience. They were quite competent in responding to our requests. Kudos to Angela, our server, for being so positive and welcoming towards our group and for knowing food details like the back of her hand. And kudos to Jason, the Playground chef, for making some amazing and tasty dishes. I'll definitely be back!