Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cafe W AS: Fail

Ivan Kane knows how to create an atmosphere, and I think he tapped into something much needed at the corner of Sunset and Vine. West side glamour with a decidedly east side intelligence.

The rooms, floors and antechambers are eclectic, yet have a successfully cohesive vibe. Of course I love the Bukowski Room, despite my ambivalence about his work as a poet. The room is daring and fun.

I loved the pianist. His playlist pandered just enough to keep the patrons happily humming along to the occasionally familiar song, yet mysterious enough to remain interesting.

The piano rotated around...

and around....

and around.

Unfortunately, in the words of T, "does Ivan Kane know food?" Apparently not. Our food was beyond bad. It was sordid. Let me modify that statement. The warm mini loaves of bread were good.

I love the idea of canapes. It is unfortunate that they were not worthy of eating. The tuna tartare with avocado, mango and sweet soy did not deliver. There were no sweet nor savory flavors popping out, and the tuna was slightly mealy. Did not seem extremely fresh.

The tartelette de foie gras was uninteresting. The crust was too soft and the filling was like duck liver baby food. Tres uninspired, although the little wedge of grape on top was crisp and fresh. I love grapes. I have some nice ones in my fridge right now.

I enjoyed eating the crab & heirloom tomato Napolean, despite the fact that there was nothing Napoleanesque about it. And I am afraid those were decidedly NOT heirloom tomatoes. But the flavors were lovely, the crab was fresh and lumpy and it was lightly dressed, just as I like.

The above skirt steak caused the biggest problem. D cut into a piece of the toughest flesh I have ever seen. Now, this is a man who likes his steak cooked well done. He loves it charred within an inch of being charcoal. Loves his steak cooked in a manner that will cause a chef's hair to curl. I don't believe in sending back a steak you have ordered well done. You ordered it ruined, you suffer the consequences. However! This was not even well done. It was bright pink in the middle. Even the bright pink middle bits were beyond chewy. I spit my bites out. I couldn't chew it enough to swallow. Additionally, it had a gamey flavor that made D fear he would contract bovine spongiform encephalopathy. This was disgusting. Our lovely, wonderful, charming and indulgent waiter insisted on returning it to the kitchen and expunging the offending beef from our bill. I wouldn't have asked, but he insisted. Actually, suffering through that horrific food was almost worth it to be waited on by such a charming young man. This kid was raised well. He is Ivan Kane's nephew, by the way. We just adored him. Imagine, a 24 year old kid who has just moved to LA, is working as a waiter and does NOT want to be an actor. I felt faint, but it might have been a slight case of food poisoning.

D finally ordered the above French onion soup, which was actually delicious. TONS of onions, a lovely slightly sweet broth and cheese broiled to perfection.

Mr. Kane, it was lovely to meet you in person. Please, hire a new chef today, no yesterday. And congratulations on your amazing nephew. He made our evening.

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