The folks over at Rowdy Red Wine & Burger Bar invited a group of food bloggers (many of the foodies in my blogroll, and then some) to have dinner with its newly introduced wine, which was added to the menu a couple of weeks ago and finally made the restaurant’s name make sense. Rowdy Red, which is named after a type of heirloom tomato, is located in the underground food court of City National Plaza in downtown L.A. But just because it has a name with fancy roots and serves wine doesn’t mean its menu will deplete your wallet; it’s really an American diner at heart.
I ordered the sliders, which came with grilled onions, pickles and special sauce. I’m not sure if there was anything really special about the sauce, but the whole mini-burger package was definitely satisfying, with the buns lightly toasted and buttery, too. You get three in your order, and they’re about the same size as Jack in the Box’s mini sirloin burgers, so they’re a good value at $5.75.
Actually, the entire menu offers a lot of bang for your buck: the most expensive menu item is the Angus skirt steak and fries for $14, and most items fall under $10. You can get a combo of Rowdy Red’s classic burger, fries and soda for $8.70, or substitute a milkshake for a total of $9.30, a beer for $8.90, or a glass of house wine for $10.55. The restaurant has its own wine label, Free Run, which comes from Sawyer winery in the Rutherford area of Napa Valley.
Also worth checking out are the desserts. Milkshakes and soft serve sundaes are huge and cost less than $3 a piece. There are root beer floats, too. And for the building’s employees, coffee (Peet’s) is only $1 and espresso drinks are 20 percent off between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., and again between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
All in all, you get decent food for decent prices. In addition to the sliders, I also enjoyed the sweet potato fries and the onion rings. I didn’t really like the mini corndogs – they were strangely sweet, and anyway, I’m not really a corndog fan to begin with – and the spinach artichoke dip was just OK. But if you’re at Rowdy Red, you’re looking for cheap food, not gourmet (though it is part of the same restaurant group as Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro at the Grove), so stick with the basics, and you’ll be satisfied.