i mean, bistrotek, inside the custom hotel.

.the setting.the staff.

dark. hip. swanky. a touch retro. a touch industrial. trying a tiny bit too hard, but still a fun environment as airport hotel bars/restaurants go. restaurant week. overzealous manager who introduced himself twice and checked on us once during the meal. good, quick service overall.

a view from our booth toward the bar.

a much better lit photo by winnie. i guess they had a leak.

.the drinks.the food.
we ordered strictly from the $25 restaurant week menu, except for the extra drink i ordered. overall, the food was fine, but everything was too salty for both winnie and me. we both admitted we find food at a lot of places too salty for our palates. damn americans' love affair with salt!

my black cherry something drink. i was expecting something tasting like spiked cherry 7up or coke. it tasted more like loaded cough syrup with a tiny bit of fizz. the muddled, fresh cherries would have been a nice touch if the liquid part tasted good.

[winster's appetizer - rosemary grilled shrimp, red pepper almond cocktail sauce]
three firm, plump shrimp grilled nicely, but a little salty. i hardly remember the sauce. i love a good spicy cocktail sauce, but i think this one was creamy. i'm not sure as my old hag eyes don't do so well in dim lighting any more.

[my first course - split pea soup, ham hock croquette]
the soup was thick, rich, and flavorful without being too salty. i love croquettes of all kinds, especially those big, pure potato ones from korean and japanese bakeries. this one was cuter but too salty. the little chunks of ham in it were tasty but would have been better balanced with a more bland potato and crust.

[winnie's entree - caramelized sea scallops, shell bean succotash]
tender, borderline-too-chewy-but-still good scallops. not sure about whether the succotash was thufferin' or not as i didn't taste it. ask winnie.

[my entree - grilled hanger steak, stuffed potato, cream spinach]
if they had held the salt, this would have been excellent. the flavors were good, my medium rare steak was indeed medium rare, and the creamed spinach not overly cooked nor too soggy. the twice-baked potato was deeeeelicious and the best part of this plate. it had just the right amounts of scallions, bacon, butter, sour cream, and heavenly cheese in the starchy mixture. so. good.

they switched the dessert menu from what was posted online! grrrr! do not mess with girls' desserts!
[winnie's "coffee" + doughnuts]
the concept was totally cute, but the donuts fell flat, literally. mini donuts. mini espresso cup with a scoop of mocha ice cream. cute! but see how flat the donuts are? they weren't fluffy. they were covered in more cinnamon and sugar that you need for a churro (which is what it sort of tasted like). if they could get the texture of the doughnuts right, this would be a fun one. wait, donuts? i'm confused.

[my sweet grilled cheese]
a grilled cheese sandwich with mascarpone cheese and nutella inside. a richly sweet + tart raspberry sauce on the side for dipping. this was pretty yummy, but very rich and a lot of dessert after i had already eaten too much. nutella makes everything better. even rancid food. don't ask how i know that. and no worries, i haven't gone on a rotten food diet or anything like that, although i know someone who has.

.the custom hotel.

my attempt at an artsy photo that captured the juxtaposition of rough|smooth, cube|cylinder, and the little slice of the nice wood wall beyond the cylindrical booth/bench that i doubt will ever be lounged upon.

baaaaa!!! permanent residents of the lobby.

so. . .pastoral? dunno, the sheep were a bit random yet endearing at the same time.

one even let me sit on him.
p.s. i heart wiry chairs, but the lightness of scale of the ones at the bar amidst all the chunkos no worky for me.

after party in the hotel lobby. *crickets*

sexy winnie. the lighting is pretty sexy.

nice furniture and bar. neither of which you can see from this photo.

double-sided fireplace, with one side against the glass.
too bad our view outside was of the parking lot and parked car's tire.

i should not be allowed to carry a camera. i think i can cause seizures with my photographic skillz.

overall, it was a fun adventure on a dark + stormy night with winnie. i'd eat there again if i had those random visitors passing through on a layover for a handful of hours or was staying at the hotel, but i don't think i'll be going out of my way to go there just to eat again. it also was pretty quiet, so it'd be a good place to catch up with an out-of-town friend passing through LAX. i definitely would consider using their park & fly package if i had a crazy early morning flight.


  1. Looks like fun! The sheep crack me up!

  2. "Old hag eyes." Love it.

    And your photography skillz aren't seizure-inducing. That photo is totally photojournalistical!

  3. Baaaa! That's sheep speak, not to be confused with "bah."

  4. the flat donuts make me a little sad.

    funny, my mom and i often talk about how american food is usually pretty bland. i think maybe we just use a lot of seasonings in our food, including that fish sauce that smells like total and absolute ass, but adds such lovely flavor to just about everything.

  5. Grilled cheese dessert. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

  6. Your description is 10,000 times better than mine :) Yay for sheep and great friend!

  7. Hmm. That lobby reminds me of the Standard. The food looks great even if it was too salty. *drooling a little*


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