The Lab is a gastropub located across the street from USC. In the spirit of gastropubs and wine bars, like Bar Food, Westside Tavern, and Bacaro, The Lab features nice selection of libations and food.
With dozens beers on draft & bottled to go with reds & whites , The Lab has a drink for almost everyone. The school science themed restaurant has a large outdoor patio with a big fire pit. There’s also a private section for parties, which also spills outdoors to comfy seating. Inside the main dining room, there a couple of large communal tables. I’ve always liked communal tables, since we can people watch and see what others are munching on. With few chalk blackboards around the room, the places maintains the school theme. Even the restrooms and menus, which are presented on clipboards, feature a science feel.
I decided today to have the Beer Can Chicken Sandwich with truffle mac and cheese, while Miss C had the The Lab burger with sweet potato fries. Though these burgers and sandwiches aren’t cheap for 10 and 12 USD, respectively, they aren’t presented and made with inferiors ingredients. With angus beef and apple bacon, they aren’t your typical student dorm cafeteria food. I thought the burger was good and the mac and cheese passable, I didn’t think the prices were warranted. I wish the mac and cheese had more burnt cheese & crust from the panko and flavor (even with the somewhat bland gruyere). I did enjoy the bread on the burger, which held well with a messy avocado. The sweet potato fries were fine, but not as good as ones at Golden State.
As an undergrad at USC, years ago, and a current graduate student, I feel I am quite experienced with the different dining options around the USC area. Since the Lab retains a usc.edu url, I assume that USC is the owner. They cater towards the students, faculty, and guests of USC. With these high prices, they won’t see many frat parties, like the 501. But I can see deep pocketed alumni stopping by before football games. I think USC has the right idea with the Lab, but I only wish, selfishly, that the prices were a bit lower.
What to Order: The Lab burger and Beer Can Chickien
What not to Order: Mac and Cheese
Price Range 2 $/¥/NT