Tuesday, June 30, 2009


3500 Figueroa Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 743-1843

Louis, Adam and I visited The Lab last Saturday evening. We are too old or out of touch to realize that Saturday was the second night of the Electric Daisy Carnival. We'd never even heard of the EDC, even though it's been happening at the Coliseum for something like 13 years. The streets around USC were full of scantily clad ladies and their gentleman escorts and the traffic was a mess. Anyhow, we did manage to finally get to The Lab for dinner after sitting in traffic for longer than it would have taken to get there on foot.

The Lab is a gastropub style restaurant across the street from USC and next to the Galen Center. It's interor is "science-classroom chic" a la 1950's, with clean white tiled walls, chalkboards and big community tables for experiments and more. Unlike any other science classroom I've been in, The Lab also has an outdoor patio complete with couches, heat lamps, and fire pits.

The Lab is owned and operated by USC, which is sort of a bummer if you want to get away from the large conglomerate that is the university, but also pretty great because it's doubtful anything like this could exist without them making it happen. We got an earful about the how, what, and why of the USC/The Lab relationship from the guy in charge of the establishment, but we will spare blog-readers the details and go instead to the important stuff.

Those in the 90018 know what happens if you're hungry after 9pm. The options aren't pretty. So for that reason alone, The Lab is a great addition to the neighborhood. The kitchen is open until 11pm!

The food is pretty good. Big portions of "gastopub" fare like steak sandwiches, fish and chips, and burgers. There are a few vegetarian options on the menu, but not an abundant selection. The beer and wine menu is impressive, and The Lab would be a good place to go to get a drink and some appetizers.

Adam had the steak sandwich, which came adorned with onion rings. He reports that the onion rings are yummier than the fries, which came in huge portions and were good but not great. They are shoestring variety, which I usually love, so not sure what was wrong with them. Something about the flavor. I had a flat bread thing, which I thought would be cold, but it was like a big pizza. It was prettty good, but not what I expected. I think I'd try something else next time. Louis had fish and chips and he claimed it was really good, that the fish was very "light."

We will definitely go back to The Lab and if anyone reading this wants to go get a beer, I'm in.