Now you’re talking! But first I need to go buy an expensive knife.
What’s their knifeage fee?
Many do - at Peter Luger as well. My father and step-mom adore it on steak and always keep a few bottles on hand.
Though, I believe, the original intent was for the onion/tomato salad. The first time I ever enjoyed either a raw onion or a raw tomato was on that salad and the enjoyment was probably more that sauce than either plant.
Ok seriously though, what were they expecting the dining experience to be with these sliced raw onions? I mean when I get onions @ a kbbq joint it makes sense, throw it on the grill to make grilled onions. But here? Were they expecting you to cut chunks of raw white onion to eat with your meat?
That’s what you get at Persian restaurants, but they don’t charge extra for it. You take a little slice of sweet raw onion and eat it with the meat.
Sumac and butter is also free at Persian places.
$10 (fraction of a) white onion and precious knives aside, I am looking forward to more, detailed reports about their featured meats, specifically the Signature APL Short Rib. I feel like that’s something that should be knocking it out of the park consistently with APL at the helm. I think of another high-end steakhouse, The Grill in New York, which was firing on all cylinders out of the gate with an impressive full menu right upon opening. Well, I visited about 2 weeks after opening but the operation was so smooth that I felt like it had been there a while, and the kitchen had the menu sorted out with aplomb. It can be done.
I know APL Restaurant has potential given APL’s high profile and background, but they’ll have to bring their A-game to fill those big shoes. Sloppy opening-week errors aside, here’s to hoping they can ramp up to meet their potential. Though I was expecting a barbecue restaurant given his background, there is always room for a high-end steakhouse, but such places need to be pretty damn near perfect.
Oh, and enough about the knives. From the Food and Wine article: “Lang smiles as he points out that he’s already made 320 knives and has enough steel to create hundreds more. But he really hopes he doesn’t have to replace any knives. He’s got more than 60 cameras at APL, and his staff will use hand signals to keep tabs on how many knives get dropped at each table.”
We get it, they’re precious. So are the ridiculously expensive plate ware, vintage Japanese ceramics, expensive cutlery, etc. many other places. Some of the Japanese ceramics at other restaurants are either handmade by someone in the restaurant or are hundreds of years old vintage, but they don’t come with such a warning, which even if tongue-in-cheek, can be easily misinterpreted. The whole “don’t steal my knives” refrain will only sit right with some people.
I don’t mind paying a great deal for great food, but at such places I don’t want a hint of feeling like I’m being nickel and dimed. At this level, anyway. Here’s a thought - raise the steak’s price a little bit, but offer the onions w/ steak sauce or a similar, inexpensive side as a no-cost option. Maybe even a sauce or two. “Would you like some onions on the side, they’re on the house.” If the meats are that good, $5 added to the menu’s price or so won’t hurt. It’s about expectations. One pete peeve of mine at some 3* place up here in Northern California is that they charge $15 for bottled water though they don’t mention it up front (note: not talking about APL nor the usual 3* places I mention in SF). I think APL can correct the onion error / opening snafus and move forward if they smoothen out the experience and make the meats as compelling as the hype.
I’ll keep an eye out on reviews since this was originally on my list for my next LA trip.
EDIT: They’re planning an APL taco walk-up window takeout. They’re working with GLAD (Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness) to employ those who are hard of hearing. Bravo to that, and here’s to hoping that succeeds.
At this point they’ve written us off as onion obsessing nuts. But it’s not true. We’re not bitchy Yelpers who live to slam restaurants. We’re people who celebrate restaurants and want them to be great. But we also don’t want to be treated like tricks.
I haven’t been to APL yet but ate the Oklahoma beef rib at Daisy May’s many times. One difference is the rib at APL appears unsauced.
I’m eagerly awaiting the New Yorker hit piece.
Nah, if they’re at all familiar with this site, I’m pretty sure that’s not true. In fact, I’m pretty sure some of them are secretly chortling at the comments.
I love that and had similar thoughts!
At least when Alice Waters served a single peach, it was for some pretentious moral lesson that she probably though was profound. The onion just seems cynical.
It’s free, but if you steal it, you bought it.
No, the opposite. We’re onion haterz b/c we can’t fathom paying $10 for some slices of onion.
Nicely said @BradFord.
When I went to Saison (Michelin 3 Star, which is much more expensive than APL), they happily brought out an extra (repeat) serving of their famous Sea Urchin Liquid Toast because I couldn’t stop smiling after I ate it. I didn’t even ask; one of the servers noticed how happy I was, and then a few courses later, just presented me with another because he saw how happy it made me feel. That’s a nice gesture, classy and the complete opposite of nickel-and-diming.
Absolutely. They’ve done that with the urchin toast, dessert, etc. they don’t charge for water (really, at that level nobody should), they don’t charge the 4% "Healthy SF ‘mandate’ that others do, etc. From my experiences, and as confirmed by others’, Saison always make people feel pampered yet at ease. They have their service down, and they are really adept at finding the right level of attentiveness without being hovering. In many ways, they are an industry standard. (also note how many of their dishes “inspire” others, and I’m not just talking around SF)
Their excellent former maitre d’, Michael Judge, is now at COI. I am not keen on revisiting COI for the food (was never really a fan of Daniel Patterson’s brand), but they have a brand new CDC and the service is definitely there if Michael Judge is at the helm. With that said, even as people have come and went from Saison, the service has always maintained very excellent standards.
APL is of course a very different restaurant than Saison, with very different aims, menu, pricing structure, etc. APL may not be able to give all the freebies that Saison does, but the principle is there - exceed customer expectations, include items instead of charging here and there, and the high prices don’t matter so much when the overall experience and food are good. Anyway, I need to get back to Saison, but NY first, and then another brand new restaurant, Birdsong (of a former chef from Saison, whom I met several times at Saison and In Situ)…will report back indeed.
Maybe a plate of onions?