Lilly's in Venice
- Jessica Ritz
After a very long new year's temple service on Friday night, my mother and I were in the mood for a pleasant special dinner so we headed to the Joe's-adjacent Lilly's on Abbott Kinney. We arrived technically after closing time but were warmly greeted by an effusive waiter, seated in the lovely back patio, and promptly served. The endive salad was punchy and generously tossed with gorgonzola and walnuts. My entree of halibut served with tapenade, steamed spinach, and some sort of tomato coulis was nicely seared, yet slightly overdone. The swordfish was very tasty and thin, but the accompaniment of watercress, tomato salad, and julienne vegetables didn't require so many sides. Overall the prices are excellent, and atmosphere very lively, convivial and not pretentious. I'd like to hear if anyone else has been and if other dishes merit a return visit, other than for the ambiance.
The fries are just about perfect - skinny, hot and crisp. The goat cheese tart is pretty good, but not as good as Meredith Broidy raved in the New Times a couple months ago. And the "Eggs Lilly" is yummy for brunch - eggs benedict with a thin slice of brioche in the place of the english muffin and a wonderful hollandaise. That patio IS great, and the staff is surprisingly friendly. BUT quite a few things on the menu are just okay and when we went for brunch the coffee was cold.
So, I guess a return trip would depend on your mood and if you're willing to forgo perfection for a friendly place with a lovely patio and great fries!!
Shana Tova! I had that same halibut two Mondays ago and found it perfect -- flaky, clean, the spinach sauteed but not goopy. The escargot were firm but not rubbery. The apple tart was moist and succulent and although I'm not generally a chocolate-lover, the profiterolles could induce cardiac arrest! Suprisingly, the service was unpretentious, accommodating and downright friendly both at the front of the house and at the table.
Have you tried Axe? Haven't made it over there yet.
If you can put up with the attitude, I had a super meal at the place. When you make a reservation, they take your credit card & charge you 25 buckos if you're a no-show. They WILL correct you if you call the place "Ax" (like the chopping thingie). We had to wait outside until our entire party showed up. Once you're in, be sure to wear black if you don't want to be viewed as the only piece of colorful decoration in the place.
But those yuppies can sure cook: Bruchetta appetizer had 5 different toppings for it... good selection of beers, wine & infusions...for entrees everybody had something different and it was all good asian-fusioney without getting too over-the-top with the flavor combinations.