Last weekend, some friends and I ate at Charcoal, a recently redone restaruant in Hollywood, before catching a movie at the Archlight. I felt embarassed for the owners.
The decor is great for mingling with friends. Open spaces; private booths; and a dark, lodgey feel made me want to love the place. Unfortunately, I didn't. the first problem immediately apparant was the music. It was so loud that I could barely hear what my friends were saying. The running joke throughout dinner was to scream "What!?!" I felt like I was in a nightclub that just happend to serve dinner.
Our waitor came promptly to take our drink order; two of us wanted a glass of champaigne. A timid sommeiller then came by to reccomend a bottle. We told him we only wanted glasses of the house champaigne. I don't know why Charcoal has a sommeiller, and from his expression, I don't think he does either. The glasses of champaigne took so long to arrive that we figured our waiter was waiting to serve them with our meal. It turns out he wasn't. Another oddity is that I don't think we ever saw the same server, runner, or busser more than once.
I ordered the crab burger, and my friends ordered a hamburger and a steak. The burgers each came with sweet potato fries. They were cold, as were our burgers. My friend's top bun was both stale and burnt. We all had fun taking turns drumming with the bun by smacking it against the table in time to the music.
There are so many things wrong with Charcoal that I don't feel it even deserves to be called a restaurant. My friends and I weren't upset or annoyed because it was obvious that no one had a clue what they were doing.