6250 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
Parking: Validated parking by WHEELS - $5 for the first 2.5 hours and $3 for each .5 hours thereafter or $35 overnight. Also, neighborhood metered street parking
Drink Deals: $4 PBR, $5 Delphine Fusion, Sparkling Rosé, Pinot Grigio, Red & White Sangria, and Draft Beer
Food Deals: a la carte Seafood items from $1-3; other bites from $5-8
It’s a little strange that JG and I live in Hollywood, yet only rarely visit the newly cleaned up Hollywood & Vine corridor – complete with its W Hotel complex. For me, at least, I guess I kind of felt like giving the area some time to simmer as a Hollywood hot-spot before joining the madding crowd. Cut to almost a year later and the time seemed right; my pal Robin & I decided to meet up for a casual catch-up Thursday night Happy Hour at Delphine.
As I walked towards the restaurant along Hollywood Blvd., I marveled at how clean the neighborhood seemed. It definitely felt safer and more populated with non-kooks than the stretch that houses our beloved Woods on La Brea. The Hollywood area definitely felt tourist-y, especially with that night’s show of “Rock of Ages” playing at the Pantages across the street, but it was also sleek and urban – more like Chicago’s downtown streets than what I’ve come to expect in H-wood.
Walking into Delphine, the restaurant projects that exact same vibe – a sophisticated, metropolitan cool with its low lights and white décor. Happy Hour is served at the bar and seating area found when you first walk in from Hollywood Blvd. Robin and I grabbed a little table that would soon overflow with the delicacies of the sea.
See, the Happy Hour menu is such that individual shrimps, mussels, and oysters on the half shell (East Coast), and clam on the half shell can be ordered up for $1 each; the West Coast oyster goes for $2 apiece , an order of ceviche or olives is $3; fried calamari or roasted garlic hummus with flatbread is $6. Seeing these terrific-seeming prices, Robin and I went all for it – ordering a little bit of everything. Well, everything except the additional HH items of $8 cheeseburger, sliced steak sandwich, and Cheddar Cheese Fries w/ short rib gravy and the $5 Garlic Shrimp in olive oil. My personal favorite was the ceviche (nice mix of sea delights without the sea taste overcoming everything else), but I also loved the shrimp.
For our drink selection, we tried the $5 Delphine Fusion, basically a kool-aid drink with vodka, or as our cool server said, it’s kinda like jungle juice. Said cool waitress came back around to take last call Happy Hour drink orders at 7:10, ten minutes after Happy Hour was over = very cool.
Also cool-ish was the crowd, which was a big mix of date-night-ers, young professionals, classy people waiting for a dinner table, and people grabbing a cheap Happy Hour dinner before seeing “Rock of Ages” across the street. The back of the restaurant was more of a “see and be seen” scene that blends into the W’s other bars, but again – Happy Hour only takes place at the front of the bar – so all good for me.
Nice vibe, okay drinks, okay crowd, good food prices. All systems a go? Not quite… When we received our check, we had a quick sticker shock reaction; it was well over $25 than I thought it might have been. Doing some quick additions, I realized they had charged us an extra $10 for someone else’s sparkling rosés. Our waitress quickly removed this item, but Happy Hour still ran us about $35/person. I know we ordered a lot of food, but those small numbers add up quicker than I figured. And since I usually try to keep my Happy Hour trips to $20 or less ($30 at most), I wasn’t really feeling the $35.
Also, I wasn’t feeling the commission that the bar automatically adds to your bill. A couple problems with this: 1) We were a party of 2, I’ve never seen gratuity added for anything less than 6. 2) Only reading the fine print can you tell that “Commission can be raised or lowered as requested.” 3) The commission is set at like 13%, I believe. I was a little tipsy and had to do some math to figure out how much more I needed to leave for my pretty standard 20% tip (especially since the waitress was coolio!). I don’t know… am I just a rube and this is a new norm at bars? Even if it is, I guess I just wouldn’t expect to find it at Happy Hour…
However, even given my issues with the costs and billing, I would definitely recommend Delphine as a sleek spot for business drinks, a casual date, or a friendly catch-up. If you’re on a budget like moi, just be prepared to do some quick additions of the a la carte food items; they add up! And be ready for a little more math for the bill :).
Rating: 3.5 Martinis