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Nov 21, 2006 07:57 PM

Darling Clementine - An SF Hound Reports

I love Clementine. I eat here every time I visit LA, I ate here twice during my last visit. The food is delicious, the quality is excellent and the prices are so very reasonable (which is rare in LA). Yes, parking is a nightmare and you have to fight for a table, but so what? I would endure far worse for this food.

The rare roast beef sanwich is a serious addiction. Perfectly pink, tender and juicy roast beef, piled on think. The horseradish aioli is a good match for the beef, and the arugula and onion round it out. I've searched all over the Bay Area for a roast beef sanwich like this one, and it doesn't exist. If I lived in LA I would eat one every week.

After looking over their breakfast menu, I decided I had to check it out for the Saturday brunch. I'm glad I did. The eggs benedict are outstanding. Perfectly poached eggs, with bright orange yolks running all over. Thinly sliced ham that is present but not overpowering. Fresh English Muffins are perfect for mopping up a Hollondaise that makes me weak in the knees just thinking about it. They throw a side of arugula on there, just to make you think you're eating healthy. The greens did balance out the plate nicely. This is one of the best Benedicts I've had, and I eat a lot of Benedict.

I also loved the house cured gravlax with a bagel. It was a thick pile of thinly sliced, beautifully smoked salmon, that was not too salty. They loaded up the fresh cream cheese and red onion so that each bite of bagel had the perfect topping ratio. I would definitely order this dish again.

The great thing about Clementine on a Saturday morning (aside from the Sat. only Benedict) is that parking is a breeze and there are tons of open tables.

Only real disappointment are the desserts, which were too sweet for my taste. Ah well, I'll still be back.

You are all so very lucky to have this gem. I love the food scene where I live, but I dream about Clementine whenever I visit LA.

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  1. What time did you have breakfast? I used to go on weekdays when I worked nights, but I've been afraid of braving Saturday breakfast because I assumed it would be even more crazy than during the week.

    I love the mini biscuits with that thinly sliced ham. There's a lot to love here - I happen to prefer the baked goods to the more lunch-y items.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cicely

      We arrived for breakfast around 10:00, left close to 11:30. There were at leasat five open tables the entire time, and I counted about ten open parking spaces. I imagine things are slower when you don't have the office crowd.

    2. Dare I Clementine's roast beef better than Birley's in the Embarcadero Center? I love their thin sliced, nitrate free, juicy, cold roast beef on nutty bread.

      I love Clementine too, partly because most of the dishes taste like they've been brushed with Plugra at every turn. I don't think I could eat there every week without suffering a heart attack, especially since I'm not walking as much as I did when I lived in your neck of the woods!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Pei

        Huh. I'm not sure how Birley's stayed under my radar all this time. Looks awesome; I'll have to give it a try soon.

        1. re: Morton the Mousse

          morton, what would you compare clementine to a joint in the bay area?

          also, is the roast beef at clementine better than the one they sometimes offer at gregoire's?

          1. re: kevin

            It's hard to compare Clementine to anything. They do so many different things really well, whereas in the Bay Area you see a lot more places that specialize.

            I like the flavor of Gregoire's roast beef more, but Clementine uses a lot more meat, and they cook it rarer. Gregoire does some interesting combinations with roast beef, most of which are great, but Clementine is a bit more traditional.

      2. Morton, it's very good to see a familiar face on the LA board! I've been tremendously homesick for Acme, Cheese Board, and Gregoire. It's hard to find an honest loaf of bread in this town.

        However, I work near Clementine - and honestly, I have to say that I haven't been tremendously impressed with what I've had. We get catered sandwiches from Clementine once in a while. As a general matter, I find them to be overwhelmingly mayonnaisey and greasy.

        I will try the roast beef again, now that you've mentioned it. And the hollandaise sounds simply divine...

        6 Replies
        1. re: Chestnut

          You may try ordering the aioli on the side. Mrs. Mousse is not too fond of mayo, so that's what she does.

          1. re: Morton the Mousse

            actually i thought it was all horseradish cream, am i wrong?

            now if we could get a gregoire in LA? and a sketch ice cream here too that would be real nice.

            but we do have some fatted calf charcuterie now.

              1. re: Pei

                oh, fatted calf is served at cube on la brea, they have at most about a half dozen of their items though.

                1. re: kevin

                  They also sell it by weight... to me they had a VERY nice selection of their products... we had their fennel Salami for a party the other day... absolutely WONDERFUL!! :)


              2. re: kevin

                It's billed as a horseradish cream, but I'm pretty sure they use aioli in the base.