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.
Being the first time I've ever been to a Trader Vic's, I have to say I was very much surprised on how good it was. Not that I had low expectations, but it was way better than I had imagine Hawaiian / Asian Fusion cuisine could be. First things first... start off with a nice strong drink from their Tiki Bar. They have a huge variety, and who can say no to a drink from the people who invented the Mai Tai. I went with the Big Kahuna which came topped with a flamming lime .... interesting, crowd pleasing, and tasty. If you're there for more than just drinks, I'd recommend several items on their dinner menu. The lamb by far was my favorite. It was flavorful and tender. Cooked perfectly in their Han Dynasty old smoking oven. My second pick would probably be the Miso Sea Bass. Although it's "normal" for a Asian fusion restaurant, it was cooked perfectly with just the right amount of miso. The sea bas was tender, flakey, and buttery ... just perfect. The pork chop was pretty good as well, not super juicy but not dry either. The portions were at least pretty good. Lastly, their cheese cake was awesome. We also had the banana fritters, but they were more "regular". I'd definitely go again, but I have to save up. It ended up being a little pricey at $60 / person (tip + tax included)
I was a bit hesitant to eat here due to having shellfish allergies, but my son wanted to give it a try. I took a look at the menu before we were seated and saw that there were some "safe" dishes for me to try, so I figured why not. I wasn't very hungry so I ordered a "Fork and Knife" Caesar Salad. I wanted to get a lunch-sized portion but we were too late for that, so our server suggested that I get the Garden Fresh Starter Salad and substitute the dressing with Caesar which actually was pretty good and just the right size. It was perfectly complimented with warm, crusty bread. My son was quite hungry and ordered the Penne Pesto and substituted halibut for the standard Blackened Salmon. The dish also featured kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms. I'd say from the cleanliness of the plate that the dish was quite tasty. In spite of how chaotic the place was - it was a Friday night, the Lakers were playing, and there were concerts at both the Nokia Theatre and the smaller Club Nokia - we were seated quickly and served promptly. I'll definitely go back when I have more of an appetite, and will update this review accordingly.