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Aug 20, 2007 01:24 PM

Larkins in Eagle Rock

I went to Larkin’s in Eagle Rock Saturday night. I’ve talked to a few people; word on the street was that service could be slow so I was prepared for that. And honestly, slow service doesn’t really bother me. I’m with friends, we’ll chat. It’s a new place, I get it.

This is really a cozy little space, a beautiful old California bungalow that’s been totally transformed. Cute mix & match chairs and old doors turned into table tops; lots of flowers, lots of charm, a nice hostess at the door greeting guests. I also saw picnic tables on the wrap around porch. We were seated within 5 minutes and the restaurant was full. I was prepared to make this my new favorite place.

We were immediately given a black bean relish (poor man’s caviar, I think) with what I assume were pita chips. Really not enough chips for 3 people, but the relish was good and I ate some with my fork. We waited for at least 10 minutes for our waitress. We figured out what we wanted and I read the “welcome & rules” from the owner. Now, I’m all for no cell phone use in restaurants. When patrons start pointing and miming because they’re on their cell my blood pressure sky rockets. Asking patrons not to be rude to the wait staff, more than ok. Telling them not to make adjustments to the menu, hey—it’s your place. But as I watched a manager berate my soon to be waitress, loudly enough for all to hear, I couldn’t help but feel that he should read Chef Larkin’s rules.

Our waitress came, she was sweet and nice and slightly dissholved. I get it. You just got blasted in front of the restaurant. We ordered the fried chicken, the spicy shrimp and the pork chop. I got lemonade and my sister got the fruit punch. As we ordered a buss boy came and stole the empty chip basket and almost half a dish of the black bean relish. He actually made our waitress move as he grabbed the plates—right as she was mid sentence asking us questions. The food came fast. For $15 I was treated to a small scoop of garlic mashed potatoes and gravy, 1 chicken leg and a very small chicken thigh. For $20 my bf got 8 tiny shrimp and potato salad. My sister got the pork chop (they asked us if we wanted it medium rare, shouldn’t pork always be between 150-160 degrees??) with beans and rice. I’d say she got the most bang for her buck. It was a nice size boneless pork chop, a little salty, but good. My fried chicken was just average and while it had a crispy coating, the skin was not crispy; it was actually a little slimy. How does that happen? I feel like it was almost baked and then fried at the end. I can’t have shellfish, so I can’t comment on the shrimp but my bf liked them ok. Nothing to blow your hair back.

For dessert I had banana pudding, sister got the black & blue cobbler and the bf had the sweet potato pie. The banana pudding was average and had actually separated, but I ate it anyway because I was still hungry after my 2-piece meal. The cobbler was awful. And not really cobbler, more of a crisp. There was too much salt and some bites were disgusting. The sweet potato pie was really sweet and then topped with more sweetened fresh whipped cream. I would have preferred unsweetened to cut it a bit.

All in all, we were pretty under whelmed by the experience. Honestly, I can’t say I’d go back. Maybe in a few months if they have things worked out. I felt it was a bit too expensive for what it was. And when you have a place like Café Beaujolais down the street, why not just go there? It's really a bummer because the place is so darn cute.

I’m interested to hear what others have thought. . .

1496 Colorado Blvd.
Eagle Rock 90041

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  1. I've been wanting to try Larkin's for some time now. Every weekend I decide to go, I read something or hear something bad about the place. I keep saying I will give them time to work out all the kinks but I am getting tired of waiting.

    On another note, I totally agree with CB. Great staff and excellent food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jocey

      Yeah. I was the same way. It's just a bummer, i want it to be good! Maybe I'll try and go back after the first of the year. I really did feel their heart was in the right place, it just sorta missed the mark.

    2. And the promised beer and wine license has not even been filed with the abc as of today, so you have to bring in any alcoholic beverages and hope that the abc does not catch them and suspend their potential license when the time does come.
      Free corkage is fine, yet is also legally a hazard for any restaurant.
      This place seems like it was founded by people verrrrry new to the business and are practicing along the way, and the public is paying for their education.

      1. I've actually eaten there twice now and both experiences were positive. The first was excellent really, had the fried chicken (nothing like your experience - it was cooked perfectly: the skin was crisp without being overly greasy) and the catfish was delicious. I'm very impressed by their greens, which are spicy, full of flavor and not overcooked. For dessert I had the red velvet strawberry shortcake, a VERY rich concoction of butter, sugar, whipped cream and fresh strawberries - my sweet tooth was thoroughly satisfied. The only parts that were underwhelming were the heirloom tomato salad (not enough tomatoes really) and not having any alcohol (which we forgot about and were unprepared for on our second trip). The service was friendly and prompt at both occasions. I think this place is worthwhile, especially for the comfortable setting and food, and like many new restaurants, is still struggling to hit its stride.

        1 Reply
        1. re: unvacuous

          I agree,
          I've had some great times there.
          I had lucked-out before they opened and was able to go to one of the "Private Tastings" and it was amazing...I loved that darned chix. and the potato salad.
          I haven't had dinner there since they've opened but I've had 3 lunches and 4 brunches...I'm gonna get huge because this place is too close...ugg.
          Good times each time...I've been solo for lunch each time and have never been rushed or had to wait and it was a pleasant time...several other solo diners reading mags or the paper and relaxing-one guy let me try his onion rings-yummy.
          I've been with a group of 4 and a group of 6 for brunch and never noticed bad service but then with out crazy group, it's hard to notice anything sice we always have a great time together...the only complaint, we're gonna get fat!