Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Reservoir: time for a rethink already?

I have to admit, I haven't tried Reservoir yet, mostly because I don't have $100 or so to drop on a meal at a place where I've heard the wine list is poor, the pizza is "stodgy" and the noise level and service are chancy. But S. Irene went several times for the Times, and gave Reservoir half a star. As EaterLA would say, the S. stands for satisfactory-ish. She agreed that the wine, pizza and noise were all problematic. Like S. Irene, I want to like Reservoir, so maybe it just needs a little tweaking to make it more attractive. Chowhound Silverlaker summed it up pretty well:

Upscale restaurants need to realize that their target auds (um, I guess upscale diners) know how to make salmon at home, they know how to roast or pan sear a chicken breast -- chances are if you like gourmet eating, you eat fairly well at home (we do). So w the economy on shaky ground, I'd rather go to Gelson's and make a high-end'ish dinner for me and my husband for $20-$25 bucks, then eat an equivalent for three times that at some "bistro." Again, if we're gonna spend $70 or more, esp now, we want to go places w great cuisine (and great cooking) -- animal, angelini osteria, canele, palate, whatever. Last time we were at Michelengelo's, we spent over $60, they raised the prices at their new location -- sorry, I can go to Surfas and get great quality raviolis and have a terrific Italian dinner for $20.

New restaurateurs needs to recognize more people eating at home and they need to step up their game (and prices).

-- Silverlaker on Chowhound

What did you think of Reservoir? Is it worth it for a special occasion, or is this a "we don't feel like cooking kind of place" for you?

14 comments:

garagegallery said...

Agreed, it has an unimpressive menu on top of being pricey. Why can't we have a Hatfield's spin off with a great brunch there instead?

David Garber said...

I wasn't a fan. We started with a panko crusted shrimp taco. The shrimp was great but served on a cucumber, instead of a tortilla, which was wet and difficult to pick up. We had the pizza with chorizo and quince, which I whole heartedly agree has a terrible crust. If you want great pizza, go to Gjelina. We also had an appetizer special: a soft-shell crab sandwich with pancetta. It was good, but an odd appetizer. We had two entrees: open faced lasagna with pork and braised artichoke hearts and the short ribs with the kale and sweet potato set up (their name for a side.) The former wasn't great, but the artichokes were amazing, while the latter was superb. It was the only great dish, until we had the chocolate plate for dessert, and the ricotta cheescake which was just alright. There were three of us and we had five beers between us and the tab was 180 with tip. For 60 bucks, I expected far more. I totally agree with Vibrila's review.

WeezerMonkey said...

I have not been either, but I marvel at how powerful Virbila's words can be, as I'm inclined to wait awhile now to visit, so that Reservoir can get its act together.

The first paragraph of her review made me laugh out loud!

Patterjen said...

I too have not eaten at reservoir. The issue is that we can't decide whether it's a special occasion destination or a lazy one. It's too expensive to just be lazy (we'd rather hit up taco zone) but the reviews don't seem to merit a special occasion. I'm afraid it's a lame in between type of place...

Kathy A. McDonald said...

It's never a good sign when S. Irene spends more than half her article on the decor and setting. Too bad the cuisine is not consistent and inspiring--I'm sure the four-year build out is the reason prices are rather high. Although I live within walking distance and would like to check it out, $60/person seems a bit much for a place that has food and service issues from the get-go. Unsolicited advice to chef: add brunch---copy the menu and fresh biscuits from Surrey's Cafe & Juice Bar in New Orleans, for instance--that would be an instant hit and something the neighborhood doesn't have.

Ellen Bloom said...

I miss Netty's.

Colleen said...

I liked it and had both a very good meal and good service, although yes, the wine selection is poor. We ordered carefully and avoided the boring chicken breast/salmon entrees-- it does seem odd to have such basic stuff on the menu.

But while I had a lovely meal, I haven't been motivated to spend the money to return, and it sounds like Barbrix is going to give them a very big challenge.

Anonymous said...

i must have gone on a good night. i had a yummy salad to start, good glass of pinot, a really good skirt steak and farro salad for dinner. as it is a neighborhood restaurant , i didn't expect a huge wine list or complicated food. we didn't feel like cooking and wanted to go someplace new in town . for us it was perfect. it was a bit loud, but not half as loud as barbrix. both places i want to try again, but i liked reservoir better just on my first impression.

steve

SinoSoul said...

I feel the same way about Barbrix. Also to Reservoir's defense, you can get a burger there and leave under $20.

xie said...

can i just mention that they completely ruined the charm and ambience that Netty's had in spades? i mean the plants alone!

Anonymous said...

"Also to Reservoir's defense, you can get a burger there and leave under $20."

Not exactly a great defense...

Sandra Harper said...

I'm not sure if I ate in a bubble, but my dinner at Reservoir was great. I especially loved the fava bean and beluga lentil side dish...delicious and perfectly cooked. My husband and I shared the chocolate plate for two for dessert and it was lovely. We went on a Saturday night and it was packed but the service was fine.

HerbyN said...

i see that my comment after taking a look at reservoir's soft-open menu after reading february's posting "Reservoir reveals menu" was prophetic. re-posted here:

"the menu looks wonderful and delicious. seems like the quality ingredient, rustic contintental/provencial thing is quite the rage (canele, palate food + wine, et al). this chef has a great reputation and i'm sure the food will be great, however, it can't be an easy time to open a restaurant at these price points in this economy... correct me if i'm wrong, but my quick calculation after a look at the menu is that an appetizer, entree, glass of wine here will run between $40 to $70 per person before tip... ouch! not that it won't be "worth it" when you judge by the quality of the food, but can this be an on-going sustainable concern in this economy charging folks $16 for a "gourmet burger"? time will tell. i do wish them well..."
*******
to be fair, i think that despite the mediocer LA Times review, and grumbling about the prices, the menu, the wine, etc. the place appears to be doing well (seemingly always crowded), so i guess (at least for now)... reservoir gets the last laugh.

Mrs said...

You haven't been to the place and you quote a Chowhounder?? For shame, Pat. I thought you worked harder than that!