The moment you walk into The Firehouse Hotel in the Arts District, one thing is abundantly clear - you’ve entered a boutique hotel with a capital B. With four giant red doors opening out onto the street, a lobby that looks like an underground Portland coffee shop, and a bar with the energy of a live music venue, this hotel inside an actual 1920s-era firehouse is anything but ordinary.
And that’s exactly why a meal at The Firehouse Restaurant, the hotel’s ground-floor eatery, feels like such a missed opportunity. Despite being located inside one of the most unique places to sleep in Los Angeles, the Restaurant itself is exceedingly average, and largely indistinguishable from all the other serviceable hotel restaurants in this town.
To be fair, the main goal of any hotel restaurant is to provide a reliable space for guests and visitors to congregate and eat. And rest assured, The Firehouse Restaurant succeeds on that front. Whether you’re here for a slightly-forced client lunch or a casual midweek date, you will find a well-run restaurant on a good-looking patio with food that won’t upset anyone. The problem is, after walking through a hotel that oozes more cool than a Phoebe Waller-Bridge podcast, by-the-books feels like a bit of a letdown.
Of all the dishes that’ll hit your table during a meal at Firehouse, the tortelloni will be the most memorable. Stuffed with mushrooms and goat cheese, and topped with sweet corn and bread crumbs, this is a well-balanced, flavor-packed bowl of pasta that’ll make you wonder why everything else here isn’t on the same level. You’ll eat a few solid plates of seasonal vegetables, a chopped salad that tastes like a chopped salad, and a pretzel-bun burger you’ll enjoy, but forget about by tomorrow. At no point will any plate surprise you, excite you, or come close to reflecting the originality of its surroundings.
All that said, Firehouse Restaurant is by no means a place you should avoid. If you’re in the Arts District and looking for a casual dinner spot that doesn’t require a long-standing reservation (or a phone call to your financial advisor afterwards), you should definitely keep Firehouse in your back pocket. If you’re doing some advanced scouting for a staycation, just go right now and see the space for yourself. You’ll definitely be impressed - too bad the Restaurant isn’t a reason to stay even longer.
If you show up to Firehouse with that kind of raging hunger that briefly paralyzes you, get this on the table ASAP. Otherwise, you can skip it for the bigger appetizers.
Filled with mozzarella, grilled corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers, this is may be the most chopped salad-y chopped salad of all time. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s definitely not a compliment, either.
This falls in the “seasonal vegetable” category, and thus, will probably be gone by the time you get there. But if you’re in the mood for a random fresh vegetable and a requisite dollop of burrata, you’ll get what you want from this dish.
Plain and simple, this plate of pasta is hands-down the best dish at Firehouse. The tortelloni (basically tortellini, but bigger) are well-cooked and stuffed with mushrooms and goat cheese, making for an umami experience you’ll be talking about on the way home.
As you eat this burger, you’ll be pleased you ordered it. The patty itself is juicy, the spicy mayo gives a nice kick without being overbearing, and the pretzel bun does its job. The reason you’ll order it again, however, is the heaping pile of excellent shoestring fries on the side.