I've been here a few times now, and have to say that while I absolutely LOVE the ambiance and atmosphere, the attitude - of the wait staff and the general clientele - I can do without. In fact, when at a loss for where to grab a simple, hearty meal, we'll often pass on this place as we are usually "in no mood for the 'tude." But I digress. On my first visit, we were seated in the lush, green patio area where I enjoyed a cheeseburger and my companion had spaghetti and meatballs. The portions were generous and overall tasty and satisfying. However, our waiter - who we later determined must have been new - was inattentive and a bit detached, even as we continued to try to engage him by just being pleasant and polite. He warmed up in the end and was nice enough, so the evening ended well. On a subsequent visit for a late Sunday brunch, we sat in the semi-enclosed back room with a ridiculously rude and noisy group. Our waitress was aloof, also detached, and condescending when asking for my ID. Since my only child is old enough to drink legally, I'm usually quite flattered when I am carded - which is surprisingly often, and hilariously funny to my mostly younger friends who don't drink. But this chick actually "spoke down" to me and while she might have intended her gaffe to be funny, it wasn't. After our drinks finally arrived and our order was placed, I enjoyed the Garden Herb Tuna Sandwich on a French Roll which was just OK - not exactly what I expected given the tasty burger I'd enjoyed a few weeks before - but it was passable. Given the overall snarkiness of the atmosphere that day among the staff and patrons, I can't say that I enjoyed my second visit as much as the first. I will likely return to this place at some point, but will perhaps do so during an off-peak time in hopes of getting better service and a tastier dish.
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.