Even so, we're a bit buddled by its existence. We learn from NPR that they were going for "a sort of a Jetsons-like '60s style, with the psychedelic lava lamps." The whole thing is too cute by half. The menu has disclaimers like "Any Spacecrafts with an Interstellar Crew of Six or More shall have an Automatic Docking Fee of 18% (In other words, an 18% gratuity will be added to parties of 6 or more)," and the kids menu is named the "Space Cadet (Kids) Menu."
And who's supposed to be going to Encounters? Is it targeted at kitsch-loving locals? Could be, but then the fine dining dishes and accompanying prices are off. Is it targeted at business travelers who miss their flights? Maybe, but then how do they convince people to brave TSA twice? Is it targeted at outgoing passengers who plan to "get to the airport early" to dine at Encounters? Perhaps, but then we have to reevaluate everything we think they know about human behavior.
We want Encounters to succeed. It's as recognizable an image of gritty, urban Los Angeles as any other. But there's a fine line between giving off a Disneyesque vibe and being a Disneyland knockoff. We're pretty sure they crossed it.
[Photo: Michael Zara / Wiki Commons]