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BOA Steak House

8462 Sunset Blvd (in the Grafton Hotel)
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone: 323.650.8383

Date of Visit: 27 January 2008
Previous Visit to This Restaurant: 05 October 2003


It was, without a doubt, the worst meal I have had in years! Oh wait! That was for breakfast on Monday morning, not dinner on Sunday. Sorry about that. Please read on for the details.

It was time for a revisit to BOA, and what better excuse than their Sunday Wine Lovers night, where all wine from their wine list is half-price. So the ChiefMeatInspector and his lady, Ms. Debbie, headed west from the Great IE and I drove up from the Cheap Seats in lower Los Angeles. The traveling couple took a room at a nearby hotel, while I elected to stay in the hotel where BOA is located: Grafton Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. Warning: If you do decide to enjoy BOA's Sunday Night Wine Lovers Night, by all means, do not drive! Stay at the Grafton or nearby. [Rant over.]

After pre-dinner libations in the BOA Bar, we walked across the hotel lobby to BOA. After once again discovering we entered the hotel door, we were shown to the reception desk and then promptly seated for our 7:00 PM reservation.

I will not go into details here on BOA's decor. Some of that is covered in my previous review. But it is modern and reasonably comfortable (if not a bit close at times). So let's cut to the chase and get to the food.

We were hungry, and that was evident from what we ordered. For the three of us, we ordered the goat cheese Baklava ($14.00). The ChiefMeatInspector and I ordered the Caesar salad, which is prepared table-side ($24.00 for two). Ms. Debbie grazed on the salad from the ChiefMeatInspector's plate. For the entrees, Ms. Debbie ordered the petite filet ($32.00), the ChiefMeatInspector opted for the bone-in peppercorn rib eye ($34.00), and, being the adventurous foodie that I am, I decided on the "American Kobe Beef" rib eye (10-oz) from Washington State ($62.00) Yes, sixty-two dollars. (What was I thinking?!) And then there were the sides. (I told you we were hungry.) We ordered the baked potato ($8.00), Mac N Cheese ($7.00), sautéed mushrooms ($9.00), and grilled asparagus ($9.00). And for the wine? We started with the 2005 Caymus cabernet sauvignon (menu price $150.00) and then the 2006 Flowers pinot noir (menu price $99.00). Ok, I know. We had wine wines in the wrong order.(General Rule: White to Red; Light to Heavy.) But I saw the Flowers on the wine list and wanted to give it a try. So get over it. Oh yes, there was desert. The CMI had what was called Bananas Foster (not traditional Foster) or something like that ($9.00). Having absolutely no culinary adventure left in me, I ordered the cheesecake ($9.00). Alright, now, let's eat. (We all traded portions of what we ordered so everyone had a chance to sample everything.)

Goat Cheese Baklava. The goat cheese Baklava appetizer was interesting. It was layers of thin phyllo dough sheets with one large layer of goat cheese. It had a nice crisp crunch and the cheese was good. But it was nothing to write home about. Goat cheese should have been a thinner layer and placed on more than one layer of the desert.

Caesar Salad. This was a disappointment. We had the Caesar salad on our first visit and both the salad and preparation were excellent. This time, the salad was extremely spicy and tasted of way too much Tabasco. (Unfortunately, the three of us were too busy discussing the Baklava and wine and were not paying proper attention to the salad's preparation.) In fact, Ms. Debbie (who was poaching bites of salad from the CMI) and I thought it was rather unacceptable. The CMI did not mind the more intense flavor.

Petite Filet. This was good. As you may know from my past writing, I am not much of a filet fan. But for some reason, this one hit the mark. It had flavor! Perfectly prepared, flavorful, with a nice crust. Very good filet, with both price and quantity exceptional.

Peppercorn Bone-in Rib Eye. Fat is Flavor. Rib eyes have a lot of fat, which generally make them extremely flavorful. The CMI did not think it was that tender but said it was "tasty." I did not sample this steak, but Ms. Debbie and the CMI thought it was good but had "too much fat." It looked nicely prepared, with a great outside char.

American Kobe Beef Rib Eye. Ok, I had to give it a try. But at $62.00, I am sure I will not be standing in line to order it again. Not primarily because of the price, I just thought it was an average cut of Dead Cow. Yes, it was tender. Yes, there was flavor but not the quantity or quality of flavor I expected. Personally, a nice New York would have been much better.

While we were exchanging bites of Dead Cow, BOAs manager came over and chatted with us. He asked if I was familiar with Japanese Kobe and I said that I had not had any in decades. He left, and returned a short while later with their appetizer plate of Japanese Kobe beef. (This sells for around $75.) He gave us the plate and asked us to compare and enjoy. What a difference! There is no comparison at all. The Japanese Kobe is the foie gras of beef. Exceptional flavor, and enough fat that we heard our arteries clogging after each bite. But this is true Kobe and it was wonderful.

The Sides. We were all disappointed with the baked potato. Although it was large enough to server a small family, it had the taste and internal texture of a potato that was baked, sat around for a while, and then reheated. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as that taste/texture can be nice. But it was something we were not expecting. We feel they can do much better on their baked potatoes. Sadly, their "Mac N Cheese" did not fare any better than the potato. It was practically tasteless. Mac and cheese is a traditional steak house staple, we have had the opportunity to eat it as many other steak houses. For example, the mac and cheese at Mastro's in Costa Mesa in fantastic. And the offering from Nick and Stef's in downtown LA is exceptional. So BOA has a ways to go to make their mac and cheese "steak house quality". The sautéed mushrooms were unremarkable but not terrible. Once again, it was just a lack of flavor. The CMI is not a mushroom fan but he did manage to munch on one or two fungi. The stand-out side was the grilled asparagus. With trimmed stalks and a crispy bite, they were perfectly cooked and the grill flavor exceptional.

Dessert. It was called Bananas Foster, but not in the traditional sense. The CMI, who in fact is a Bananas Foster expert, said the presentation of the "log cabin" stacked bananas was "clever". He also thought the scoop of ice cream served with the Bananas Foster tasted homemade. The cheesecake was, well, cheesecake. It was good, we all thought, but not earth shattering. I also had a cup of coffee. As restaurant coffee goes, I did not expect much. But this was exceptional. In fact, it was arguably the best cup of coffee I had had in a restaurant in decades. The only negative was that getting a second cup took more time and effort that it should. On another plus, the menu says they charge $4.50 for a cup, but did not charge us for the coffee. No more complaints about the free coffee.

The service was efficient and the waiter very pleasant, but he was a bit canned in his presentations. Bus service was quick and efficient. Restaurant management is also attentive, visiting our table several times. He even followed us out of the restaurant and into the BOA bar after dinner to give us his business card. Why? Well, when you see three people sitting at one of your tables, with notebooks out and writing feverishly, you might be at least a little curious. But true to our pledge, the members of the Dead Cow Society remained anonymous.

Overall, the meal was good and the experience a lot of fun. But we think BOA has some issues to resolve. We are giving them 4 Dead Cows, and they came close to only getting 3.5. This rating is a reduction from our previous review, and it is caused mostly by their lack of attention to details with their side orders and some minor service issues. They do need to revisit some of their dishes, their preparation, and pay some more attention to service.

Oh, and about breakfast? Since I was staying at the hotel, I had breakfast on Monday morning at BOA, which serves as the restaurant's breakfast place. Well, it is a good thing I am not awarding Dead Cows for their breakfast because they would receive one-half Cow! It was terrible. I won't go into details here but if you are staying in the Grafton, do yourself a favor and have breakfast elsewhere. (Email me if you must know the details!) The one high point? They use the same coffee for breakfast as they do for dinner. The coffee is excellent! And at a cost of $4.50 for a cup, the cost will be just less than half of your breakfast entree cost!


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  Wine Pricing (FOR SUNDAY NIGHT!!)

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