Monday, August 09, 2004

Guest post: What's wrong with Silver Lake restaurants

A Chowhound poster named Arlene summed things up pretty well during a recent discussion of what's happening with the old Autobar in Silver Lake. Even though I'm not vegetarian, I'd have to agree with most this assessment.
"Couldn't agree more about Edendale Grill and Blair's. What's up with that? A hundred bucks easy for a couple to go to either of them and the food, well, it isn't all THAT! As a vegetarian, I just loved being at the Edendale Grill and having only side dishes. Gee, let's see, a party of four for $300 and I ate a potato and some broccoli. Same thing at Blair's. Had their one pasta dish that didn't have any meat, fish, or poultry in it and it was totally mediocre. WHEN is Silver Lake going to get a decent restaurant that most of us who don't cook could go to two or three times a week. The Astro and the Coffee Table just aren't getting it anymore! Da Gianino's on Hyperion, much more pricey than ever before and the menu is a hundred years old. Forget the Zen, they have a new sushi chef that doesn't know how to do sushi, for all you sushi eaters, according to my sushi loving friends. The Flying Leap, great hangout for the guys, but the food is still just okay. There's of course always the Burrito King with it's delicious history of trying to expand too fast and ending up with just the original on Hyperion, but two bucks for breakfast isn't bad! The take out Chinese on Rowena and Hyperion, okay for quick carry out, just like Round Table on Glendale and Pizza Hut on Hyperion. Can't agree on the Nicky D's, although only one visit there, so we'll try it again. Could've been a bad night. The Casita del Campo, or whatever you call it down there on Hyperion where all the auto shops begin, old and tired. The rest, well you know the story. As for the ice cream in the neighborhood, whatever happened to Myrna's and why the new place. Not as good as Myrna's and has that total franchise look to it. HELP us someone!!! Just a nice little restaurant that isn't a million bucks! How about in that nice little house on Rowena that was for lease a while back that was supposed to be a commercial place, right near the chiropractor's office and the soon to be closed Cottura, next door to the Sol la luna store that was having a going out of business sale for a year and a half! Just a nice little place and someone could make a killing here in Silver Lake. And yet... we continue to yearn for someone who would just come in and make some good food in just a basic environment that wasn't trying to be all retro modern moderne chic and everything else that is supposed to be cool these days. After all, it's ALL about the food... remember that, Edendale Grill and Blair's. The neighborhood has given up on you, at least everyone I've talked to down at the Dog Park, so perhaps a change in the menu and pricing and we'll all be back."
My fantasy restaurant for Silver Lake goes something like this: Nicky D's pizza moves out of its quaint little rickety cottage and into a nice space with a large patio, something like the Coffee Table. They keep the wood-burning pizza oven, gelato and beer and wine license but add homemade pies and cobblers, a few pasta dishes, some imaginative salads, a few small plates for snacking as well as some basic, well-made dishes of the mac' and cheese or meatloaf variety. An excellent selection of beer is featured, as well as a few reasonably-priced wines. Children are welcome, but it also stays open late for the after-movie crowd. And, prices are very affordable, in the vein of Luna Park in L.A., Chow in San Francisco or numerous places in other cities. But with rents what they are, I guess it will never happen.