Damn this sucks. An elite date night restaurant the east side doesn’t truly know what it’s losing.
ugh actually maybe the best summation of it that i’ve ever heard. an elite place to go with somebody you love (or maybe have some interest in loving) and drink some wine and vibe.
Pet theory: this category of restaurant (neighborhood, date night) really struggles in LA compared to NY or SF. At least on the “eastside” (know how freighted that usage is), there isn’t as much disposable income as rents would suggest, and there are so many affordable options.
But I may be totally wrong!
I also blame (with no real statistics @robert) the much narrower dinner “window” and therefore minimal turnover/seatings in LA joints vs NY joints. People in my old hometown seem to enjoy both earlier AND later dining than I see here.
In this case it was probably Covid more than anything else.
Yeah and they lost a massive amount of outdoor seating when the parking lot structure got taken down
Ehh, you’re dead on—and Eszett never really transcended the date night/neighborhood spot vibe in a way that it probably hoped to. It was never a destination spot, but honestly so few of the “east side” spots are.
Eszett was a special price range for me, lol. Just cheap enough that I could justify it spur of the moment on a Wednesday when I didn’t wanna cook. You got any recs for places to fill this void?
Gah, there just aren’t many places I really like eating at in HLP, Silver Lake, and Echo Park.
It’s an interesting conundrum. Lots of stuff that’s more affordable, and recently plenty has opened that’s more expensive, but Eszette was in a nice niche. Maybe Night + Market, ADB, Pijja Palace, Cosa Buona, Voodoo, Found Oyster, or whatever pop-up is at Melody on a given night would be in a similar range?
There are more places theoretically in that zone that should open in the next couple months, I think, especially in HLP and Cypress Park: Amiga Amore, Yi Cha, Barra Santos…
From my own experience, I rarely do a casual weeknight dinner in this category with friends - our work schedules are so uneven and mismatched that we just meet for drinks later on. Weekends are usually either lower end or higher end. So I’m at least partially to blame here.
Another factor, and may be telling on myself here, LA is so home-centric. I find myself cooking for friends or even getting take out for dinner parties/socializing that would almost certainly be in restaurants in New York. I’m almost more curious about the ones that do persist, L&E or Blair’s for example.
This is a good list, though I for one reason or another like Eszett more than any of those places.
I actually really liked Voodoo the one time I went but it was horrible value. 90 pp for one glass of wine and a meal that left us all hungry.
I think I liked how broad-ranging Eszett was. Felt very much like california cuisine to me whereas the majority of the spots you listed (even if they still feel like a distinctly Angeleno restaurant) served a very specific type of food, e.g. Thai, Italian-American, raw bar stuff.
Gah. I am stoked on the new hlp / cypress spots! Been waiting a while for the Portuguese wine bar.
What I’m taking away too from all these comments is it really could just be a number of compounding factors… dinner windows, loosing outdoor patio, etc. it’s interesting to see a number of east side restaurants getting taken down right at the beginning of the year (when the east side is really the best part of LA to eat IYKYK)
I’ll add in: geography of LA. On a weeknight many people are not gonna deal with traffic to go outside their immediate area for dinner unless it is a destination restaurant. So your potential audience on a weeknight is way narrower and even on a weekend a neighborhood spot might not be attractive enough to tempt you out of your normal stomping grounds vs a decent spot near you. If you live on the westside it’s gonna take a lot to get you out to echo park/silver lake on a weeknight.
I really don’t mind a 45-60 minute drive on a weekday evening, every once in a while, from westside to DTLA/MPK/SiLa.
But my wife detests it, so we rarely do it.
Even though its only 15 minutes back!
Ugh, had a great meal last night. For the first time in a long time, it was packed. Blah, I’ll miss it.
The east/west divide is real. As a NELA resident, I go west on weekdays all the time, it’s like 35-40 minutes to Santa Monica, even in rush hour because of the reverse traffic. Friends and fam never head my way though and I understand that. It’s an hour fifteen for them.
Still surprised that there haven’t been many (if any) legitimately high-end spots open out here. Saffy’s, maybe. I don’t count downtown. Corridor 109 will be great. I can take the train there. Yay.
Rank speculation, but I wonder if/how much EIDL loan payback is a factor.
Edit: not specifically for Eszett but for what seems like a wave of closures.
To further this point… the parking situation around Eszett was always hit and miss for me. I’d always find something, but knowing I’d need to spend some time potentially hunting would hurt.
Going to try and make it one more time this weekend!
There is also wine made on the island of Lesbos in Greece…
It’s odd to me that a business would brand themselves as a “lesbian wine bar”. I’m well aware of the historical significance, but that aside, it’s odd to me. The LGBTQX community has spent years working towards assimilation. Just seems like a backward step to me.
I don’t know about LA but in SF and Oakland restaurants and bars specifically conceived and marketed as queer are as much of a thing as ever.