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Breaking Down Southern California into the categories that matter.

Perch

Perch
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You know, they’re right. It is a pretty good place to rest in Downtown L.A.

Perch on Urbanspoon

Perch on Foodio54

Downtown L.A. can be a bit claustrophobic.

What am I saying “bit” for? It’s way claustrophobic. You walk down on street level and it’s like the city’s choking you. You’re at the base of a concrete canyon, with tall buildings stretching up and up, all but blotting out the sky.

Let’s not also forget the street is where all that nasty stuff happens. Dirt, grime, danger, detritus…it’s all there. Plus there’s an unforgettable, human element of the people who have to call these street their home, lost and sad. It hurts just to look at them. It hurts to remember all the ways a city can fail.

Little wonder then people seek the relief of rooftop hangouts and repasts.

Lifting up from that view of the world, coming up from that den of vipers and thieves, you see another Los Angeles. You see the gleaming rooftops, the art deco palaces, the people in their offices working WAY too late. It’s hypnotic. It’s amazing. It’s—

—wait, why the hell are all these people looking at their cell phones, checking their Facebook feeds? Do they not see the view that’s…apparently…going on behind them. Are they just so jaded that they’re willing to miss out on the—

Oh what the hell am I saying, these are twenty-something hipsters. Of course they’re jaded.

Perch advertises itself as a way to rest, to escape, and yeah…it certainly does that. It’s parked atop one of L.A.’s Architectural gems, the…the…what was it again?

Yeah, I couldn’t tell you. Neither can the Perch Website. I kinda stopped reading after their third promise of a “unobstructed view”.

It’s the view grand? Well…yes. In short. If you come here seeking a drink or a mellow atmosphere, Perch is pretty damn spectacular. They have the occasional bit of live music. They even have a DJ’s that will…and I’m quoting the Perch website here: “keep you swaying throughout the evening”.  And if you want a bite to eat??

Ummm, yeah. We’ll get to that.

Look, in the end, it’s a nice place. It’s got a lovely horseshoe bar at the heart of the operation and a kind of kiosk up on the roof for your drinking and inebriation needs. It’s a great place, a fantastic place to get a drink.

But what if you’re hungry? Well…

 

WHAT SHOULD I GET?: This is where things get a little shaky. In short, it’s still really just about the view.

You look at the menu, and you are looking at a first class, straight ahead, French Bistro menu. This is usually a good thing, but here it’s…well…okay.

Not terrible. Not horrible, I’m thinking…average. Average even for L.A. French Food, which we can struggle with at times.

I personally started off with the Pork Belly starter, which was a nice small hunk of tender, fatty, unctuous Pork Belly cooked to perfection, covered with a Maple-sherry Vinegar Glaze. It was nice, but I might have been more impressed if I hadn’t had the exact same thing at a Casino in Vegas a couple of weeks before. But it was definitely better here, but only rated a maybe on would I have it again.

I followed that up with the the Steak Frites. Usually, when trying a French Place out, I’ve been known to get something I’m most familiar with just to run it against the database of previous experiences and other places. Here, again, we have good. We don’t have great, but we covered good pretty well. Nothing particularly memorable again, except for two things. One was the Truffle Fries, which were good but heavy as all get out.

The other thing that made it memorable was how the hell long it took to get out this stuff out there.

It was strange. After ordering our starters, the food appeared surprisingly quickly. They were nice size bites, and I and my dinner companions enjoyed what we had. But then, we waited…and waited…and waited for the main course, and for whatever reason, this took forever.

Remember this boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, don’t yell at your waiter or waitress when something like this happens. It’s not their fault. Your Waiter or Waitress wants to get your grub to you in a timely fashion. This was the Kitchen’s fault.  Something happened.  I don’t know what, but….

Of course, it would have helped in our guy had stopped by once or twice to let us know that it was coming right out, or apologize that things were taking so long. And it’s not like he was sitting around chewing the fat with a co-workers or other customers. He was running around like a jack-rabbit. Something was going on back in the kitchen that night. Don’t know what, but…something was going on.

 

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Let me lay out your “voyage” to get up to the restaurant, just so you know how it’ll work.

You’re going to start in the lobby and take an elevator 13 floors up. There you will be asked for your I.D. by the rather…large gentlemen employed by Perch. Once you get past him, there is one more elevator ride up to the 15th Floor, where sits the restaurant itself.

But even past that you can go up ONE MORE FLIGHT (this time stairs) up to the 16th Floor, where you can take in the view of Downtown L.A. proper.

Yeah, there’s an Elevator that goes up to 16.

 

PARKING: Umm, yeah. This is Downtown L.A. so…good luck. First step is to go to the Downtown L.A. Parking site for starters. From a cursory glance at their map there is something on Pershing Square very close to the Restaurant that goes for $16 bucks. If you’re willing to walk a bit further you can cut that down to $4-6 bucks, depending on what you find. But this is an area where I’d plan ahead before heading to the restaurant. That includes Reservations, too.

 

MAP DIRECTIONS:
Perch
448 South Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA
90013

Tel: (213) 802-1770. (Hey, they’ve got an old school 213 area code.)

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