Appetizers and Drinks at Trader Vic’s

I’m not really a big fan of Polynesian food. Neither is Steffie or my sister. What we are game for, however, are tropical fruity drinks on a Friday afternoon. Despite being armed with the knowledge that splitting any sort of restaurant coupon rarely saves me any money, I still bought the $25 for $50 worth of food and drinks for Trader Vic’s via Living Social. Between parking, tips and the down payment of the “coupon” itself I shelled out approximately $35. Well, surprise, surprise for me! I did save some change.
Our bill spilled over about $14.00 (including tax), which Stef and Annette paid the difference of (plus their share of the tip – which of course, we tipped on the $74 and not the $14 because that would be shitty). The good staff of Trader Vic’s also applied happy hour prices to the drinks and snacks that applied.
This is what we got for our monies:

Bahia – light rum, coconut and pineapple ($10, $6 happy hour)

This was tasty, though a little too much ice for my liking. Could have definitely used more coconut. Still, for a happy hour drink, I’d order this again.

Mango Mai Tai
Mango Mai Tai ($10, $6 happy hour)

While I find Mai Tai’s to be the most hideous cocktail in creation no matter what flavor they dress it up in, my sister seemed to enjoy this drink immensely. It was her first Mai Tai experience.

Chicken Wings
Chicken Wings ($9, $5 happy hour)

Steffie ordered these and I think she got Kung Pao flavor. Schezwan would have been hotter and BBQ would have been, well, BBQ. Both Stef and I were pleasantly surprised how well these little morsels were prepared. The flavoring was all in a light with-a-slight-kick marinade and not some sticky, gloppy sauce and the meat was juicy and tender.

Spicy Spider Roll
Spicy Spider Roll – crispy soft shell crab, cucumber, avocado ($9)

This would have been excellent if it weren’t for that nasty sauce on top, which was neither spicy nor even appetizing, really. It was thick, cumbersome and sweet. I would not have ordered this had the menu accurately described the roll. The only spice was from the wasabi I added.

Tiki Bowl – light & dark rums, brandy, almond & orange juice ($20, serves two)

This the the only picture that adequately depicts the quantity of booze these two ladies sucked up in their novelty straws. I was pretty gung-ho to try one of these multiple-persons drinks but the choices were very uninspiring. I wasn’t a fan of the Tiki Bowl, but Annette & Steffie were and that’s what counts. Steffie threw the towel in 3/4ths the way in and it was up to my sister to make sure nothing went to waste.

Peach Tree
Peach Tree Punch ($10), Crispy Calamari ($9, $5 happy hour)

The drink was with “light rum, flavors of peaches and oranges and a soft southern whisper of coconut” and though I could have used more peach flavor, this was delightfully refreshing and strong enough that I took my time with it. I think Annette ended up finishing it, though.
The crispy calamari is what I should have ordered in lieu of the lackluster sushi. It was supposed to come with wasabi mayonnaise according to the website, but I don’t recall if this was listed on the menu at the time or not. Regardless, it came with a very disappointing sauce that I’m assuming is supposed to be marinara but tasted like jarred spaghetti sauce.
HOWEVER! In a surprising twist of culinary fate, the calamari was cooked so incredibly well that all it required for optimal flavoring was a squeeze of a fresh lemon wedge, which was already provided. I was amazed to find that their calamari was not disgustingly breaded fried but lightly battered – so when I tired of the batter I simply removed the exterior and enjoyed lemon kissed calamari by itself. Delicious.

Would I return to Trader Vic’s?
Maybe, but only with the good company of my fellow lushes for drinks and snacks, or one big entree to share.

Would I recommend Trader Vic’s? If you’re into Polynesian food and tropical drinks, absolutely. They don’t skimp on the booze, even when you’re doubling down with a coupon during happy hour and everyone was pleasant, informative and attentive.

Trader Vic’s
800 West Olympic Blvd. #A120
Los Angeles, CA 90015