Tuesday, September 13, 2011

ONYX: restaurant + lounge + bar


Los Angeles, CA. Wandering the up-and-coming streets of Downtown Los Angeles and pinpointing a relaxed atmospheric venue is a challenge. Tastes are questionable and the expectation is met with a rather underwhelming portfolio. Needless to say a low bar was set for this bar, but it won me over by the night's end. Onyx: restaurant + lounge + bar is undoubtedly a spot to try.  The owners of Stray Cat branched out into this evening set-up with dim lighting, candles, high-top tables and well-cushioned chairs. Pillars extend into the restaurant and the bar sits on a far end underneath a few flat-screens. Pay no mind to what they show, like the music selection, after a few beers you'll get why...otherwise, it will continue to make no sense.  Digression aside, it remains clear that the atmosphere is quaint, the set-up is comfortable, and the area is conducive to an early or late night exchange of conversation. 

Spicy Garlic Fries
Spicy Garlic FriesI started off my dine-in experience with this appetizer which seemed just a bit 'off' for the avid fry lover. The fries had a kick I've never quite tasted before - usually it's in the sauce paired with the appetizer or the fries are mildly "seasoned" but when have they ever successfully been spiced? It came paired with a cooling ranch which tamed down the initial bite. I originally shared with a friend but after more bites I found myself getting him to talk JUST so I could eat.

Mexican Cheesesteak
Mexican Cheesesteak - The steak comes wrapped and large but oh so delicious, steamy, warm, and gooey. Our server kept returning to the table, daring me to finish my meal. Could I? Yeah, I'm a man of hunger, so of course I devoured it. It was a typical cheesesteak sautéed (grilled rib-eye, peppers & onions) and layered with a few extras: jalapeño, salsa, cilantro, chipotle mayo....the combination took poor Philly to a new level, an flavorful explosion in anyone's mouth who's willing. The grilled jalapeno holds less punch - so those of you with a preference for the mild, you may not actually mind this.

Mexican Cheesesteak, up close and personal...
The "unique" quality of this bar is two-fold: 1) the chef modified the daytime menu for an evening lounge hotspot; 2) the design exemplifies the name: the tables and pillars are made with onyx (cryptocrystalline form of silica). The pillars actually play host to a warm light, emitting a soft yellow glow for you and your company to enjoy. Staff are either specific to the venue or work next door, but they are all friendly, attentive, and open and honest with with their food cravings. 

With friends or without, to enjoy a happy hour (Daily 4:30p - 7p) or a decent beverage, Onyx: restaurant + lounge + bar seems like an ideal nighttime spot for a drink or just to eat something tasty. I've been looking for an outlet similar to my Portland festivities at a similar cost and quality of cuisine. Although this venue is a bit pricier, I think I finally found a good contender.

restaurant + lounge + bar
118 W 5th St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 891-1144

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