In its February "green" issue, Bon Appetit dedicates its "Hot 10" restaurant list to ten eco-friendly restaurants where according to them, you can eat with a clean conscience. Making the list for Los Angeles is Blue Velvet, a lounge/bar on the outskirts of downtown.
The magazine says:
When Kris Morningstar wants top-quality ingredients, all he does is head up to the rooftop garden for fruits and vegetables. As part of The Flat, a 'green' apartment complex downtown, Blue Velvet's 4000-square-foot garden utilizes planter's boxes, galvanized metal, and lightweight soil.You will pay for the privilege of all this eco-friendliness. If you opt for drinks and snacks at the bar, one cocktail and one appetizer will set you back at least $20, and possibly as much as $30. If you want to eat a real meal, entrees are $24-$32, or you can get a tasting menu for $85.
The atmosphere is very urban-cool. Sitting at the poolside tables with flames gently flickering around you, you feel like you are sitting in the future of downtown L.A. This is what all of those downtown boosters want you to imagine when they try to sell you their loft apartments -- you too can live in an eco-friendly box, and walk your dog through the last vestiges of Hispanic Los Angeles and then come home and get a $12 whiskey and coke and a $10 bowl of popcorn shrimp before going upstairs to bed.
Do I sounds cynical, well, that's because as with so many things in Los Angeles, it feels much cooler than it is. Sitting out in the pool area on a warm summer night with some friends, you feel like you are in a cool spot. But the drinks and the food are just good--not great, and come at premium prices.
And yes, The Flat is designed with the very latest of modern minimalist chic, and it is built with sustainable materials and the aforementioned rooftop garden. But while a prospective tenant coming to view the building might agree, that like the firelit patio, the building feels cool, they seem to discover upon moving in that they can't quite maximize their cramped studio in the same way the professional designer who did the showcase space did, and that there's not enough parking to go around, and having a bar right outside your apartment is not as cool as you might have imagined when you have to get up for work the next day, and there are loud drunken people in your front yard until 2:00 a.m., and that they have no access to this wonderful rooftop paradise they have heard so much about.
It's a shame, because Blue Velvet really does FEEL cool, and I might still stop for a drink here with friends if I was on my way downtown, and the weather was nice. But if it was downscaled a little bit to be cheaper and mellower, then this is a place I would want to stop often.
750 S. Garland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Who Else Has Been to Blue Velvet?