Thursday, February 26, 2009

Redwood Bar and Grill

Yo, ho, ho, I’ll have a bottle of rum please. And coke. And the Redwood burger with everything on it.

When my boyfriend invited me out to lunch at a burger joint, I expected, well, a burger joint. Not the inside of Captain Morgan’s galleon, complete with sails, ale barrel tables and a real human skull holding court over the hard liquor.

When I stepped indoors out of the bright overcast day, I was struck by the darkness of the restaurant. It’s not lit by candlelight, but the dim orange glow of the wall sconces gives that impression. As my eyes adjusted, I noticed the dark wood walls, reminiscent of a 1970s living room except for the white sailcloth and heavy rope rigging draped across them. Paintings of storm-tossed tall ships lined the front walls, while the back walls enclosing private booths sported paintings of sultry mermaids with large, very bare, breasts. My boyfriend didn’t notice the latter until I pointed them out. Either he is very savvy, or needs his eyeglass prescription checked.

Not only did the interior nail the atmosphere of the black belly of a brig, it smelled like it too. In any other eating establishment, the smell of brine, fish, and human sweat would have sent me right out the door, but here it just aided in the suspension of disbelief. I was in a pirate ship eating fish and chips with vinegar and a heavy dusting of pepper, and stealing bites of my boyfriend’s $12 dollar Redwood Burger (voted the Best in Downtown by the Downtown Daily News). Its half pound of beef was clearly hand-formed, moist, with a slight blush in the middle, covered with swiss cheese, bacon, tomato, onion, pickles and lettuce. The only interruption to the nautical charm (did I mention there’s a full sized cannon?) was the modern juke box embedded in the wall – but who can object to a juke box that plays Boston songs?

My dining experience was topped off by the pirate sitting in the booth next to us. He was grizzled, browned by the sun, talked to himself in a constant low growl, and was every bit the ancient mariner. I could smell him from where I sat. Ok, he wasn’t a pirate, just another half-crazed homeless man in downtown L.A. But he was courteous to the waitress, though he had to interrupt his dialogue with himself to say “please” and “thank you,” and the waitress was courteous to him. I will think of him as a pirate. He’d make a great pirate.

316 W. 2nd St. Downtown Los Angeles
Hours: M-F 11am-2am
Happy Hour M-F 4pm-7pm
Live bands & DJs at 10pm almost every night
P. 213-680-2600

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