Wednesday, May 13, 2009

BooHoo on Mother's Day at BoHo

6372 W Sunset Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 465-8500

This last Mother's Day Mom was in town so we gathered up the herd and headed for the new (and only) gastropub in Hollywood, Adolfo Suaya of the Dolce Group's BoHo in the Arclight plaza. BoHo is headed by chef Andre Guerrero, of Max and the Oinkster.

The decor has been described by Thrillist Los Angeles as a hodgepodge mentality, and by UrbanDaddy as cheeky thrift-store themed. Accurately. I like the homeyness of the decor, and for my personal tastes it would have been impossible to stray too far away from the prior uber chic cougar lounge effort.

I feel like I recognize inklings of what had been before in the raw looking hard wood tables and the matte black industrial pipes, ducts, and light fixtures lingering overhead.

This is all countered happily and warmly by mismatched lamps, sideboards, taxidermy, cushy couches and mismatched cutlery.

I toyed with the idea of writing parallel reviews. I thought one for the person who prefers to view their rose colored glass half full, and one review for the reader who enjoys minging about their half empty highball. Sadly, I am lazy as hell. You only get the one review.

The unfortunate fact is the powers that be chose Mother's Day for BoHo's maiden brunch launch, to very bad effect.

For the person whose glass is perennially half full, let me fill it with a cocktail. The cocktails on Mother's Day brunch were good. Offered on the menu were bottomless cocktails of several sorts. Bottomless cocktails? I just love the word bottomless. Mom filled her bottomless glass with a raspberry sunrise. Sparkling wine, raspberry liquor, mint leaves...this was delightful and refreshing if a little on the sweet side for me. I have a feeling the bartender snuck in some simple syrup to punch up the fruity sweetness. Mom sucked it back.

I treated myself (more on that later) to a bottomless mimosa. The stemware here is nice. I am a sucker for presentation, and glassware is important to me. I would rather go without wine or champagne than drink it out of an inferior vessel.

Yeah, that's a lie.

The menu looked promising. A spin on eggs Benedict, salmon with egg salad, tofu scramble, huevos rancheros, house cured corned beef hash. So many choices, and with only Mom to my one side I knew I wasn't going to be sneaking food from anyone's plate.

Bottomless cocktails, pizzas and dessert. I was slightly intrigued by the kalbi pizza, clearly Kogi inspired. Coconut rice pudding also sounds good as does Italian donuts with lemon curd. I like the lighter sounding flavors in the dessert offerings, something a sweetophobic like me can get excited about.

All the meals started out promisingly with a little side dish. Mom and everyone else tried the yogurt parfait with fresh berries and granola. Nothing wrong here. 'Twas tasty.

I alone nibbled at a beautiful faro salad with tomato, cucumber, kalamata olives, mint, parsley, garlic, olive oil & lemon. Loved. It was a lovely little salad in a small dish to whet my appetite but not dull it.

The main problem started at about the time our side dishes were cleared. There was a long and uncomfortable wait for the entrees. And by long, I mean 30+ minutes. We had a wonderful server who unfortunately apologized to us prior to taking our order, informing us that this was their first brunch ever and they were definitely figuring out where the kinks were prior to ironing them. I am not sure if this made us sympathetic or watchful for errors. She was incredibly delightful and lovely, I would enjoy her service anytime anywhere. I don't blame the problems in the kitchen on the server, and I doubt the manager did either after D spoke kindly to him about our hunger pains.

At any rate, both Mom and I ordered the pulled pork over a cheddar biscuit with housemade gravy and poached eggs. The flavor was wonderful. The pork was meaty and fell apart at the touch of a fork without being overly fatty. The gravy was minimally applied, too minimally someone complained, but I thought the proportions were perfect. The cheddar flavor in the biscuits really popped out through the softer rounder flavors of the gravy, egg & pork. From person to person the eggs were poached really inconsistently in terms of doneness, but mine was OK.

Out of 12 people, 9 were served at more or less the same time. After another 5 minutes, 2 more entrees arrived. We spoke to the manager again about my FIL's meal, and while he apologized profusely, the meal did not arrive. In another 15 minutes or so (yes, another FIFTEEN minutes) D had words again with the manager about FIL's meal. Manager apologized and asked what he could do for us. "Get my father his food, now.", was the obvious answer. No such luck.


For the glass is half full people, Mom ate every single bite of her food. Her side dish, her bottomless cocktail and her entree. She is no slouch in the kitchen and if she didn't like it she wouldn't have eaten it. But as evidenced above, she almost licked the plate.

For you glass is half empty folk, our entire meal was comped. For a party of 12. We do not go looking for handouts. We didn't want a free meal, even after all the bad service. Our family simply wanted an enjoyable Mother's Day brunch together amidst the chaos of the last year. (Loteria, juuuuuusssst sayin'.)

Interestingly and unplanned, our very good friends T, C and C came in for brunch before Star Trek at the Arclight. They were no more pleased with their experience than we were. Maybe even less so. The kitchen was slow, their order was wrong three times and they were unhappy with the quality of the food when they finally did get it.

C's eggs were overpoached, and undergravied.

This was how T's lox and egg salad was served. Just like this. Nothing on the side, no accoutrement, and not enough lox. Puzzling. After sending their food back to the kitchen twice, I found out later their meals were comped as well.

From my position, I see two ways they could have proactively addressed the Mother's Day Fiasco of 2009. If you know you want to be open for the important Mother's Day brunch, do a couple dry runs starting at least two weeks earlier to accustom everyone to the menu for both tasting and cooking. Or, alternatively, over staff the living daylights out of the restaurant like it's opening night at The Bazaar. Just make everyone happy so instead of covering checks you are garnering repeat clients. You people aren't new to this business. And this is your business. Handle it.

On the upside, I like the place, my server and the way my food tasted. The bar is big, the menu is reasonable, there are big TVs in the bar and it is the NBA playoffs. I have a feeling I will be giving them a second chance. Sometime soon.

Thanks to witty Tracy of dClutterfly & One Kid, One World for the title inspiration.


Susan said...

Whoa, SO good to know. I've been wanting to check out Boho for a while now, but maybe we should wait a bit longer. Thanks for the brutally honest review!

Kristine G said...

L: I like "bottomless," too. teehee ...

Kudos to the mgr for comping your meal, even though, in my common-sense way of thinking, that comping them entire check for a party of 12 was too generous. Anyhoo, they should've busted their ass to get a meal in front of your FIL, stat! Was he nibbling off of everyone else's plates?

P.S. D's grandma got a new point and shoot Leica. I was showing her the options and saw that they now have a "Food" setting. Interesting, ay? :)