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Voilet in Santa Monica -- report

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Had high hopes for this place, but while the food was good-to-acceptable, it still was something of a disappointment. I don't think they carry off well the concept of "only small plates". Some were quite good -- the small portion of ravioli and the sauteed spinach -- but some less so: mussels, the sauces with the french fries, the salmon.

A part of me can't help think that this "small plates only" approach amounts to a way to pad the bill. The server suggests at least 2-3 plates per person. Add it up and you spend at least as much per person as you would at a restaurant with far better food, served in the conventional way of appetizer, main course, sides.

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  1. been there and actually I appreciate the small plates since it allows for more mixing and matching, and lets you order enough to suit your appetite (for me 1.5 plate's worth usually does the trick) -- and I think the price is not bad.

    But yea, while generally good -- some dishes are a hit and miss (the mussels tasted off, but the broth it was in was spot-on).

    1. I don't get Violet. I went once a while back and thought the menu was small for a place that supposedly has a "small plates" concept. Also, quality of ingredients and service was lacking and it felt like a poor value in general.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ernie

        Violet's concept of small plates is not the same as those at tapas places, but rather just smaller entree portions of entree-type items, and less expensive than a large portion might be.
        I feel Jared uses good ingredients, and I have never had service problems, unless 5 parties all arrived at the same time and the flow of the staff might have been thrown off a bit, but it usually recovers quickly.

      2. I don't get it either. Our service was excellent, but so many of the dishes were ho-hum or less. I agree that for a man, these small plates are a way to pad the bill.

        1. I disagree. Just ate there last night with a large group and everyone loved it. I had the swordfish, sampled the mac & cheese, along with a few other dishes I cant remember and some of the desserts, and it was all great

          1. I also disagree. Violet is where I go when I want to entertain (i.e., I'm footing the bill), but don't want to mortgage my life to pay for dinner for myself and my guests, and I've never been disappointed (except for the desserts, which I've found ho-hum).
            I went Tuesday night. First of all, one of the things I love about Violet is the creative wine list. I've never had a bad wine there, and the prices are fair - this is more than I can say about 90 percent of the restaurants in L.A. Tuesday, we had a Pinot Noir from Oregon, a bit of a splurge at $40, but delicious. We had spinach, a tomato salad with goat cheese, roast chicken with figs (the chicken was nice and moist - I can't tell you how many pricey restaurants I have been at that serve dried out chicken) and 'mac and cheese. Everything was good. Was it the best food I've ever had in my life? No. But it was a lot better than at many restaurants in L.A. which cost twice as much (dinner with and tip was under $100, despite the $40 bottle of wine).

            1. everything i ate at Violet was overly salty. i did love their eggplant puree, can't remember the name. and the color of the decor. but nothing extraordinary coming out of the kitchen. not even their supposedly great mac n cheese.

              the large bill gets paid at the end, regardless of how mediocre the experience is.

              1. I thought Violet was good but not great. I had a pretty good meal there about a month ago, but it was indeed a little disappointing after reading raves on this site. I enjoyed my meal and definitely can't complain, but I don't think I'll go back. For small plates in West LA, I've had much more exciting meals at Orris.

                1. Violet is really good, FOR what it is - a small, neighborhood place with high-quality ingredients. While I agree it's not worth going out of the way for, it's value and taste are definitely comparable to Nook and Orris. In particular, the seasonal vegetables are really tasty here.