It's annoying when the food is good, really good, but the other components just don't work. That is what happened on Saturday night at XIV. OK, new restaurants always have a few kinks, I expect that. Unfortunately the evening was more annoying than pleasurable. So here's why:
We were seated in the row of tables next to the kitchen at the table next to the fire place. Sounds cozy, yet it was not. As it turns out there is a water station and small storage 2 feet away from this table. Staff would constantly get things out of the storage or pour water there. When they did this, they faced the station. As there were only about 24 inches between our table and the station, guess what was right up against our table? As they knelt down to the storage their derrieres practically sat on our the table. Yeah, too close for comfort.
If this wasn't bad enough, many servers also used this tight area as the main passageway to the interior of the dining room. Tons of staff kept passing by. We felt like we were on a highway. It was awful, clearly a design flaw. One staff member mentioned that they know about the problem and are planning on fixing it. Here's the thing though, that row should not even be there. If this were a diner, OK. This is a place where you might pay $100 per person. Unacceptable in my book.
The manager was kind. He offered to change our table and gave us a break on some of the check. Sadly, the most ideal places were taken so we stayed in the row near the kitchen. The open kitchen counter had 10 or more people at a time standing around waiting. Win, who is so easy going, was annoyed at all of the activity around him. It seemed completely disorganized, frenzied and impersonal. Oddly enough, each plate of food that was brought to our table was delivered by a different person. Even our water was refilled by at least 3 different people. On top of this, the music was ridiculously loud, adding to our discomfort.
The only saving grace was the food. It was delicious. Our waiter suggested we order 8 dishes per person. Half way through the meal I was full. Here are some of the photos of what we ate:
Baby Frisee and Gem Lettuce with Persimmon, Pomegranate, Pumpkin Seed + Apple ***
Pumpkin Dumplings *****
Nantucket Bay Scallops with Passion Fruit + Almonds *****
Porcini Risotto with Castelmagno Cheese ****
Black Cod ***
Jidori Chicken with truffled mac & cheese ***
So, if I go back next time, here is what I will do:
1. Make a reservation during the week, not on a weekend.
2. Request a table in the center of the dining room, not near the kitchen, nor the first 2 rows of booths at the entrance (it is too crowded together there), nor the patio (too noisy from the street and looks uncomfortable).
3. Order 4 dishes per person and order more if needed after we finish eating them.
4. Bring ear plugs, OK, not really.
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8117 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046