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Aug 4, 2006 06:03 PM

Cliff's Edge, Tantra, The Courtyard reviews

Over the past week, went to these three. Lumping my reviews here!

Cliff’s Edge.
I love this place. Indoor or outdoor dining for a lovely, romantic evening. Service is top. I ordered the seared scallops in a peach-basil sauce, with braised leeks and asparagus. The latter was a bit too drowned in oil for me, but the scallops were hot, tender, and delicious. I loved the sauce, too - a bit sweet, but a wonderful accompaniment to the rest of the savory plate. Shared the chocolate pot o’ creme and poached red pear with marscapone ice cream for dessert. The pot o’ creme was too rich for me, but the pear was soft and just the right degree of sweetness to end the meal. Overall, the experience was superb. I’d love to return!

Across the street! So is Jade Café. I hope to go there next. Anyways, returned to Sunset Blvd. to try Indian food. Great decor, love the lounging area and Indie films playing. They had the music loud, so, unfortunately, the sound to the Bollywood movie was off. Started with the Tantra Sampler. Beautifully plated with a small piece of salmon on yogurt-dill sauce, chicken in green curry, fried vermicilli prawn, spinach and tofu samosa, and, in the middle, a sweet and sour potato salad. Each item lied on top of a sauce, and was topped with a different one. I love this dish. My favorite was the chicken and samosa, but all of them were very full of flavor and gave a unique impression. For entree, I had the charbroiled monkfish with Tulsi salad, onion, and a cool tomato-based yogurt. This is possibly one of the best monkfish dishes I’ve had. It’s hot and spicy, yet delicate texture was a fantastic contrast to the cool yogurt (which I wish I had the recipe for) - a party in the mouth. Ended with ice cream - mango, cashew, and rose-saffron- and the tandoori ananas, charbroiled pineapples with mango ice cream. Funny, the pineapples tasted like an entree - like a tandoori chicken, only it was sweet, and with ice cream. I think it was the charbroiled nature and sauce that made it that way. In any case, it was gOOd.

The Courtyard
Started with the shrimp in spicy tomato sauce. It was hot. The chiles and sauce swamped the shrimp. Tasty, but I’ve had better spicy - and larger - shrimp at Chinese restaurants, with their heads attached, too. ;-) Next was the watercress salad with marinated beets, cheese, and candied walnuts. Honestly, one can find this dish anywhere, but it was still my favorite. Simply executed. Also ordered the scallops on the half shell - they were completely baked and covered in this most delicious buttery, fried sauce, and it reminded me of the Japanese dynamite. I know someone recommended that we not order the salmon, but my friend likes seafood, so we went ahead and got it. The dill and olives were a good attempt, but it was much too buttery for me.
Ended with a dessert sampler with chocolate mousse, mango and banana rice pudding. I love the ambience of the place, but truthfully, some of the food is underwhelming. I think its namesake helps make the place a quintessential LA outdoor dining hotspot, but for very impressive small plates/tapas, I would go elsewhere. My experiences at oh, say, AOC or Ciudad’s Sunday tapas night are, for example, much more about the food.

I also had lunch at East Japanese Restaurant in Little Tokyo yesterday. Tiny hole-in-the-wall place, but caters to quite a few downtown LA patrons. They have great lunch bento box deals. My sashimi with soup, salad, rice, and veggie roll was $8. Seating and tables, however, is very crowded.

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  1. Must disagree with you on Cliff's Edge. Rather a "scenester" joint with help that tends toward the indifferent and a rather average menu and quality that doesn't support the prices charged.
    Add in a bar that you can't even sit and drink at (only eat!) and I have crossed it off my list after three visits giving them the benefit of the doubt.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Plague

      While never meant to be a major dining destination with two-thirds of the seats outdoors, it does have a bit of a scenester feel, yet not overly so, as there are many people dining there well above 40 years of age, especially earlier in the evening. Yet the food was much better in my last two visits within the past six weeks than it was in the beginning. They finally found a place in the market where they can serve better food, better wine, and get paid for it.
      Their wine list is much better than you should expect, by the glass or by the bottle.
      And my service was as good as I wanted it to be, in that I have had to waive them off if not ready to order, etc. Things in this regard have also greatly improved of late.

      1. re: carter

        I've gotta chime in with support for Cliff's Edge also. I've always had good to very good meals there, in one of the very few really pleasant courtyard dining environments in the city. It's never seemed overpriced or undergood at all. If the occasional scenester should have the good taste to end up there for dinner, I can hardly begrudge them that. They've never intruded on my enjoyment of the place.

    2. Sorry about your bad experiences. I loved Cliff's Edge my one visit. Perhaps that was because expectations were lowered a bit by the barrage of negativity the resto gets here, but I was very pleasantly surprised.

      Service and food were very good, and if I lived nearby it would be a standard date place. I feel that that courtyard is one of the nicest dining environments in So.Cal. (esp. in that neighborhood) on a warm night. (Make sure to request a table on the second level on the railing.) It's a total Swiss Family Robinson feeling.

      Only real negative I can think of was that getting into the small parking lot was a nightmare at rush time. And (talk about quibbles!) I would like to inform anyone in the restaurant business that if your kitchen is visible from the eating area that you need to spend the money to light it AT LEAST as well as the main room. Everyone will look at the kitchen, as it's where their food is coming from. For it to look like the shop floor at some Dearborn auto plant just doesn't cut it. Fluorescents will not suffice, not even the compact variety. Suck it up and spend for halogen. Okay, rant over.

      Anyway, this ain't AOC, but it is more than worth a try.

      1. I also had a lovely meal at Cliff's Edge. The service was nice, we were seated on the upper terrace and the atmosphere was so relaxed and summertime and romantic. And my food was terrific. I have been trying to get back over there, I liked it so much.

        1. We used to frequent Cliff's Edge. Service is erratic. Sometimes good, other times terrible. I miss their chicken liver crostini and their chicken liver frisee salad. My favorite dish is the wild boar ragu penne but last time we were there, so little pasta and the sauce had been reduced so much, it tasted like a can of tomato paste.

            1. re: Silver Lake Guy

              Courtyard is at 8543 Santa Monica Blvd., Weho. 310.358.0301
              Just west of La Cienega on the north side of the street opposite Koo Koo Roo, in that French Quarter retail center, just west of Famina.