Someone try and convince me to go to La Frite again....I dare you
I went to La Frite in Woodland Hills this weekend, and with some glowing reviews, I was expecting a lot better than what I got. Can someone please attempt to convince me to go back. I had a dry piece of cardboard masquerading as 'chicken' and some kroeger brand forzen beans and carrots. Maybe I ordered the wrong thing? Yet the worst thing of all was the service. Our waitress was condescending, when she wasn't completely absent, and had a horrible attitude. I won't divulge her name, but it rhymes with 'tally' and starts with the letter 'a'. Either way, as it stands now, I might be picketing that place unless someone can convince me otherwise.
I am unimpressed with extreme views negative or positive. Restaurants have their ups and downs; it can be the food, the service or even the customer. The interaction between a restaurant and its customers is fluid and subject to many possible fluctuations.
La Frite is a restaurant I and my wife frequent because it's convenient (everyone should have a neighborhood restaurant they fall back on) and more times than not serves a decent enough meal.
We like the choices: always the specials (found on the inside front page of the menu - soup specials are a must for me, they can be and I like adventurous), the mixed greens salad, the onion soup, the crab bisque, the lobster ravioli, the la frite burgers, the "meg" pizza (though my wife prefers how it's made in Sherman Oaks), the filet mignon with bernaise, the seafood quiche, the chocolate souffle, and the fries.
We also like the atmosphere of both restaurants.
The service is usually very good, and, occasionally spotty. I don't get too hung up on this stuff. I speak up when I need to, and, enjoy when it's going right.
Yes, sometimes I'm disappointed, but I feel I stepped up to the plate (pun intended) and tried something.
On the chicken issue, I tend to refrain from eating chicken at any restaurant (though I plead guilty to the occcasional El Pollo Loco or KFC). Why? I am one of those who is of the belief it's an inexpensive meat to buy comparatively; why pay restaurant prices for it. My wife and I can cook a pretty decent chicken at home, or, purchse a whole rotisserie chicken from Costco. It's not a meat I would choose to partake of in a restaurant. Also, the chicken breast has to be one of the dryest meats. For me, this is where a sauce or gravy is important. I would consider eating a chicken breast in a restaurant if the sauce or gravy sounded appealing, but it would take a lot (there are places that definitely serve chicken to my wishes - Roscoe's, Knott's Berry Farm, etc.)
I don't know about frozen vegetables. I have usually enjoyed the carrots, string beans, asparagus, broccoli, etc. Occasionally, my criticism would be that they are over-cooked.
Oh, and I like the dinner rolls.
I hate La Frite, and it's such a great location for me, and it's the type of restaurant I so want to love -- their wine list is an embarrassment, their food tastes like it came from the frozen section of the market (I'm thinking specifically of the crab cakes I ordered last time on a server's rec) but I have never had a single decent thing to eat here. It's like a French restaurant in the middle of Wyoming, it's that quality level.
At the risk of getting flamed, the problem is that virtually every restaurant in the Valley is really not very good. There are some good ethnic places (sushi, mandarin deli, top thai etc...), but forget about any high end/continental food.
I really wish this wasn't the case...my mil lives in tarzana and can baby sit for us...however, and we've tried a lot of places, we can't find a place we would want to return. For instance, people rave on this board about Il Tiramisu - I pretty much knew it wasn't going to be great the minute I entered, and nothing changed my mind. Even the namesake desert was awful, and i adore tiramisu.
Unless you're eating sushi (and, fwiw, i think nozawa and katsu-ya are grossy overrated) you're best bet is to get an double-double on van nuys!
Well, you are correct in your assessment of the Valley if you are judging the area around Tarzana, and for that matter, Encino as well. Go east of the 405 and you will do much better. Max, Boneyard Bistro for the bistro food and Mistral are all in Sherman Oaks, on Ventura between Woodman and Fulton, and do very good jobs at being what they are trying to be.
I agree with your assessment btw on Tiramisu - the menu reminds me of so many Italian restaurants - boring, some old, same old, menu with ho-hum flaovr and presentation. Nice people working there, but...
Heard there has been a good improvement to Panzanella on Ventura near Kester, yet have not tried it within the past 2-3 years.
You know I disagree with the Il Tiramisu nay sayers, Carter. To each their own and Vive la differance!
Also on the east side of the Valley is
El Katracho for good honduran
Aroma Bakery and Cafe (not the same palce.this one is Isreali Continental)
Ca Del Sole (OK, I hear it's not as good as it used to be, but is OK)
That French place in panorama City, what is the name?
Boneyard bistro (mentioned aplenty before)
Some of these are ethnic (keep in mind many isrealies consider themselves "continental") but all are amazing
This is a tangent - but as a Tarzana resident let me try to help with some neighborhood spots .
Gorikee - on north side Ventura near Topanga charming Japanese fusion with eccentric and brilliant chef.
Sushi Spot - Ventura & Corbin. Unassuming appearance. Exceptional sushi
Lima - Ventura near Shirley - outstanding sophisticated Peruvian. Great seafood.
You have arguably the best sushi in the valley there in Sushi Iki, as well as Yotsuya across the street which is very good as well.
What about Sol y Luna? I haven't been but was going to go yesterday, but they are closed on Mondays.
Another place for old school "continental" is Seashell in Tarzana. And for old school French is Le Sanglier.
I wasn't impressed with Sol y Luna. Sure, you can have a margarita, and it has real table service, but I'd much rather just go to their sister restaurant Las Fuentes. The Sol y Luna space is super cramped and noisy, both the bar and the dining room are pretty small. Service was spotty. Food is better at Las Fuentes. I can't see returning to Sol y Luna. But by all means try it out and let us know what you think, it wasn't truly awful or anything, just mediocre. Can't even remember what we ate and it's only been a couple of months.
Haven't been to Il Tiramisu but the reviews I've read here have been pretty mixed, not "raves".
Check out Alcazar in Encino, best Middle Eastern food in LA IMO.
Haven't been in a few years, but Viva Italia (formerly Pulcinella) in Tarzana used to be pretty good. Same with Panzanella (a Drago bros. production).
Charlie G's steakhouse is very good, but a bit overpriced IMO. I prefer Monty's myself, prices are more reasonable. There is always Gorikee which really does get rave reviews here, although I am not as enamored as some, it's worth a try.
Have heard good things about Adagio in Woodland Hills, haven't been there myself. Same with Brandywine.
And you have all the new chain places popping up in Woodland Hills (Roys, Flemings, Ruths Chris, Mortons etc).
Go East of the 405, a 10 minute ride on the 101, you have many more options for "high end". Max, Mistral, OutTake, Boneyard Bistro, Cafe Bizou, Le Petit Cafe (or whatever the new name is), Pinot Bistro, Wine Bistro etc etc.
What other places have you tried besides Il Tiramisu?
Truly, the one in Sherman Oaks has much better ambiance, at least the same or better food (now why order chicken from that menu I leave to your own issues, but it would be about the last thing I would think to order there), whereas the Woodland Hills unit feels like I am eating in a barn - truly awful facility.
Never had an experience with the wait staff in S/O like you describe either!!!
We didn't enjoy the one in Sherman Oaks. I took my in-laws who love steak frite and it was very underwelming. I actually felt bad because I was looking forward to trying the place up based on the reviews here and it was nothing great. The steak was OK, fries were nothing special. I wouldn't go back.
I've always had wonderful meals there!
I didn't order the chicken, though.
I get the house terrine, a savory crepe of some sort, a salad and if I've been good, a dessert crepe or the chocolate souffle.
I rarely order chicken in restaurants, not sure why. Steak frites, well, I don't eat steak, so I've never ordered it.
Maybe it's just they do what I order very well. *shrug*
I've generally had good meals at La Frite in Sherman Oaks. We've been going there since it was Yellow Fingers (probably 30 years or so). I generally stick to the soups (I love the crab bisque), salads, chopped steaks (basically open-faced burgers), terrine, and the moules frites (some of the best in the city).
I've never been to the one in Woodland Hills, so I cannot compare ambience or service, but Sherman Oaks is so small that it would be pretty difficult for a server to be entierly absent.