For the past couple months, I’ve been observing the vacant storefront in the shopping plaza on the northeast corner of Santa Monica and Vermont. It’s the westernmost storefront, on 1134 N. Vermont, which for years – every since I could remember – was a Los Burritos restaurant.
But it was cleared out some time ago and signs saying “Coming Soon: WaBa Grill“.
Finally it opened last week, so I came to check it out on Sunday.
It’s billed as “health fast food,” perhaps in the same category as, yet quite a few notches above Yoshinoya. It’s teriyaki bowls and such, featuring grilled chicken, steak or salmon. That food is actually not new to East Hollywood, as we’ve had California Bowl on Vermont and Melrose for a number of years.
The restaurant was brand new, totally immaculate (well, it just opened…) and nicely designed. The curtains kinda made me feel like I was in some fancy suburb. The staff was nice and friendly. Though not packed, there was a decent amount of customers eating here on this Sunday evening.
I ordered a “Mixed Plate” (chicken and steak) and “Salmon Plate” to go. They came with their respective meats, with rice, a small side of green salad and half an orange.
The food was pretty good, not mindblowing good, but I have to say I enjoyed the steak, it kinda reminded me, flavorwise, of Thai beef jerky, only not nearly as tough. Or maybe a hybrid of Thai beef jerky and carne asada? Only in East Hollywood, right?
Speaking of which – and this was the part that blew me away the most – although WaBa Grill is a franchise chain with locations in California and Virginia, they actually call this their “East Hollywood” location(!) It shows up on their menu fliers and on signs:
That’s a welcome change from certain East Hollywood establishments that like to use “Silverlake” or “Los Feliz” as descriptors for their location (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!).
Welcome to the neighborhood, WaBa Grill! You definitely know where you are!
Although…I still have no freakin’ idea what “WaBa” means…