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CLEMENTINE - Overpriced and Mediocre

love2eat Jul 26, 2006 12:49 AM

Trying to avoid the hellfire heat of my apartment i caught a movie in west l.a. and decided to give clementine a try after the movie. The nice but clueless "college-kid" behind the counter took my order. It went something like this:

me: what is your lunch special for today? (i read that on weekdays they have a lunch special that includes half sandwich, cup of soup, soda, and cookie.)

Clueless College Kid (CCK): uhhhh...

Man yelling from the kitchen: Lunch Special is over! it ended at 3pm!

CCK: yeah, it ended at 3pm.

me: ok...well, can i have the cold rare roast beef sandwich.

CCK: ummmm..ok.

Man yelling from kitchen: We are out of roast beef for today!

CCK: out of roast beef.

me: wow, its not my lucky day. well, i guess ill get the philly cheese steak sandwich...and an ice water.

CCK: ok, that will be 10.47.

CCK hands me a wooden number to take to my table. The sandwich comes and it is tiny. about six inches long and cut in half...so, i have two three inch halves. the meat was extremely greasy. there were a few grilled onions and maybe a couple grilled peppers scattered throughout. Pretty much flavorless and boring for all the fat grams consumed. the sandwich came with a miniscule cup of pickled cucumbers. the sweet and sour on the cucumbers was so overpowering that i couldnt even finish the miniscule cup.

i would have rather had subway. avoid this one.

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  1. k
    kalikagrad Jul 26, 2006 01:01 AM

    Okay, I respect that you clearly had a bad experience, but I'm just gonna have to step in and defend Clementine here. I eat there a couple times a month and I love it. Everyone at my office adores the Philly cheesesteak and we also have a particular affection for the deviled eggs. The food is fresh, the staff has always been incredibly friendly and helpful, and they make some pretty great desserts to boot. I agree their pickles aren't all the rage, but when everything else is so good that minor offense can be forgiven.

    1. c
      carter Jul 26, 2006 01:21 AM

      Well, you were probably not the only person experiencing the heat and thus they were probably taking care of many more customers than usual, all wanting to get take-out to avoid cooking, or sitting in their office that might have been without A/C, etc., and thus the fact that they ran out of many items after 3p.m. should not come as a TOTAL surprise.
      Since many posters on this board almost revere the food here, not always the service mind you, in fairness you should give them another chance, especially earlier in the lunch hour, and maybe during cooler weather when even cooler heads might prevail, on both sides of the counter

      1. f
        Francesca Jul 26, 2006 02:24 AM

        I have to agree w/love2eat. Though I have had some tasty things at Clementine, it takes so much energy to go there whether it's standing in the long line, trying to get a glass of water from the clueless staff, or securing an empty table. If I order to go, there's no bread, no soup spoon...seems I should get paid to manage my sit down experience or take-out order.

        Clementine: get over it or get with it.

        1. a
          AquaW Jul 26, 2006 02:54 AM

          I do empathize with your bad experience as well -- but as others said, they had an explosive growth of business lately and are still trying to figure out how much staffing/items is needed for the days. Hope you have an opportunity to check 'em out again... when they're good, they're great!

          1. f
            Francesca Jul 26, 2006 05:11 AM

            It's been this way for several years...

            1. jcwla Jul 26, 2006 06:11 AM

              clementine = not close to worth the headache.

              NEXT...

              1. Pei Jul 26, 2006 07:11 AM

                I have to say, I've only been to Clementine when it's not busy and the experience is always lovely. I guess I'm lucky to be close enough to avoid the crowds. Knowing about the poor reports during rush hours, I'm not likely to recommend it. But for my own purposes, as a local who likes fresh well prepared food and is sometimes too lazy to cook at home, I enjoy Clementine. It's hard to find any kind of lunch under $10 in Century City, and Clementine is definitely way better than mall food.

                1. emily Jul 26, 2006 02:38 PM

                  I had a very disappointing experience at Clementine's in March. I believe I got the mushroom panini: bland and not worth eating. The cheese had cooled way too much so that it was rubbery and mushrooms kept falling out of the sandwich. The banana cream pie was ok, but I prefer a stronger banana flavor. The only thing I enjoyed was the sugar cookie. I really wanted to like this place since I love the concept.

                  1. g
                    glutton Jul 26, 2006 03:09 PM

                    Perhaps I am exceedingly lucky, but I have not had the parking problems and the long lines that everybody talks about. I go on Saturdays, so maybe that is the difference.

                    As far as the food goes, I have found the salads to be better than the sandwiches, but both are very good. And the baked goods are killer. I will admit that my wife once had a pretty lousy sandwich there, but she complained and they immediately replaced it. The circumstances were similar to what this poster experienced -- a very late lunch. Perhaps it is not a place to go to late, after the primary lunch hours?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: glutton
                      c
                      cupcake Jul 26, 2006 04:26 PM

                      Clementine is my favorite lunch place, despite the parking. Give it another try, and sample the tuna melt!!

                    2. PseudoNerd Jul 26, 2006 05:36 PM

                      Tuesdays are "make your own lunch special" days, by the way, so you can choose whatever sandwich you want during "lunch hours." If you went there yesterday, it might explain the CCK's confusion.

                      Yeah, the kids there are sometimes not the most responsive. You realize, however, that they ARE kids, right? I think most of the ones (including the one who looks like my old college crush) at the counters are in high school. The only other restaurants that hire kids that age are fast food restaurants, and perhaps it's for a reason. I say cut them some slack, chat with them a bit (most of them deal with Westside moms and people rudely yelling into their cell phones all day), get some free samples, and enjoy whatever food you ordered. If you don't like something, then tell the person who took your order and rang you up. I'm sure the "CCK" will be fine about replacing it.

                      I go there for soup and hot chocolate. I've gotten my friends, parents, and SO baked goods, soups, potato salad, and sometimes a sandwich or two from there, and they've all loved them. To be sure, it's pretty pricey (especially given that I probably make not much more than those "CCKs"), but I still think it's worth going there when I happen to be on the Westside (or when I really feel like getting soup without dealing with the fiasco that is 3rd-St.-parking).

                      1. love2eat Jul 26, 2006 06:25 PM

                        for the record:

                        i was at clementine at around 330pm on a monday. it was pretty much empty...perhaps it does get crowded during peak lunchtime hours.

                        i didnt mean to sound condescending regarding the clueless college kid. im in my early-twenties myself. psuedonerd, i agree with you that it's great if clementine is giving highschool kids another option besides fastfood restaurants. however, high school kids are as capable as adults to learn the menu and have proper training before getting behind the counter.

                        1. d
                          Dogbite Williams Jul 29, 2006 05:58 AM

                          I have enjoyed each of my 3 or 4 visits to the Century City Clementine. I usually get the 3 salad combo. I like all of the pastries I've had, especially the butterscotch bars. I also recommend the bacon-cheddar flatbread. Many of my favorite items are unique and, to the best of my knowledge, not available at any other restaurants I patronize.

                          I take the bus so parking is never an issue.

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