So we had our dinner at Bourbon Steakhouse at the Waldorf. The Cliff’s Notes version is that dinner for 2, with tax and tip and $45 corkage fee (i.e., it’s not like we broke the bank with an expensive bottle of wine) was $354 and the best course was the complimentary french fries. Felt a little cheated for my first meal out in over a year given that I can think of a lot of places where you could have a very nice dinner for two for $350 or not much more.
When you sit down at Bourbon Steak, they bring you those complimentary french fries with three different tasty dipping sauces and a very nice roll with truffle butter – the roll was my second favorite bite of the evening. The fries are fried in duck fat, but the person I was with is a pescatarian, so they whisked the fries away and brought us some fried in something else. The fries were so good that I went back the next evening and ordered some to take to my room and I got the duck fat ones and interestingly, I thought the non-duck fat version was much better. I think the duck fat was a bit too much of gilding the lily and that a perfect fry is better standing on its own rather than with the strong flavor of duck fat. So I’m glad I happened to dine with a pescatarian the prior evening.
For an appetizer, we ordered “Michael’s Ahi Tuna Tartare - Asian pear, pine nut, ad scotch bonnet, mint and sesame” which is apparently a Michael Mina signature dish. It had a very retro '80’s and '90’s feel when “tall food” was the rage and was pretty tasteless. Kind of like what you would get at a fast food poke bar, except it was tall. Worst course of the night.
For our main course, we had broiled New Zealand Tai Snapper (for $150 - which was a big driver of the $354 dinner tab). It came with a ginger scallion garnish and was just okay, a bit overcooked. The portion was big enough for 3 or 4 people and I took half of it back to my room and had it cold for breakfast and I actually enjoyed it better cold for breakfast than for dinner.
For dessert we had the “Bourbon Chocolate Bar” and the warm spiced beignets with creme brulee. The beignets were really good and were not sickly sweet. I found the chocolate bar too sweet and, for my taste, it had too much peanut butter (if you love peanut butter YMMV).
It was pleasant eating outdoors. The part of the balcony we sat on was narrow so there was just one row of tables and other tables were separated by pillars, so it felt private and, more important in the age of Covid, safe. As of today, they back open for indoor dining.
For breakfast, I ate at the hotel’s more casual restaurant Aveo and had the single worst huevos rancheros I’ve ever had (and for $25!). They were so bland and tasteless that I asked for some salsa on the side to make them taste like something, but that didn’t help much because they brought me some obviously store bought bland tasteless salsa. I was bummed that I didn’t order the omelet instead since most hotels can make a decent omelet. My favorite meal out is actually breakfast – something I have really missed during the pandemic – so this breakfast was a real disappointment.
When you stay at the Waldorf, you have access to the private Monarch Bay Beach Club, which also has a restaurant. The restaurant is right on the sand and you can literally park yourself on the sand and eat, or there are tables on the patio that look straight at the ocean. It’s very pretty and I think the access to the Club was the nicest thing about staying at the Waldorf, but I didn’t get the chance to try the restaurant. I’m guessing the food probably isn’t great though, because the point of beachside restaurants is rarely the food.
So the Waldorf was kind of a bust foodwise, which is a shame because it’s an easy getaway from L.A. Not sure if the food would have been better at the Ritz Carlton or the Montage, but the room rates at those two hotels was considerably higher and I usually prefer to spend my travel dollars on food rather than on room.
Next weekend getaway is going to be Vegas, where I know I can get amazing food!