Cafe Was is the new Ivan Kane joint in town. Now arguably I am not Ivan Kane's demographic, so his nightclubs have never held any allure for me, but I have known him to be a pretty polished kind of guy who likes to do things big! So, when some friends of mine invited me along for a Sunday brunch at CAFE WAS, I opted in. Ivan's restaurant is very well appointed and reminds me a bit of what the restaurant love child of Disney's GOLDEN HORSESHOE REVUE and THE HAUNTED MANSION would look like.
Here's what I liked about the place: I found the service to be friendly. I liked the decor. I liked my food.
Here's what I did not like:
We raked up a very large bill. This included all five of us ordering the $15 "bottomless" brunch cocktails. Our bill for food and bev came out to over $250. And the waiter, as he was setting down the bill, told us the bartender was cutting us off on our "bottomless" brunch cocktails. So I guess we found the bottom (Blogger's Note: there was no reason to cut us off. We weren't being rude or disorderly. In fact, we are a bunch of middle-aged adults who know how to handle ourselves properly.
Our waiter was training a new waitstaff employee. So we rarely saw our actual waiter. Except for when he took our order, cut us off at the bar, and came out to apologize for taking 30 minutes (actual time, not exaggerated) to get us the continental breakfast that we ordered for the entire table to share.
On my second trip to Cafe Was (with family), we parked on the street, right in front. When we came into the restaurant (four of us for lunch), I asked the host, the waiter and the bartender, if they would make change for TWO DOLLARS, so I could feed the parking meter outside. ALL OF THEM REFUSED TO MAKE CHANGE FOR ME. They told me that they don't have any change! The bartender even told me that they round up to the dollar, so there isn't any change! Then, he told me to go two doors down and ask for quarters at a coffeeshop. Which I ended up having to do. Thankfully the employee at the coffee place was able to pull two bucks worth of quarters out of her tip jar. So I gave her $3 back.
On my second trip, I ordered the continental again and asked for grapefruit juice. The glass of "juice" they brought me was so bad that it tasted like lemon juice. I actually think it was lemon juice, with a tiny bit of grapefruit juice that they had left over. When I questioned my waitress about it, she seemed to be expecting this from me. She brought me OJ instead and told me that I was certain to like it better. She was right. Perhaps she should have brought OJ instead when she discovered that the grapefruit juice was actually lemon juice? Or at the very least, come back to my table and asked if I wouldn't prefer something other than the lemon juice the bartender was eager to pour for me.
So...upon review of the above pro/con list, it appears as though my con list surpasses the pros. Good service is more than JUST friendly service, and Cafe Was did not offer that to me and my guests on either of the two times I went there.
Good atmosphere is important, but it doesn't make up for walking two doors down to get quarters, or for being cut off at the bar.
I did like the steak and eggs I ate on my first trip there. And the continental breakfasts that I had were delicious too. But this is Los Angeles, and I can get really good food at a number of places.
Sorry to be such a wet blanket on this one, but this is what I thought of the place. I'd be interested to hear back from HIH readers who've been to CAFE WAS. Like I say, the food was good, and my friends still love going there. But I don't think I'll be back anytime soon.