A2 Rating Scale (out of 5):
A catch-up sesh with Madison Bath of Le Petite Bain was long overdue and we thought it was the perfect opportunity to hit up a spanking new spot (only 2 weeks young). The District by Hannah An it was.
Hannah is the daughter of the pair that brought you Crustacean Beverly Hills and with this being her first solo project, the pressure is on (someone had to say it). The location (on W. 3rd near Robertson) is one that has been cursed for many years now. Because of its gigantic space making it seemingly impossible to fill and quiet night scene, the vibe is always….dead! Hopefully with the success of the revamped A.O.C. nearby and the family name backing her, The District has a running shot; unfortunately after our visit we feel that it’s a long one. Although the new look is clean, we were expecting to get “AWE’d” and it was more like “MEH”. Sadly it didn’t look much different from the short-lived Duplex that was there before; sure the decor was different, but the layout seemed all too familiar. And to our disappointment, we definitely weren’t getting any Vietnamese inspired vibes.
The menu isn’t your typical Vietnamese fare; in fact we aren’t convinced it was influenced by any specific region at all. The drinks were YUM and creative, and while the food was good, we are more inclined to order the crab & uni noodles to-go and enjoy at home with Netflix and a bottle of vino, rather than dine-in again. Sure it was a Monday (we promise we will be going out on busier nights here on out, lesson learned), but the crowd was…non-existant. And we’re pretty sure the one other occupied table was 3 girls, yes GIRLS, with their 60 year old SUGAR DADDY. With over 300 seats to fill, we can’t imagine this place ever getting full even on the busiest of nights. However if you have the means, the upstairs would be beautiful to rent out for a a private event as the decor is simple (ahem bland) enough to transform as you wish (see photos attached).
We were told the menu was pretty health conscious, which is never a bad thing (unless it’s pizza, then “healthy” is always a bad thing). While the servers were nice and gave it their best effort, poor things just couldn’t pull it together. I’m sorry, but when you try and deliver, no joke, 5 plates to a table that didn’t order it, at some point some compensation is due. It’s called the hospitality industry for a reason.
Because we had so much to catch up on and good conversation can make any place fun, we had a FAB dinner. And per usual, we pretty much licked the plates clean (no shame here), so it couldn’t have been half bad.
WHAT WE ATE AND DRANK:
District Mule ($13) – [Alie] Gin, organic hibiscus agave, fresh squeezed lime juice, fever tree ginger beer, garnished with ginger and lime zest. Not too different from your traditional mule and by that I mean it was good. It surprisingly even accompanied the food nicely.
Love You Long Time ($13)– [Alex] Muddled fresh cantaloupe and cucumber, cucumber-infused Loft and Bear Vodka , fresh squeezed lime-juice, organic agave, garnished with cantaloupe and cucumber. Love me some cantaloupe, so the second I saw this drink, I knew it had to be ordered and that it was going to delicious. In this instance, I am glad I jumped to that conclusion.
Pisco Sour ($13)– [Madison] Macchu Pisco, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, organic agave, egg white, dash of Angostura Bitters. While Alex and Alie weren’t fans of this unique drink, it’s a fav of Madison’s and she was definitely very happy to see it on the menu..
Cha Gio Roll ($12)– Crispy chicken rice paper roll, garlic lime. These bite-sized beauties are great to share and to order as a starter for the table.
Crab & Uni Noodle ($22)– Crab, Uni handmade noodle, chive, Vietnamese herbs. After seeing a few pictures of this on various social media sites, this was a must order for us. And it lived up to everything we expected. Not heavy for a pasta and there was a large amount of crab and perfect petite proportion of uni. While everyone seems to be doing things with Uni these days, there’s a reason why.
Shaken Beef (Bo Luc Lac) ($29)– Cubed Filet Mignon, red onion, garlic, tomato, Thai basil, Chinese broccoli. This was a great dish to share because it was bite-sized and none of the pieces were tough or fatty. While Alie would get again; Alex didn’t think it was that special (could be seen for half-the-price in hole-in-the-walls around town). All in all, we were glad we tried it though.
Curry Brussel sprouts ($9). Didn’t taste any trace of Curry, which was the sole reason we ordered. One word: salty. Had the recommended daily dose of water afterward and couldn’t help but feel bloated & puffy the next day. And thirsty.
Lemongrass creme brulée ($5). With the dessert menu still incomplete, they were testing the waters and we think this little number should make the cut. Not huge lemongrass fans, so who would’ve thought we would have enjoyed it in a dessert of all things. We could have each ordered one of these sample sizes though, as there wasn’t even a full bite for each.
All in all, while the food was good, if you’re craving Vietnamese, this shouldn’t be your first stop. And if you’re craving a hot, fun ambiance, this shouldn’t be your first stop either. We’re actually not sure when you should stop by at all. Maybe we’ll give it a second chance if the space gets some life in it. And if you do decide to try it, don’t forget your $8 for valet.