It took us eighteen minutes from the time we got into our car across from the Music Center downtown to the time we parked in front of Schwab's on Vine last night on our way for a late bite at Hungry Cat... our first. With options few at that hour the minimalist coat room feel interior, an energetic young crowd and the promise of good food to come all help to create a kind of urban sophistication. We bucked the system and ordered a couple of pug burgers medium rare for $14 each that came with all of the right ingredients: avocado, red onion, bleu cheese, excellent beef, garlic mayo and smashing 'Langley' fries. Only the bun, a ciabatta style roll, was too tough for complete enjoyment. My friend liked his Rhone style by the glass and I was happy with the house lemonade. Service was friendlier and more helpful than might be expected for a dining room getting ready to close. The only dessert, an $8 chocolate and butter bread pudding, comes with too many parameters, "You need to order it ten minutes ahead... you need to let it cool for another ten minutes... we don't have ice cream or whipped cream," for a 12:10am delivery and a texture that can best be described as sugar soldered to the inside of a metal cup. But the busboy was kind enough to bring a ramekin of heavy cream and crème fraiche while the server had it removed from the check.
By the way, if you're heading downtown and need a quick snack before the theater or concert hall and don't want to negotiate the more ambitious stops of Roy's, Engine Co., etc.; there's an unassuming place called Promenade Cafe in the apartment complex across from the Pavilion/Disney Hall intersection that serves some decent wine, appetizers and pasta quickly and reasonably. It was definitely preferable to the stool stampede at Kendall's... and half the price.