Is It Any Good?

The other restaurant hidden inside the House of Blues on Sunset.

Foundation Room on Urbanspoon
Foundation Room at the House of Blues on Foodio54

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m a pretty low maintenance guy.

C’mon, if you’ve been reading this site, you’ve seen what it is I like and treasure in Los Angeles.  Is it the fanciest of the fancy? The upper crustiest of the crusty? No. I like my menus plain and simple. I like my atmosphere minimalist. Wurstküche is my idea of a good time for pity’s sake. As are places like Sinbala, Sapp Coffee and Lunasia.

Yet, at least once a week you’ll catch me having a very nice meal (with First Class service), along with a beautifully poured drink (again First Class service) and listening to a good up and coming band the House of Blues’s Foundation Room.

Contradiction much?  Yeah, maybe a little.  But I like a nice drink and I like some up-and-coming Live Music.

Okay…so, first things first, just what the heck is the Foundation Room at the House of Blues?

The House of Blues itself is a deceptively large Live Music, Bar and Restaurant complex. Despite the way it looks from Sunset, it is actually three levels. The main level (the one most people are probably familiar with) is the Main Concert Stage. This is where most of the big acts perform, and where you’ll enjoy the Sunday Gospel Brunch every other Sunday during the year.

The second Level is Crossroads, a more straight ahead Cajun affair, that also has a small performance space for developing artists. (Mind you, developing Artists is a term of respect on this site. The acts performing here may have a CD out, but may not be nationally known. Rare is the instance where you get an awful performance anywhere in the House of Blues).

Crossroad’s food is not bad. You slide in and maybe have a drink, maybe have a quick bite, catch the game on the Bars TV, what have you.

The top Level is both the Parish Room (another venue for developing Artists), and the Foundation Room itself.

The Foundation Room is first and foremost a Private Club. Now, it’s just a Private Club that folks can get in most nights. You just pay the fee at the door, get a wristband, and enjoy the show.  Club Members can skip ahead to the wristband and enjoying the show part.

Foundation Room's White Party 2014

There is a great bar there that actually pours a decent, never watered down drink. You can get some food at the bar. There are some nice comfy couches, and even a fire going.

Just be aware, if you are not a member (and for the record, I am) it is a club. Now, the House of Blues Staff is going to treat you like family, Club Member or not, but…just understand the Club Members come first. There are spectacular dining rooms in the Foundation Room (like the Captain’s Room and Table 945), but the Club Members get those.

Don’t worry, they’ll be roped off, so you won’t make a mistake.

You are welcome to the easy chairs and couches, just be aware you may be hustled out if a Club Member needs one or reserves on.

And no, you won’t be getting the 10% Food and Drink Discount the Club Members get.

So, I’d recommend going ahead and joining the club. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised that you can afford it.

Getting in is no problem. Either take the steps next to the Main Floor Entrance, down where you parked your car (more on that in a minute), or take the Elevator. Look for the people handling the cash box at the door, pay your way in and step up to the bar.

Unless, of course, you’re a Club Member, then–…well…do I really have to rub it in at this point?

Foundation Room's White Party 2014

WHAT SHOULD I GET?: I have friends who are not big fans of Crossroads. I thought it was pretty decent. Not the best Cajun in town, but enjoyable. Still, the Foundation Room is more than a cut above Crossroads. There are touches of good ol’ Louisiana on the menu, but it’s really about showing off the talents of Executive Chef, Aaron Sanchez.

So, this is a menu I know fairly well, so let’s go through the things I’ve had.

Under the Small Plates menu, I usually get the Charcuterie and Cheese. It’s just the Chef’s Selection of various cheese and cured meats, and is a great way to snack on something if you’re not sure of what to get otherwise.

The Chicken Lollipops really belong under the House Specialities, as they are enough to be a meal in and of itself. They are fist sized fried chicken legs drizzled in a nice Gorgonzola Aioli.

The Slow Roasted Pork Belly is nice. Not my favorite, but nice. It’s a good, tender hunk of Pork Belly, laid on a lovely bed of Fennel.

The Japanese Yellow Tail Bruschetta have been selling like hotcakes since they were introduced. I haven’t had them, given my Seafood Allergy, but everyone who’s had them has raved about them to me.

Under the House Specialities:

The Herb Rubbed 1/2 Grilled Chicken is rapidly becoming my favorite thing on the menu. You might look at it and…”Ehhh, so what?” But it’s really nicely prepared. It’s drenched in a rich, dark broth and sits atop a bed of roasted vegetables that are almost as good as the Chicken itself. A must have as far as I’m concerned.

The Foundation Room makes great steaks, and great steaks of various sizes. And when I say great steaks, I mean Arroyo Chop House level great steaks.

Things will rotate in and off this portion of menu. Earlier this year, they had a lovely Korean Short Rib laid on a small bed of House-made Kimchi which was delightful That will be coming back at some point.

Lounge Menu:

If you can’t roll through the Dining Room, you can always avail yourself of the Lounge Menu, which has also been substantially upgraded with some fairly decent Asian items now. Some of the items under Small Plates are on the Lounge Menu as well, but there are a few differences.

The Market Cauliflower Tempura is a nice, tasty surprise. The Cauliflower is only lightly fried up, and the two dipping sauces, Sambal Oelek Aioli and Ponzu Sauce are delicious as well.

Then there are the Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs, which may be my favorite new addition on the menu. They’re served with gem lettuce for you to make little rolls in. Just cut the Meatball in half (unless you’ve got a mouth like a Anaconda), add on the Thai basil, Mint, and your choice of Hoisin Sauce or Sriracha, then go to work.

The Bahn Mi Tacos are just as advertised. A Banh Mi in Taco form. The meat is Duck, and al the accoutrements are there. The shell is even deep friend like an Egg rolls. The only issue is that once you bite into it, there may be some structural integrity issues (i.e., holding the thing together), otherwise delicious.

The Skirt Steak Skewers are just so perfectly tender and delicious, and come smothered in an equally lovely Chimichurri Sauce. Two sticks to a plate. Just grip it and rip it.

And finally, we have the Chicken Tikka Skewers. They are tasty. They are delicious, but make sure you order a glass of water to go with it. The Mango Habanero dipping sauce is lethally hot. You won’t think so at first, as you take your first bite and your head swims in desserty deliciousness.

Then the Habanero hits you like a freight train.

Ouch.

But hey, some of you are into ouch, so…no worries.

 

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Can’t be said enough. You are most always welcome, as a non-member at the House of Blues Foundation Room.  Just remember, they are going to cater to the Club Members first.  They’re not going to ignore you, they’ll just lean more Club Member, etc.

The rules for dress aren’t nearly as strict as the Magic Castle’s, where you must wear a Coat and Tie at all times. Here, just come looking professional. No ripped jeans or anything. Step in, behave yourself and you’ll have a great ol’ time.

 

PARKING: The House of Blues has it’s own Parking Lot, which can run you about $20 Bucks. Despite that cost, I’d recommend it, just because it puts your car in a fix spot for the night. I’d recommend doing this no matter what club or restaurant you’re at. The closer your car is to you, the less you’ll have to stumble and fumble your way to it when you’re ready to go home.

Pay for convenience, and get it the hell over with, I say.

Then again, since on Weekend Nights, the House of Blues Lot can be filled up (even for Members) by 7:45-8:00pm, you may need a backup plan anyway. There are a few Public Lots nearby, one semi-across the street on the Comedy Store’s side of Sunset Blvd. It too can fill up REALLY fast. Past that you are on your own.

I would not recommend chancing it with the nearby Residential parts of West Hollywood, as they are primarily Permit-only parking. Parking there is a surest way I can think of to a ticket.

 

MAP DIRECTIONS:
House of Blues
Foundation Room
8430 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA
90069

Tel: (323) 848-5100

Hours:
Tuesday-Thursday: 6:30pm – 12:30am
Friday-Saturday: 6:30pm – 1:30am