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Citrus, any thoughts???

d
Dan Jan 10, 2001 05:12 PM

Had dinner there and just curious what y'all thought about it. Generally, I wasn't too impressed.

  1. s
    SexLoveRockSushi Jan 10, 2001 07:12 PM

    I couldn't agree with you more. Things have definitely gone downhill over the years, ever since Citrus's founder Michel Richard went off to Washington D.C. My last time there our server had a real cocky attiyde, and after taking our orders most of the our food was brought to the table not by him, but by runners and bus boys even though the place was toally empty. When we first arrived there was only one other party dining in the place! I think this reflects that most diners are starting to move on to better places, since Citrus is way past it's prime.
    I had the 5 course dinner, and although some things were very good, more things were average. To put it simply, it was too inconsistent for the money. The escargot were good, served in a kind of rolled up flour and presented on an artichoke butter sauce that I must admit was divine, although I would have preferred the snails in the shell. The sweetbreads were magnificent, but the crabcake was only fairly good, and yet the venison was extraordinary. On the other hand, the fois gras terrine was pretty horrible, and I love fois gras and didn't come close to finishing it even though the appetizer was of normal size. This is the first and only time I have never finsihed a dish with fois gras at any restaurant, but on this occasion it lacked any defining flavor and was similar to the liverwurst you buy at your local Ralphs. Plus I prefer my fois gras seared instead of charcuterie. And as for desserts, I had two and they were both very bad. I was literally shocked that a place once known for delectable desserts would strike out twice. One was a chocolate cheesecake that didn't taste like cheesecake at all. The chocolate totally overwhelmed any cheese that was in it. The other dessert I tried, and didn't finish, was a chocolate hazelnut torte, two choclate wafers in some sauce (I can't recall, perhaps a vanilla bean sauce) that resembled and tasted like a 50 cent kit-kat. Needless to say with Michel Richards retreat, the place is surely going down in quality, and I will never return there again.

    2 Replies
    1. re: SexLoveRockSushi
      d
      david dixon Jan 11, 2001 02:48 PM

      i actually am quite fond of citrus. i agree that the service is mediocre and business is not as strong. however, there are some dishes that are excellent. as with any restaurant, it's important to know what dishes the restaurant excels at. personally, i like the seabass and baby salmon with mashed potatoes and potato chips. the caesar salad is good too. granted, these are common dishes, but they are done very well. but what is really incredible is their napolean with butterscotch sauce. this is the best dessert i have ever had...and i've had a lot. :) layers of creme brulee between wafers. i'm sorry that another chowhound didn't know what to order from their dessert menu. they missed out.

      citrus may not be the best restaurant, but i still think it's quite good when you want some simple dishes done well. don't pass on the napolean either.

      1. re: SexLoveRockSushi
        j
        jerome Jan 12, 2001 06:01 PM

        As far as going downhill, I have to agree. I went to Citrus a great deal in the early 90's (remember, when Duplex was around) and even then for every four dishes we would order, one would be a definite clunker. I found then that the best way to deal with Citrus was to have someone go in, talk to Michel Richard and set up a meal where we would all get the same thing but it would be a special meal designed by Richard and not the prix fixe on the menu. THe food was always superb that way, and the price completely controlled (more a menu a plaisir du chef kinda meal). Once he started with his other places in Santa barbara and all over, the quality control just fell apart, IMHO. The bakery lunch counter on Robertson is still fine.
        All in all a pity, because I find the room very pretty.

      2. s
        SexLoveRockSushi Jan 11, 2001 05:02 PM

        To the last post I must disagree with you. When I'm paying about $90 for a meal I expect more hits than misses on the menu, and find it inexcusable to have two desserts that are both mediocre at best. This was the worst cheesecake I ever had, and didn't come close to finishing it because it was so badly executed. And like I stated before the dishes in the prix fix menu were also inconsistent all the way through. Some good, a few very good, and many just decent. And if I'm going to order simple dishes such as salmon and potato chips, which I can get anywhere for about one third the cost, then I drefinitely wouldn't choose Citrus. Citrus is a fine dining establishment with fine dining prices to match, which definitely does not produce the consistent excellence of food and service that a fine dining establishment should provide. For the money there are many better restaurants in L.A. such as Rockenwagner (superb), spago's, patina, Lucques, etc...

        1 Reply
        1. re: SexLoveRockSushi
          d
          david dixon Jan 11, 2001 07:53 PM

          sexloverocksushi - citrus certainly does have it's weaknesses, and i agree, there are better restaurants. although it isn't as expensive either as a valentino or patina. i think citrus is a good lunch spot myself when prices are cheaper...entrees are in the teens (that ain't bad, is it? no more expensive than the cheesecake factory). and if you tried the napolean instead of the cheesecake, i think you might be a bit less harsh on the place cuz it's really, really good. :)

          anyway, i agree that many of citrus' dishes are just ok. if you ever go back, try the seabass & napolean and i think you will be pleased with your meal. but then again, everyone has different tastes...

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