This is one for the downtown folk. If your commute or residence lands in you in the business center of LA – otherwise known as the absolute worst visitor parking situation (read: most expensive) in Southern California on a workday – you may want to save a few bucks eating at Rowdy Red Wine & Burger Bar.
Named after a tomato heirloom, the wine and burger bar holds its own. Entrees range from a $3.25 grilled cheese sandwich to a $11.95 rare-seared ahi tuna burger. I can affirm that my resulting $6.50 mushroom burger was indeed a juicy one. Well-seasoned and a plain solid burger. All burgers are cooked medium with a pink center – the patty of which is 1/3 lbs of 100% natural angus beef.
And let me guess – now that you know the burger is solid, you’re wondering how the sides are. The onion rings were very much addicting – while the spinach and artichoke dip and chips seemed to leave little to be desired other than to satisfy a mayonnaise craving. If you are going for the starter, mozzarella sticks or the mini corn dogs would be the best bet.
Now if you’re going to serve bang-for-the-buck burgers in a business district, you best do so with wine. Wine is classy, remember? A nice feature of their wine selection is that you can order half bottles from a pretty rare selection of reds and whites. The 2006 Rutherford Ranch Cabernet starts at $17 per half-bottle while a 2005 Shafer Cabernet half-bottle is available for $50. But I thought their own wine label, named “Free Run Wines” was very respectable. The merlot ran a cool $5 while the cab was $12. Or, just a handful of basic brews are available for $3 (or a $2 PBR if you must).
The “must get” item on the menu, however, is certainly one of their shakes, all of which are $2.65. You can choose from Peet’s Coffee, chocolate peanut butter, oreo, or your basic vanilla, chocolate or strawberry.
One thing I might have thought would be interesting is their breakfast selection – especially if I actually worked downtown. They have a selection of pancakes, steak & eggs, breakfast burritos and sandwiches in addition to a spinach & mushroom omelette. They also feature Peet’s Coffee so you can get even your most basic morning fix.
Overall, this is a good place to get a solid burger at a bargain with nice extras on the side to sweeten the deal. It’s the standout in the food court. Kind of like one of those secret places you wish you lived around the corner from – for backup.
Rowdy Red Wine & Burger Bar
City National Plaza
505 Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
M-F 7:30 AM – 7 PM
Reservations only for large parties
Validated parking available at City National Plaza for $5