The courtyard at One Colorado - specifically Gordon Biersch, when it was there - has long been one of my favorite places to dine in Old Town. I started eating at Gordon Biersch when I was a teenager, it's the only place in Old Town where I ever had a drink before I turned 21, and, in my memory, it was the place I had my first legal beer on my 21st birthday. But it's been gone for a few years now.
AKA (An American Bistro) opened up in the space about a year ago. Their menu looked interesting but I never went. I saw photos of the interior and it did not look anywhere near as inviting and relaxed as Gordon Biersch had been. Recently, on my dad's birthday, my mom suggested we all go there for lunch.
The truffle aioli, however, was fantastic.
The steak fries were the same kind I purchase in bags for two dollars at Ralph's. They are fine as long as they are hot and crispy, which these were.
I was underwhelmed by AKA Bistro. There was nothing really wrong with the food but nothing was very good (other than the aioli and pickles). And then we got the bill. With tax and tip it ended up being ninety dollars. That blew me away.
(I sent a text to a friend of mine, someone who knows the Pasadena dining scene better than anyone else I know, detailing that lunch for three without alcohol was ninety bucks. His reply: "That's a [owner] Robert Simon production, all right!")
While my dad felt the same way I did ("Next year for my birthday let's just get tacos") my mom still really likes the place. What I found stuffy and pretentious, I suppose someone else might find romantic and gourmet. But it isn't for me.