Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Jan 19, 2008 06:24 AM


We went with some friends to the Soft Opening a few days ago prior to the OFFICIAL PUBLIC Soft Opening last Fri a week ago and tried several if not all of the dishes and types of coffees.
We returned yesterday (thur) for lunch with some serious foodie friends and ordered:
Dungeness Crab w/ TWO EGGS (La Mill listened to it's Customer comments)
Squash Soup
ABLT sandwich (PorkBelly instead of Bacon) Awesome and sharable.
Prosciutto Cotto sandwich w/ Reblochon cheese
Arctic Char Tartar
Clam Fritters w/ Yuzu Mayo
Chips (Yukon Gold Potato Chips)
EVERYTHING WAS AMAZING and it should be considering it's PROVIDENCE'S take on casual lunch.
Desserts were all great and the biggest problem was choosing a favorite.

Now on to the Coffees & Teas which were paired with the food:
Masala Chai
Siphon (my favorite)
Kenya Auction lot
El Salvador
Organic Brazil
Sumatra Aged / Peaberry Blend

Overall an experience you won't have anywhere else.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Well said, with much more brevity, and only five minutes apart! I'm off to Peet's living on the Westside as I do. (Of course, LA Mill doesn't open until 9am right now.)

    1. Stopped by for lunch today, after hiking in Griffith Park. It's a beautiful spot with all the expensive accoutrements, so the prices on the menu reflect these costs. We shared pumpkin polenta, had the squash soup (2 orders) and 2 desserts - creme brulee and pear/cranberry crisp. The food was excellent, but the bill, with tea (we are not coffee people) was $70 PRE-TIP. And portions were tiny, tiny - tasting menu small. It's all lovely, but I can't see going back anytime soon. I'm not sure this area really supports this type of cafe - it's super high-dollar for a hipster area, and I thought the tiny portions for lots of $$$ was passe these days - that feels very 80's to me now, hope it's not coming back into fashion. Why can't America do normal size portions of anything? But I digress...I'm sure the hipsters will linger for hours over a $5 cup of coffee and the place will be busy, but not profitable for the amount of money the owner obviously spent.

      3 Replies
      1. re: bicoastalfoodie

        I dropped in last Sunday (one of the last soft opening days) and tried to order an iced latte; they don't have iced coffee drinks (?) so my barrista offered me an iced Hong Kong Milk Tea. With a buck tip for said barrista, I realized that I had paid nearly $7 for an iced tea. But since it's right down the hill from me, I'll probably go every now and then (though will most likely keep going to Intelligentsia).

        1. re: Bon Vivant

          Man I hate to say it but - Pretentious!

          This is a prime example of people trying to gouge the lower middle class out of silverlake. Honestly the food is pretty good but what is it doing in Silverlake. I have lived here for about ten years and love the neighborhood for the value-for-dollar gems that give this city it's personality. Yuca's tacos, Taco's Delta, Alegria's, Madame Matisse for brunch, these are the types of places that distinguish this neighborhood from so many others. We don't live in Santa Monica because we don't want to get price gouged at Whole Foods - Of course now we get it from Gelson's (r.i.p. mayfair [also not cheap]). Some of the people that live here actually shop at Food For Less for produce not just because it's trendy but because it's cheaper.

          I think when you open an experimental restaurant in Silverlake, you have the balls to try to make something that tastes amazing and is amazingly affordable - get some street cred by showing off how you don't need foil wallpaper and ten years ago modernist design to sell your food. all you need is tastebuds.
          Compare this restauarant to Thomas Keller's Bouchon in Vegas - the prices are the same, if not more at LAmill. Where's the pretention at Bouchon? Maybe in playing along with the thematic desire of Vegas and opening a faux french bistro in a faux italian city but definitely not in the food. At LaMill? "maple-coffee-urfa chili creme fraiche"? Are you kidding me? That's straight off the menu. $3.50 for a croissant? I don't understand this at all.... Ok maybe they're $3.75 at Bouchon but we're talking Thomas Keller here and f-me if that wasn't the best croissant I've had outside of Paris. Seriously they're that good. I'll stop now. Just sort of offended by LaMill for some reason.

          1. re: logan

            Lets be real here, the lower middle class is/has been gouged out of this area for awhile now, a Yuca's et al. type place will not happen again any time soon, and that is very, very, lamentable. Hence I get the gripe with LA Mill's "pretentiousness". I personally can not afford to go there very often. Yes, the same gripe, "Latte and baked good- $8!!!!" The truth of the matter is that the majority of those that have moved into the area, say in the last decade or so, can! As is evidenced by LA Mill having brisk business, looks like locals to me. I have a feeling that LA Mill is going to fit a need here, ie, high quality food. I think to fit in the neighborhood more it would behoove them to make it both a destination place for eat-in AND a place you get in line for to-go, for the coffee and baked goods for a couple of $'s less...Don't know if that is asking too much!
            A large part of me wants to not like LA Mill, as signifier of what SL is now, but than another tiny part likes the fact that I can go splurge somewhere good, without going far!

      2. think it more or less evokes the tea and coffee houses in europe which happen to serve food. LA MILL is pairing food with coffee just it's not just incidental, however, i do think they could do a better job at pointing that out. maybe it's just a matter of educating the staff and getting the joint off the ground.

        1. Can someone explain to me about the extra espresso shots both LA Mill and Intelligentsia are putting in their lattes & perhaps other drinks... I tried to order a single latte at Intelligentsia and was told "our smallest latte has 2 shots, but if you really want we can make you a single..." Then, I go to LA Mill and try to order a double latte, the server says, "what?" like they don't know what I mean, so I asked for a large, and they tell me their large (which is a reasonably sized not too huge cup) has 3 shots, but if I really want they can make me a double. What's up with this?? I find it weird because both places offer nice, reasonably size cups, not all huge and overblown like some other places, but then they want to go crazy on the amount of caffeine. I just want a nice morning latte, plus the option to have another coffee later if the mood strikes... without getting the jitters. Is this too much to ask?
          PS The prices are laughably high at LA Mill. $12 for a ham & butter baguette? If it wasn't within walking distance of my house I would boycott it. It's an outrage!

          21 Replies
          1. re: sarahclegg

            I don't see their menu posted, but I'm guessing they aren't using rockview dairy butter or a watered down ham 'loaf'. When you use quality ingredients, you have to pass along the food cost or you won't be in business. Hopefully there will be enough customers that can taste the difference and care about that stuff.

            1. re: AAQjr

              bravo. absolutely, 100% concur. i'm elated to know there are others in LA that appreciate the difference and can support quality and innovation like this. this is why the food scene, IMHO, is better in chicago & san francisco. what an encouraging post!

            2. re: sarahclegg

              We've been a couple of times and it's not an OUTRAGE! It's a effort to bring a higher level of cuisine and coffee to a foodie desert. Providence is 160- for the Chef's tasting and worth it. La Mill is far less expensive for Providence's Lunch & Dessert Cuisine. Maybe a deal , all things considered?

              1. re: russkar

                I am more than willing to pay $$$$ for good quality food (and drink) even in minuscule portions but the Hong Kong Milk Tea that they charge $5.50 for doesn't really taste too much better than the milk tea at Empress Pavilion that costs $1.25. The barrista went on and on and on about its fabulousness and my expectations were high but the drink was just ok. Even if it cost $1.25 I probably wouldn't order it again.

                Granted, it's not about the milk tea so I will be going back for coffee and will spend the big bucks (but not on milk tea!)


                1. re: Bon Vivant

                  Went today and noticed that the Hong Kong Milk Tea is $6 inhouse but would much rather pay $10 plus plus for chemex coffee.

                  Indeed, everything was fabulous and I thought the prices reasonable. Just goes to show that first impressions are not always correct.


                  1. re: Bon Vivant

                    $6 for black tea + condensed milk?

                  2. re: russkar

                    "We've been a couple of times and it's not an OUTRAGE! It's a effort to bring a higher level of cuisine and coffee to a foodie desert. Providence is 160- for the Chef's tasting and worth it. La Mill is far less expensive for Providence's Lunch & Dessert Cuisine. Maybe a deal , all things considered?"

                    I agree. LA is a city of 4 million people, and 10 million county. You would think there is room for one upscale coffee shop. As for people who want silverlake to remain "simple", cities like LA, NY, Chicago, SF change. Neighorhoods always change in these large and dynamic cities. No neighorhood stays the same forever. Whether it be wealth, race, or religion, Silver lake is bound to change and continue to change, like the rest of LA. For me, La mill, (and hopefully Centeno's new restaurant) is a very welcome change.

                    I am glad LA has a destination coffee shop for which to measure all others.

                    1. re: russkar

                      I'm actually a recent transplant from that excellent SF food scene, which is in part why I'm disappointed by the prices. It IS much harder to get a higher quality of food here, and charging $12 for a sandwich jambon is gouging--it don't cost that much at Bay Breads or Tartine in SF, which LA Mill can't hold a candle to. I'm happy to pay more for the good stuff, but I feel like LA Mill has an entrepreneurial edge to it. Like, let's see how much we can possibly charge for this, and still get people to pony up!

                      Gusto, thanks for your excellent explanation of the shots. It'd be nice if they explained it so clearly.

                      1. re: sarahclegg

                        have you tried the sandwich jambon at LA MILL?

                        1. re: revets2

                          I DID, as a matter of fact...after the sticker shock wore off a bit, I thought, well, maybe I can get my sandwich jambon fix here. I actually got really excited about it. With the Frenchified description on the menu...jambon de Paris...beurre salé... I thought it would be very traditional. I've been a big fan of that sandwich since I lived in Lyon in college. Well, I am sorry to report it was a grave disappointment. There was a massive pile of ham on the sandwich, about 3 times what you want. I actually removed most of it and ate it for breakfast the next day. Hardly any butter to speak of, instead of a nice thick smear. And the bread was pretty good, but in a sandwich this simple you need really great bread. So even if that sandwich was a reasonable $7 or $8 bucks I wouldn't order it again.

                          Still I might give something else there a try. The longer I'm in LA the more I realize there are a lot of stunningly overpriced items on menus, even of little neighborhood places like (say) Cafe Stella, where we went to dinner the other night. I know life is expensive in the big city and all, but it's a downer when you're used to getting better for cheaper in SF.

                    2. re: sarahclegg

                      The "Golden Rule" of espresso is 1oz of espresso for a 25 second pull for 14 - 16 grams of coffee. However, places like Intelly (and I'm assuming LA Mill, although I haven't visited there to cofirm) pull what is called a ristretto, which is a "short shot" (~.75 ounces). The idea behind the ristretto is to enhance the overall flavor of the espresso to its peak. Think of it as getting the most flavor out of the coffee possible. Because places like Intelly, I'm assuming LA Mill, and Cafe Luxxe in Santa Monica are dedicated to giving the highest quality experience with coffee, they pull a "double ristretto," which comes out to about 1.5oz. This is what you get when you ask for a shot of espresso at Intelly. You see, when you ask for a single shot, the barista is probably thinking a ristretto single shot (.75oz), which they don't normally make (the grind would have to be changed, portafilter baskets changed, amount of coffee used changed, AND would probably come out so small to the average person would scoff at it. In the espresso world, from what I've been told, the single shot is known as a finicky piece of work, and even the most die-hard espresso enthusiasts will normally ask for a double ristretto because even that will only render 2 to 3 sips, at most. Simply put, at places like Intelly, and I'm assuming LA Mill, they don't use single shots. Instead, they use slightly more coffee (18-22 grams) and aim for a 1.5oz pull. I know it can all be kind of confusing, but just have it be known that the baristi working in these places are dedicated to coffee. So you can gauge what you're getting next time, if you order espresso, most of the espresso cups used in these places usually hold about 2oz.. You'll probably notice the espresso hovering below the rim of the cup, which mean it's just less than 2oz (a ~1.5oz double ristretto). The problem lies where people are so used to ordering extra "shots" of espresso at different coffee locations, but people weren't really told what the extra shot (or the original shot) ever constituted (was it 1oz, 2oz?). Who knows? There's a lot that goes into every cup of coffee at places like Intelly, and there can be a big difference between a 2oz pull of espresso and a 1.5 oz pull. My recommendation would be to just order whatever drink you normally get and see how it tastes. If you want more espresso, simply ask for an extra shot, instead of a "single." Furthermore, if you really want to taste what the espresso has to offer, be sure to try and get the smallest milk drink possible. (At Intelly this would around 5 or 6oz).

                      Hope that helps.

                      1. re: Gusto

                        Gusto............ The coffee post of the year! Very concise and very right ,on every point!
                        By the way, we have our own potential La Mill up here in SF. BlueBottle opened up their cafe and it is out of this world great. (their own pastry chef, poached egg breakfast, and wine and cheese pairings at night)

                        1. re: chipman

                          Agreed! Great explanation of the technical aspects of espresso and ristretto!

                          1. re: Gusto

                            Dude, you rock.

                            All I know is the single espresso that I order in Italy is much different than what I get here. While I don't have the technical information that Gusto has, I understand what he's talking about with the 1.5 oz pull, which I DON'T like. The single espresso that I love and crave and can never get is literally a single sip that's almost syrupy, intense, acidic, nutty. I have yet to go to LAMill but I think I'll request a ristretto .75oz pull. about high maintenance

                            1. re: fooddude37

                              If it makes a difference, the espressos I've gotten at La Mill were about as syrupy as syrupy gets, barely covering the bottom of a standard-size espresso cup and expressing bright acidity - it's not a particularly dark roast - instead of the usual chocolatey nuances.

                            2. re: Gusto

                              Well put...I'm all about the ristrettos, thus my moniker, lol. At home, I pull strictly ristrettos straight up or in cappas using a bottomless portafilter, no less :). Speaking of which, if Eton is running the show at LA Mill, is that what they're using? I used to have excellent naked shots at his former Cafe Organica in SF.

                              1. re: ristretto

                                They do have naked or bottomless portafilter baskets, but they are also using traditional La Marzocco double portafilter baskets.

                                1. re: peanut112

                                  Finally got to LA Mill this past weekend. They definitely pull a tight double ristretto there.. Probably only an ounce, at most. Damn good, though. It's definitely a unique place. It's weird having a coffee shop, but not being able to sit down and just have a cup of coffee (when it's busy, anyway). This place is not a traditional coffee house, though. It is a place to enjoy fine coffee/food delicacies, so in that aspect, it can't really be compared to a "normal" coffee house. I will say the beans I got this past weekend (Brazil Poco Fundo) and the espresso I got at LA Mill were both excellent.

                              2. re: Gusto

                                my understanding is the pull at LA MILL is 20 sec. or less to avoid overextraction. from the resident coffee geek, eton, he also says it depends on which machine they're pulling from (depending on the temp at portafilter) and which espresso they're using, so it varies.

                            3. The original comment has been removed