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5 Sept 2017

La Boucherie on 71

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Nov212011

#20 L.A. Prime - Downtown

Rating: 3.5 cows

 

High up on the 35th floor of the Westin Bonaventure, boasting spectacular views of the downtown Los Angeles skyline, is LA Prime. You might be thinking, "hey, I've heard that place rotates - I don't want a moving floor to harsh my vibe while I'm enjoying some delicious steak." Fear not—it is the 34th floor, home of the Bona Vista Lounge, which rotates (and is easily accessible via a staircase next to the host station for your pre-dinner cocktail enjoyment). Your seat at LA Prime rests comfortably on a fixed floor, providing a peaceful place to gaze at the lights while enjoying your meal. The obvious question is: how much are you paying for the view? And is it worth it? 

Reaching the restaurant is a bit of an adventure, for which the agoraphobic need not apply.  Access is via glass elevators which cling to the outside of the building and move swiftly.  You may remember the scene in True Lies where Arnold Schwarzenegger rides up a glass elevator—on horseback—in pursuit of a terrorist who is riding a neighboring glass elevator.  That scene was filmed at the Bonaventure, and is even commemorated by a plaque hanging between the elevators in the lobby.  I'll admit to feeling a little apprehensive on the ride up, but the ride back down went much more smoothly, thanks to a belly full of wine and steak.

The restaurant offers a good selection of wine, with good prices, though not quite as good as we initially thought. We ordered a 2006 Turley Juvenile Zinfandel, but we wound up receiving a 2009. While the price was still good for a 2009, it wasn't nearly as good as it would have been for a 2006. We went ahead and enjoyed the 2009, and later enjoyed some free desserts to make up for the confusion.

The side items were mostly disappointing, with one exception. We sampled the vermont white cheddar macaroni, creamed corn, and spinach. All except the spinach were quite underwhelming. That goes double for the vermont white cheddar macaroni, which definitely failed to live up to the expectation of its appetizing description. The diamond in the rough was the spinach, which was combined with smoked bacon and caramelized shallots. It was fantastic, though adding bacon to anything makes it better, so this might be considered cheating in a side dish that is primarily a leafy green vegetable.

Our steak selections ran the usual gamut of filet, ribeye, strip, and porterhouse. The porterhouse was wet aged, and both the ribeye and the strip were available both wet aged and dry aged. We all prefer dry aged, and chose that option. The cuts were good and free from excessive fat, though one of us found his filet a bit on the thin side. The cooking and flavor were also good, very good even, but didn't quite make it over the line into "great" territory. Seasoning was subdued, as we prefer, so as not to overwhelm the flavor of the steak.

So, was it worth it? The price was definitely high for the quality of the steak, but the wine prices were better than average and the view was much better than average. Therefore, from a purely steak standpoint, the answer is no. However, from an overall restaurant experience standpoint, the answer is... maybe. If the view has some value to you, whether it be for a romantic dinner or to impress a client, and you're planning to enjoy some wine, then the price is not unreasonable. If you're looking for a great piece of steak, LA Prime won't be at the top of your list.

L.A Prime Photos

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