Saturday, March 19, 2011

Traxx (Los Angeles - Downtown)

StarStar½


I've been to the LA Union Station over 30 times in my life and not once have I stepped inside Traxx.  In the late 90's, I used to take the Metrolink to and from Irvine when I was attending UCI.  In the early morning hours, the restaurant was closed so I had no shot of having a meal.  I suppose I could have tried having dinner at Traxx when I would return to LA on Friday evenings, but by then, I was more eager to go home and to see my girlfriend.  Good times.  Either way, I wasn't the food junkie back then, that I am now.  So, Traxx was never really on my radar to begin with.

Having almost forgotten all about this place, Groupon brought Traxx back to my attention several months ago.  I was happy to finally check it out but truthfully, I was happier to visit the station again.  The edifice is absolutely gorgeous to me and although I don't have oodles and oodles of fond memories of the building, LA Union Station is near and dear to to me.  - 5 stars for the place.   




Located inside of the historic LA Union Station.



Signage.




Duvel Ale.


Uninspired by their draught selection, I ordered a couple of bottled brewskis that I thought I would enjoy better.  I've had a couple of Duvel's beers before and this ale is another I can add to the list of Belgium beers that I like.  For $6 and almost twice the alcohol content as their other beers, this was a no-brainer.  - 4.5 stars   




Grilled Asparagus with CaraCara Orange Mayo, Tarragon & Crushed Hazelnuts.


We wanted to try several dishes so we ordered strictly off of their "Small Plates" portion of the menu.  We started off with the Grilled Asparagus.   It was decent but nothing to write home about.  It could have been seasoned better and for $13, I'd pass on this -  if there were a next time.  - 2 .5 stars   




Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with Chipotle Remoulade.


Next up, we had their Crab Cakes.  I liked everything about them except the price.  Wowzers!  $17  for some of the smallest crab cakes I have ever had.  - 3.5 stars





Spinach Salad with Fried Oysters & Bacon Vinaigrette.

Our favorite small plate of the night was their Spinach Salad with Fried Oysters.  The oysters were huge! The breading on them had a wonderful crunch and the oyster inside was meaty and briny.  The Bacon Vinaigrette could have been aided with a little bit of acidity to cut through the....well, grease.  - 4 stars  




Chilled Cappelini with Basil, Grape Tomatoes & Mozzarella Cheese.


We were going to order the Prawn Louie but they were all out.  Instead we went with the Cappelini dish.  Our least favorite plate of food was this chilled noodle salad.  The whole thing was rather bland  and the fresh mozzarella tasted and had the same mouth-feel as the white part of hard boiled eggs.  Fine for boiled eggs, not for mozarrella.  - 1.5 stars    





Black Butte Porter.


For my 2nd round of beers, I went with a Deschutes Porter.  Not a knock on the Duvel I had to start my meal, but I liked this beer better.  Then again, I do have a proclivity towards darker beers.  - 5 stars.
     



 Rosemary Brioche Bread Pudding with Raspberry Chocolate Sauce & Whipped Cream.

It's not often that a dessert dish fails me, but this one did.  If it weren't for that noodle salad, this would have been the worst dish of the night.  The Bread Pudding was way too eggy and I didn't care much for the sauce either.  No bueno.  Sadly, the best things on this plate were the blackberries and whipped cream.  - 1 star    


Normally, when I dine courtesy of a restaurant that is nice enough to participate in discount programs (i.e. Groupon, Living Social, BBE, etc), I issue a 1/2 star upgrade on my review.  My logic is simple; because participating restaurants afford people the opportunity to dine at an establishment where they might not go otherwise, I feel they deserve a bit of kudos for taking the financial risk that non-participating restaurants do not face.  Basically, I save a few bucks and they in turn get my thanks in the form of a free 1/2 star.  They are hardly paying for my review, as evidenced by this review.  I mean, not everything I had to say was pleasant.  Let's not confuse my discounts for comped meals!

Anyway, I am not going to add any additional 1/2 star in this case because our server was one of the worst I've had in quite some time.  She asked if I wanted a beverage when she first took our order and later, despite having an empty glass in front of me for about half an hour, it was me that had to flag her down for another drink JUST PRIOR TO ORDERING DESSERT.  She also mistakenly brought some other parties drinks to our table and it took an entire half hour to get our pasta salad and spinach salad from the time that we placed our order.  30 minutes to get salads out is unforgivable.  Oh and since when is it proper to wait on a table by asking or shall I say, declaring, "You guys are okay, right?"  Maybe if she had waited on the other diners similarly to how she waited on us, I would have at least felt treated equally?  But no, she spent double or triple the time waiting on tables with parties similar in size.  Our service flat out sucked.  - 1/2 star                          

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