We had a lovely double-date experience at Water Grill. We started with cocktails, fresh oysters and stone crab claws (first of the season). Two members of our party ordered the same cocktail and upon delivery, one was noticeably more well-crafted than the other. We sent the one back with a busboy and when it returned, it was only half-heartidly fixed. Thankfully, our server quickly fixed the situation and everything was uphill after that moment. Our oysters included the Tomahawks and Mermaid Cove's, (all east coast). They were wonderfully briny and super fresh. The crab claws did not dissapoint. In addition to the raw bar, each couple ordered wedge salads and clam chowder. Our server was smart enough to have the kitchen split each item without us asking. Kudos to her. The chowder was probably one of the best I have ever had. It was loaded with clams which were sweet and tender. It also included thinly sliced fingerling potatoes which I thought was a nice touch. The wedge was wonderfully crisp, and had the perfect amount of blue cheese with generous bits of lardon. The soup and salad alone would have been a perfect meal. Since we were so full from the first two courses, we each decided to split lobster rolls and get a couple of sides. Having had lobster rolls all over the east coast, in addition to many of the popular sea food places around LA (Connie & Teds, Hungry Cat, Littlefork, assorted food trucks), I can honestly say, this was one of the best I've had. The roll was piled with tender lobster. It contained the perfect amount of mayo which allowed the flavor of the lobster to shine. I washed it down with a glass of Turley Zin, which is one of my all-time favorites. I was super-excited to see it on the wine menu. We finished with the Key Lime pie, which was good, but maybe a tad bit tart for my taste. Overall, service was spot-on. The staff understood we were two couples catching up and enjoying each others company. They were attentive and not obstrusive. The food itself is amazing and I'm already craving the clam chowder. We had a great experience and we're looking forward to going back.
I've been going to this restaurant because they have that hard to find authentic home style taste and they make tortillas fresh - on the spot - and they're so good you could eat them by themselves. Their menu is just right, having all the components that make up just about every dish you can think of - it's a small (hole in the wall) restaurant and at times you may have to wait 10 minutes, but it's worth it and you will see people waiting - why? Because honestly, there's almost no dish that is not good (and they serve menudo and cocido every day, even birria!) - and there are some that are just plain great. Before my mother passed away I would go to lunch with her all the time and she was a great cook, so she was as picky as the sun is hot - and more then 1/2 the time when I asked her where to? She'd say, with a smile on her face, 'Chispa!'....which made me happy to make her happy. I couldn't rate this any better, to impress my mom meant you took care in the details (to mom that was roasting fresh chiles, cooking on low heat when necessary, fresh ingredients, just the right amount of spices - never too salty or bland, salsas that let you know someone knows how to cook and consistant, consistant, consistant). And everyone there is friendly and they already know what I like -so I don't even have to say the whole dish (lengua en salsa de tomatillo con frijoles y arroz - THE BEST!) - I almost regret rating it cause that means I might have to wait longer....but my mom shared this place so can I. Take your parent(s) out to this little place...they'll want to go back and so will you.
After a fun visit to a nearby costume shop, our hungry group of 12 set out to find some good food to enjoy together before returning to the office. One of our group said that Loteria was a favorite of hers, so we trekked on over on her recommendation. I found the menu to be interesting - a variety of vegetarian selections (the one who recommended the place is a vegetarian) including a cactus salad and a succotash of zucchini and roasted corn to name a few. It was cool that there was something on the menu for everyone in our mixed bunch. I'm a big fan of carnitas myself, so I ordered a carnitas burrito. In addition to being super spicy - just the way I like it - the meat was tender and tasty, and the composition featured black beans instead of the refried variety. The burrito was also on the larger side. I could only finish half, but was delighted to have something to enjoy or share later on. The only downside to our visit was the service. We arrived before the lunch hour - around 11:30 or so - and were the only patrons in the place for at least the first 20 minutes of our time there. Yet table service was slow (i.e. bringing water to the table and taking drink orders), and one entree was completely forgotten about. Also requests for salsa, chips and other sides / condiments were either ignored or completely forgotten. Still the place is promising, has a nice atmosphere, and is a real find that's just a few blocks away from Hollywood & Highland.