Truxton American Bistro, Westchester, Los Angeles

Truxton American Bistro, Westchester, Los Angeles

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  1. After listening to my mother rave about this new restaurant in her neighborhood, I finally broke down and decided to give it a try… when she volunteered to pay for the meal. After all the hype, I was expecting the next best thing to Lawry’s or Spago. Instead, it wound up being the trendy, high-priced version of Del Taco of which nightmares are born.

    Let’s start with the positive. I was expecting fashionable, and the place delivered, though it wasn’t blindingly stylish or even slightly ridiculous. In fact, it had a somewhat homey feel to it.  It especially reminded me of meals in the house in which I grew up, only a few blocks from Los Angeles International Airport (mostly because of the noise, which I’ll get to in due time). High ceiling, minimalistic decorations, comfortable chairs and solid, sturdy tables. My hackles didn’t rise the moment I entered the place, which is a good sign.

    The service was superb. Our waitress came by frequently to make sure that everything was as we liked it, without being overly obtrusive and bothersome. The whole staff wore smiles that were either genuine, or the management sends all of the employees to learn-how-to-fake-a-convincing-smile acting classes. This usually results from good management and employees who love their jobs and feel appreciated. I wish more businesses would learn this secret: if the customer feels that the employees around him are happy in their work, he will be a repeat customer (unless the food sucks… but we’ll get to that). Either the owners/managers are very well trained, or they have an innate understanding of how to handle workers and keep them on the payroll.

    On to the food, keeping in mind that I only tried a few items, so it’s hard to judge an entire menu. I ordered the honey glazed chicken wings; they came piping hot (so hot, in fact, that I had to wait 15 minutes before I could eat them, and they were still too hot) and slathered in the glaze. They tasted fine, a bit sweet for my tastes, but no complaints. The glaze was so thick that my fingers wound up covered with sticky goo that I could not wipe off with a paper napkin (which was all that they had on hand) and was forced into the embarrassing situation of having to lick my fingers to remove the glaze. Make that suck, actually, as licking was completely ineffective. The wings were somewhat dry under the glaze, definitely overcooked. 

    My wife ordered the rotisserie chicken (white meat), which means that I had rotisserie chicken for my second course, as she’s tiny and can never eat half of what she gets. This, too, was overcooked, which surprised me. Rotisserie chicken is, by nature, very juicy and tender. Even Costco can get it right, but the timer on Truxton’s Bistro’s rotisserie was apparently busted… or ignored. The garlic fries that came with the chicken were fine, nothing special and also slightly overcooked.

    For an appetizer, we had the monkey bread. This was fresh and rather tasty, but the six tiny pieces (a total of 12 bites) came to about $4, which is pretty pricy for a little piece of bread. I am disappointed to report as well that the bread contained not even a trace of actual monkey meat, which made me consider a lawsuit for false advertizing until I recalled all of the horrific diseases carried by some monkeys. That stopped my griping in no time.

    My mom had the cob salad. As I’m not a huge cob salad fan, I didn’t try it, but she went on and on about how good it was, so I guess she liked her meal more than my wife and I enjoyed ours. Again, nearly $10 for a salad—and one that isn’t by any standards huge, as this was the “half” salad—is a bit unreasonable if you ask me, while $10 for the four wings I had (cut into 8 pieces, but they can’t fool me: that still equals four wings, not eight!) was maybe a bit high, but not outrageously so.

    At first, I considered getting one of their burgers, until I saw that it cost over $14.  I have had many pricy restaurant burgers in my day, and not one can compare to the Double-Double from In-N-Out, which costs about a third as much, so I decided against the burger and the inevitable disappointment.

    The entire bill came to close to $50 for three people, with no leftovers and I was still hungry afterward. When we eat at ABC Seafood in Chinatown, we usually spend that much on a meal for three people, walk away stuffed to the gills and lugging takeout boxes packed with leftovers.

    Lastly, Truxton’s Bistro is one of the noisiest restaurants I have ever visited.  I know this is “LA Trendy” these days, probably because young people in this city—having graduated from LA City Schools and are therefore illiterate and barely cognizant—have no use for conversation with meals. I did notice that most of the customers were plugged in to one electronic media device or another, or talking on cell phones, which creeped me out more than a little. Here I was in a restaurant noisy with loud voices, and none of the voices was conversing with a person in the same room. Trendy this fad may be, but I loathe noisy restaurants. Because my wife, my mother and I normally engage in conversation between bites, I not only wound up saying, “Huh?” about a thousand times because I could not hear what the person sitting three feet from me was saying, but walked out of the restaurant with a hoarse voice from having to shout through the whole meal.

    Pricy, overcooked food with small portions (especially for the price) and acoustics designed to reflect rather than absorb sound resulting in a dining room as loud as a heavy metal concert made up my mind for me. Despite the wonderful service and the impressive staff, I will not be eating at Truxton’s American Bistro again… not when there’s an In-N-Out only a few blocks away.

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