Los Angeles, CA
Cross Street: Oakwood
8.30.06 - Wednesday, 8:15 PM
Myself plus 1 guest (Scoo!)
There's a lot you can gripe about at Largo. The tables are smashed side by side, the chairs are pretty damn uncomfortable, and the food - well, you're lucky if it's warm, isn't leathery, and is actually what you ordered. Over the years, the less than stellar menu has shrunk to meager status, and what's left can be lackluster and oogie. Don't go gettin' saucy and changing how things are served, either - you're likely to get a backlash from the chef. The drinks are weak, too - you'd be best to stick to Guinness and skip the mixed variety, even though Ellen the bartender is sweet as cane sugar, she isn't making a mean martini.
So why on earth do I keep going back?
It's paradise. All of Largo's inadequacies somehow add to it's charm, like a boyfriend you just adore, even though you see the flaws so clearly. Largo gets some of the best comedic and musical talent in the *world* - it's an ultra-special spot run by a truly classic Irishman named Flannagan that knows how to book and pamper talent. I've seen such extraordinary performances here, year after year, that they could serve me sauted tennis shoes, and I wouldn't much care. It's all about that stage.
On this particular night, the caustic and hilarious Greg Proops was hosting his monthly "Greg Proops Chat Show," featuring a couple of kickass guests. Proops is a wildcard, because he's so witty and harsh that he can lose the audience, and if he senses we're waning, he comes back full force with biting punishments, insults, and dreadfully long monologues. This time, however, he was on like Donkey Kong and dropping laughs in a staccato-fast tirade. Grant Lee Phillips opened the set with some acoustic gems, and Greg got us all riled up before the first guest even hit the stage. He then excitedly introduced his first guest, a very special one, he proclaimed, and then screeched all hail Lindsay Lohan. Out walked Drew Carey. He broke character a time or two, but overall, the whole bit was done with Lindsay and Greg, using words the real Miss Lohan couldn't even pronounce, let alone use in a sentence, and it was fantastic.
When Mr. Carey vacated, the star of the hour was ushered out - the incomparable Margaret Cho. Proops and Margaret are San Francisco natives that go way, way back, and their familiarity and respect for each other only heightened the humor. She later danced cabaret to a Phillips tune and the whole combo of esoteric humor, self-degrading giggles, and hyper-intelligent banter made for a spec-tac-ular evening. Despite the uncomfortable seating, unpredictable climate control, and so so food. Which reminds me. There's a new chef in town, and while the menu is the same, I am quite pleased to report things actually tasted a bit more delectable. Here's a rundown:
Black and Tan - one of the only safe drinks here, it's smooth and Irish-perfect.
House Merlot - surprisingly spicy and fruity - also a good bet
Iced tea - average
Plain white french slices with too-hard butter. All-ways.
Twice Baked Honey Chicken
* Flattened and battered chicken breast baked in a honey sauce and served with salad and mashed potatoes
Wow, this is SO much better than the old days. By flattening the chicken, it's tastes so much more tender and smooth, and while it's clear the mashers are still the instant variety, at least they were fully cooked and warm this time - improvements!
The damage for 2 drinks, 1 iced tea, and 2 entrees (we both had the chicken) was about $44. Worth every laugh-filled penny.
RESTAURANT REPORT CARD - Largo, visit 500. Or so.
Ambiance - B-
Service - C+
Food (Taste) - C-
Food (Presentation) - C-
Wine/Drinks - C-
Value - C+
Vibe/Energy/Scene - A
Overall Experience - B-
Final word - The grade is inflated because this is such a special place - just know it's about the talent, and not the food. On that scale alone, Largo is an A+.
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