La Dijionase - sort of a let down
I see recommendations left and right for La Dijionase as a nice place to eat in Culver City. I was there on Saturday kind of at an odd time between lunch and dinner (around 5:30). I had a mixed greens salad with the french onion soup. My husband had the sliced filet mingon sandwich and french fries. He said his sandwich was ok. My soup was pretty decent. Nothing out of this world but it was solid. The salad was ok. The lettuce was a bit passed it's prime but not terrible. The vinaigrette was fine. Our server was pretty terrible. He was not friendly or helpful at all. He had to confirm my order with me twice (soup and salad was on the menu) and not very complicated. Then he neglected to enter the fries into our order (comes separately as a side not part of the sandwich) so our meal came out without fries. We clearly had to wait for them to be made they weren't just running behind. We did not feel particularly welcome in the restaurant. They weren't crowded at all so that was odd. Our server did have a warm, lengthy embrace with a female while he was standing next to us (with an aparant girlfirend) that was also off-putting. The service seemed a bit slow for the restaurant being about 1/3 full. I'd give it another chance but I wasn't impressed.
I have never had good service there. Everytime we go they leave something off, or forget to bring us water or it takes forever. For lunch its fine and the food is overall good, but everytime I go the service is so bad, I always say never again. I work in CC though, so I always end up going back. One time we sat at the patio with 3 other tables and we all ended up laughing at the fact that our server messed up all of our orders and nothing came out right. The busboy was much better at getting our orders and helping us than the server.
It's a good idea to give the place another chance. La Dij gets generally positive reviews here because compared to other places serving similar food, it is extremely affordable, has a fairly varied menu and serves wine and beer. I agree the service can be spotty at times; and then sometimes it's TOO fast (everything comes out at once). But I think the price value ratio is very good. For example, we ate dinner at Le Petit Jardin last Thursday instead of at La Dijonaise, and they have very similar menus and similar food quality, though quite different atmospheres. The bill at Le Petit Jardin was over $100 and probably would have been around $75 at La Dij for what we ordered (two dinner salads, a french onion soup, a child's angel hair pasta, one entrecote, one pork chop provencal, 3 glasses of wine and two milks). That leads us to conclude that La Dijonaise is a better restaurant than Le Petit Jardin (though the latter's roast chicken is particularly good, nothing else really is that outstanding).
I agree that reading rave posts on this board can lead to certain expectations that may not be met on the part of the reader . The first time we went to La Dij many years ago we were unimpressed, but after many many visits (we live within walking distance), I can say that in general, the food is well prepared, highly affordable and service is decent. I remember when the Coq Au Vin was $9.95 about 4 years ago (not sure what it is now) and it was an amazing bargain. Not the best you'll ever have, but probably the best at that price.
I agree with Naspy...I've recommended La Dij on this board, and have tried not to be overly glowing. It's a nice neighborhood place, tasty food, really good prices, and ok service (I've never had them be rude, but it's almost like they're working really hard not to be.) Sometimes I've even had very good service. Their pastries really good, and cheaper than any restaurant in town. I also like their fries quite a bit. In fact, whenever we order food to go (often) they wait until we get their to cook the fries so they'll be especially hot. I can see this might annoy some folks, but I like it. Of course having them forget the fries while seated in the restaurant would be annoying.
Not to hijack the thread...but do others find that if you go to any restaurant in that no-mans land between lunch and dinner that service is often lackluster? Just wondering...
Agree with your thought on the hour of the day, and especially the fact that the day was Saturday, which for Dij is not their big day of the week - I am actually surprised they are even open on Saturday. Its strength is the M-F business, unless the jazz bakery has some wonderful artist playing that night.
Definitely a local hang, and no destination whatsoever.
La Dijionase is a fantastic place to get a tasty and really reasonably-priced lunch or dinner and have various options in terms of what you'll eat. It probably is NOT a destination restaurant or somewhere that you'd take your out of town guests to. But - for a local restaurant it has variety, good prices, good service, and good food. I've never been disappointed with my entree or service. But - maybe I've been lucky. I don't expect La Cachette or Spago - I expect an ordinary bistro. And, that's what it is.