Monday, June 3, 2013

Chaya (Los Angeles - Downtown)


Chaya's Beer Garden is back!

The patio is looking festive, the smell of grilled meat is in the air and the alcohol is flowing freely.

What you might have missed, what's going on and what's in store til the end of summer.

 As customary, there are several new dining and drinking options as well as a few omissions from years past.  But I'll get to that in a bit.  We had to start with a drink and that's where the first new item reared its ugly head. 

Kirin Ichiban Frozen Beer. #smh

I ordered this gimmicky light beer that gets topped with a Kirin Ichiban slurpee-esque head.  The beer is pretty flavorless as it is so the addition of the icy beer over the top does nothing to impart flavor as you'd expect. But one thing it did do, was play with my taste buds.  See, as you're drinking it, naturally you first taste the foam which has virtually no flavor and that leads to the consumption of the actual beer.  By contrast, the beer tastes as though it has more flavor than it really does, so you're kinda duped into thinking you are drinking a middle of the road brew, when really, you're drinking the same doormat of a beer.  I didn't dislike it but I wasn't a fan of it either.  I can see the allure for some folks, especially when it's scorching hot.  Let me know when they come up with a version of this and then maybe I'll consider having another round.

 They have better drinking options available by the bottle and 2 or 3 more options on tap - none of which I would drink or care to photograph apparently, as I forgot to snap a pic for the sake of the blog.  Oh well. 

 Seeing Double.

 More drinks.

Salted Edamame.

No Chaya Beer Garden is complete without having the skewered and grilled goodies.  My favorite is the beef, followed by mushroom, bacon-wrapped dates and tongue.  The chicken is just okay.

The Beer Garden menu.

 Grilled peach, burrata, hazelnuts, arugula.

 Grilled octopus, baby potatoes, celery.

 Kobe beef slider w/fries.

  Grilled romaine lettuce, thick cut bacon, apple cider vinaigrette.

Sushi is fair game on the patio so if you aren't handed the menu, feel free and ask.

Galbi - Korean BBQ shortrib.

Fish n chips with jalapeño ponzu.

KuroUma Soju Bloody Maru garnished with a cucumber filled roll - Don't bother.

Bratwurst, sauerkraut, whole grain mustard.

This spot is reserved for items they omitted this year. #WTH!

What happened to the grilled street corn and spicy tuna-stuffed shishito peppers??  Bring em back, I say!  Overall, this year was was a bit of a let down for me.  The street corn and shishito peppers had become staples that I had looked forward to having yearly.  So, when they removed, not one, but both items from the menu, immediately, I was let down.  

Undeterred, we proceeded to order an array of dishes with the standouts being the skewers, as I had previously mentioned, the bratwurst, the Korean BBQ and peach salad.  I'd gladly order those again.  

 Dishes I didn't like much included the octopus salad.  It was chewy but had it been cooked properly, I might consider having it again as I liked the rest of the dish.  The fish from the fish and chips we got, came with a not-so crispy crust and it was flavorless for the most part.  I wouldn't order this dish again and wish I could have sent it back.  The Kobe beef slider we ordered was barely marginal.  It was grossly under-seasoned and not very moist.  It was one of the worst burgers I've had in a long time.  The last dish that was just okay to good included the the grilled romaine salad.  While good, it still isn't worthy of another appearance.  I wouldn't recommend any first-timer any of the aforementioned dishes.  

I hope they nix a lot of these new items and bring back my old favorites.  I know I'm not alone, as our server informed us that others had expressed  disappointment over the removal of the same items.  I kindly asked that they bring them back next year, AT THE LATEST.  Hopefully, they bring one if not both dishes back before the end of this summer.  #fingerscrossed             


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