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#49 La Boucherie on 71 - Downtown LA

Rating: 3.50 cows


Rising up from LA’s concrete jungle, higher in fact than any building west of the Mississippi, the Wilshire Grand Center is home to one of the newest entrants to the Los Angeles steakhouse scene. Nestled seventy-one floors above ground level, La Boucherie on 71 is a gorgeous restaurant with sweeping views of the surrounding skyline. No space was ignored—even the bathrooms could make you queasy if you’re a bit acrophobic.

First things first. The bar at La Boucherie is elegantly appointed, both by alcohol variety, mixers, and other fixings. The bartenders seemed a little standoffish at first, as if they were trying to be particularly proper, but then didn’t hesitate to casually chime in to our conversation. The old fashioneds were excellent. Of course it helps when you you have a solid base (Buffalo Trace), but a great old fashioned is much more than a bit of bourbon. For $16, this was well worth it, and that’s not even counting the ambiance or the view.

Our party of 6 was seated at around 8pm, and we chose our dinner from LED-backlit menus, which reminded us of our meal at Larsen’s. The wine list was delivered via iPad, which was a nice bit of technology, although the app they were using left a lot to be desired. But we’ll give them a pass for that. The wine list is extensive as you might imagine. The median price for a bottle of red appeared to be around $3-400, with a few options under $100 to consider. We went with a 2006 Syrah from Santa Ynez that was very good at $99.

La Boucherie is French-inspired, which also should come at no big surprise. Most of the French influence is felt in the appetizers, with options such as frog legs and pickled vegetables in lieu of more traditional options such as a Caesar salad. The steak selections are ample, with at least 10 different cuts available. Most are available boneless or bone-in, and they also throw in a few Wagyu options as well (sold by the ounce). Be prepared to throw down at this place though, most steaks are in the $80+ range, with the Wagyu options going between $30-35/oz (minimum 6 oz).

They started us off with a raspberry-flavored amuse-bouche and bread service. The bread was interesting—instead of delivering a basket to the table, each person was served a single piece of bread. Five brioche and one baguette. After that, we were asked to select our cutlery from a knife menu—a definite first in our 48 other steakhouse trips. There were 10 different knives to choose from—all of which we presume were more than capable, so it kind of came down to personal preference, offered with a bit of unstated hubris.

For a proper appetizer, we went with the bison filet. This was our first time trying bison steak, and it seemed like a good way to try out a new flavor without sacrificing our main meal. Fortunately for us we each only got a few ounces. While bison burgers are often more juicy and delicious than a beef burger, we don’t think the same can be said for bison steak. The steak was ok, but tougher than we would have liked. Also, the top of the steak had a pretty thick layer of doneness that affected the flavor of the rest of the meat, which was cooked rare plus as we had asked.

The steak also came out colder than it should have. It tasted like it had been sitting out awhile before it was served to us, which makes sense given that it took a long time for it to come out. The staff were apologetic and offered another one, but given what we knew we had coming, we declined. They later removed the bison from our bill.

Awhile later, the main courses were served. Among us we ordered the bone in and boneless filets, two porterhouses, an Italian rib eye, and a NY strip. Here it was sort of a mixed bag. The filet was very good, and cooked to perfection. It was drier than many other filets we’ve had, and while this is certainly the trick with a filet, we felt that for the $80 price tag, although it was strong, it didn’t quite live up to itself. On the other hand, the bone-in version was exceptional, and easily worth the $15 premium. It was tender as can be, juicy and full of flavor; a truly excellent steak. The porterhouses, strangely enough, were on the cheaper side of things. Sporting both a NY and a filet, this steak usually claims top dollar. When they were delivered, we saw why. Both porterhouses were less than 1” thick, and just did not resemble the cut we expected. The filets and strip portions were barely discernible with hardly a bone separating them. They were both cooked to order and tasty, but just didn’t satisfy. Both the “Piedmontese” rib eye and the NY were very good steaks in both texture and flavor, but really didn’t stand out in the way we’d expect or hoped.

We ordered 4 sides for the table. The asparagus was fine. Cooked well and tasted like asparagus. The Pommes Anna (cooked potato slices with butter) was quite good, but also quite small. The duck fat fries were good, though not great. So the mushrooms were the clear standout (for those of us who like mushrooms), 3-4 different types sautéed with butter and a touch of salt.

Speaking of salt, there was a lot of salt at La Boucherie on 71. At multiple points they offered an array of 8-10 different salts, which we tried with our appetizers and steaks. While they were good, it was easy to overtake the flavor of the meat, and these steaks were good enough that they really didn’t need any extra salt. So it was more of a novelty than anything else, though they were good. They also had a surprising assortment of mustards, which like the salt was interesting on its own, but seemed a touch out of place. Maybe it’s a French thing, but these steaks didn’t need the mustard either. If you like salt and mustard to go with your steak, then you’ll be happy here. Otherwise, don’t be fooled—these steaks don’t need either.

One area where La Boucherie stands above the rest is the prices of their desserts. While we’ve experienced $80+ steaks before (notably at Alexander’s), this is the first place with dessert options averaging $20. While we usually would never shy away from a chocolate sundae, this one was $18 and by the waiter’s own admission the smallest of all the dessert options.  We opted instead for the Mousse au Chocolat, a $22 concoction with a chocolate sphere filled with sorbet and ice cream, set alight with rum and melted into a gooey mess. It was very good, and certainly shareable.

In the end, while we had good food and great views, ultimately we found it hard to recommend this place unequivocally due to the high prices and slow service. That isn’t to say the waiter wasn’t cordial and accommodating, but it took us almost 3 hours to finish our meal, and it was not due to the place being packed (as far as we could tell). It also did not appear that there was a legitimate reason for things taking as long as they did.

If you’re in the area and looking for a steak dining experience near the top of a very tall building with sweeping views, then you could do a lot worse than La Boucherie. But we felt that the prices were reflective of the building, of the views, and less for the actual steaks. Don’t get us wrong—these are very good slabs of meat. But all things considered, we weren’t swept up in the way we were hoping. 

La Boucherie Photos

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