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The LA Live JW Marriott and LA Market by Kerry Simon

I love big hotels. It's a place where people converge, convene, and interact. For an avid people watcher like me, it's perfect because it's a world full of strange and amusing characters.

The newest edition to the Downtown LA skyline

JW Marriott at LA Live

The LA Live JW Marriott is a world class hotel and features a world class lobby and had it opened in a walking city like San Francisco or New York City, it'd be constantly filled with people, strolling in and out, using the hotel is a congregation point. Not so much the case here in LA. It has nothing to do with the hotel itself, but more the fact that it's in Downtown LA, which is still in its infancy as a people-centric city center. While the hotel does draw large crowds during conventions and Lakers games, it doesn't have the same foot traffic that you'd see in New York or San Francisco.

Lobby of JW Marriott at LA Live
The Lobby at JW Marriott

As an Angeleno though, I'm hopeful. It is a large and beautiful space and it gives downtown LA a "center," so to speak. Let's face it, it's much better than Nokia Plaza as a city center, which with all the sponsors, ads and lights, apparently was built to resemble our post-apocalyptic future.

Nokia Plaza
Nokia Plaza

Umm, bring sunglasses. It's like they took this right out of Fifth Element, Running Man, Total Recall, or the ship in Wall-E.

Kerry Simon's LA Market at JW Marriott, LA Live
LA Market by Kerry Simon at JW Marriott

JW Marriott at LA LIVE
gLAnce Lounge

A glass of wine @ JW Marriott LA Live
Wine at the Mixing Room

Between The Mixing Room (sports bar), gLAnce Lounge (wine bar), Ion Bar (pool bar), LA Market (by Kerry Simon), a Wolfgang Puck creation and Illy's Coffee both due in April, there is no shortage of food and drinks at the JW Marriott.

Cuban Society at Mixing Room, JW Marriott LA
Cuban Society - Bacardi Razz Rum, Galliano and Raspeberries

Rooftop Passion @ LA Market by Kerry Simon
Rooftop Passion - Herradura Silver Tequila, Velvet Falemum, and Passion Fruit

The lounges and restaurants all feature different specialty cocktails. Best thing though: all cocktails are $10. Score. While these cocktails aren't going to compare to the libations made two blocks down at Rivera by Julian Cox or Cedd Moses' new Cana, it's a passable scene considering the location.

So what about the food? There's LA Market, by Kerry Simon, while The Mixing Room and gLAnce Lounge offers various types of small plates to go along with your lounging and relaxing. One of the secrets of gLAnce Lounge is that you can order off the LA Market menu. Keep that in mind the next time you visit. Wolfgang Puck's restaurant should open in April 2010.

Well, let's get on with the food. Our first trip to the JW Marriott included stops at The Mixing Room and LA Market.

Charred Edamame at LA Market by Kerry Simon
Charred Edamame

Smokey, vegetable goodness.

Beef Carpaccio at LA Market by Kerry Simon
Beef carpaccio with arugula, three sisters Parmesan, and truffle drizzle

The truffle drizzle brought smiles to table.

Tuna Dynamite at LA Market by Kerry Simon
Tuna dynamite with lump crab, tuna, sushi rice, red chili aioli

Purists will throw their fists up in a fury, but this was good.

Fried Calamari @ LA Market by Kerry Simon
Fried calamari with spicy asian ponzu

The fried calamari was supposedly made with the colonel's secret recipe. Don't ever put a fried chicken man in a tough situation. The fried calamari did not taste like KFC in any way, shape or form. I guess once you tell me it tastes like KFC, I expect exactly that. Sadly, this went unfinished.

Seared Salmon at LA Market by Kerry Simon
Seared salmon with ratatouille, crispy eggplant, and herb garden puree

Simply Grilled Fish - Red Snapper @ LA Market by Kerry Simon
Red Snapper with local market grilled vegetables

The fish eaters thought their dishes were slightly oversalted. The ratatouille was fantastic.

Meatball Pizza at LA Market by Kerry Simon
Meatball pizza

The meatballs are the same as the meatloaf special, which I believe is some combination of beef, lamb and veal. Nothing on the level of Pizzeria Mozza, but good nonetheless.

Lamb Tangine @ LA Market by Kerry Simon
Lamb tangine with cous cous and cucumber yogurt

I'm not normally a big fan of lamb, unless it's lamb chops, but this was a very flavorful dish.

While these dishes are not going to knock you off your feet, in my opinion, they are better than the dishes at most of the restaurants at LA Live. I realize that might not be saying much when you consider the competition at LA Live, but you gotta make some type of comparison. All in all, everyone enjoyed their meal.

Junk Food Platter @ LA Market by Kerry Simon
Junk food platter

Fresh Fruit at LA Market by Kerry Simon
Fresh Fruit

Dessert was provided on the house by Kerry Simon. His famous junk food platter from Simon LA at the Sofitel can also be found here. Sometimes, this is just what you need to end the night.

But alas, we aren't done just yet.

On my next trip back to JW Marriott, we checked out gLAnce Lounge for happy hour. The small plates menu was pretty comprehensive and it was helpful that we could order from the LA Market menu.

Glance Lobby Lounge @ JW Marriott LA LIVE
gLAnce Lobby Lounge

A glass of wine @ JW Marriott LA LIVE

The ladies went with various cocktails, which of course I didn't snap any good pics of. Fortunately, you can check out Minty's review and see what they had.

Seared Tuna Taco Stand at Glance Lounge, JW Marriott LA Live
Seared tuna taco stand with cabbage slaw and salsa fresca

I wasn't a big fan of the hard taco shell.

Hummus at Glance Lounge, JW Marriott, LA Live
Hummus with market cucumbers fennel seed crackers and roasted red peppers

Sliders at Glance Lounge, JW Marriott LA Live
Sliders with avocado, vella habnero jack and lime crema

Grilled Shishito Peppers at Glance Lounge, JW Mariott, LA Live
Grilled shishito peppers

Parmesan Meatballs at JW Marriott, LA Live
Parmesan meatballs

Market Burger at Glance Lounge, JW Marriott at LA Live
Market burger

Market Green Salad at LA Market, JW Marriott, LA Live
Market green salad

Mezze Plate at LA Market, JW Marriott, LA Live
Mezze plate

The happy hour dishes were decent across the board. None of them stand out enough to justify making a specific trek out to try, as you might do for FOUR at Checkers DT, but they work well as complements to the cocktails and the happy hour scene. It is certainly a welcome change to the happy hour options at LA Live.

Behind the veil at JW Marriott, LA Live

Will the JW Marriott ever reach the hustle and bustle that I envision such a grand lobby to have, I'm hopeful. It has all the right pieces for it to be successful, all we need now are the people.

JW Marriott Hotel Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE
900 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90015 USA
(213) 765-8600

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Comments (4) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Thanks for the early report — I’ve been curious about the Marriot’s assorted bars and restaurants; looks like it’s a notch above the standard hotel offerings and perhaps worth a check out.

    Now I wonder if the cocktails are good enough to include in a crawl with other nearby famous bars (Rivera, Cana)

  2. Did you take all these pics????? I hope someone is paying you for this artistry! I better make sure the next meal we cook for you tastes both delicious and looks fabulous. Well, if the latter fails, I’m sure you’ll somehow make it appear to look great.

  3. oh my lord. those sliders are awesomely cute!

  4. whoa, JW looks insanely huge! i wanna check it out. and love shishito peppers!!

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