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Apr 9, 2002 10:09 PM

Anyone else disappointed with Versailles/Venice Blvd?

  • z

Having chewed my way through hundreds of porkers prepared a la Cubana, we tumbled into Versailles on Sunday night for a plateful. Place was packed and service was prompt as usual. But for the first time the dish that I have loved eternally was sadly below par - cold in fact and not succulent chunks but strings of fatty not very warm pork. Not even that wonderful lemony sauce was much in evidence. Now why didn't I make a screaming fuss - not possible because we were also part of a dinner meeting and I just didn't want to break up the party. On the plus, the flan was good and the Cuban coffee always wants me to want to join the line for the 25th July Brigade.

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  1. i had takeout from the venice versailles back in september and had the same problem... lots of fat, little bit of pork. i keep hearing raves about the place, but i've been disappointed both times i've gone. so i wonder... is it worth returning?

    6 Replies
    1. re: michiyo
      Manhattan Beach Mary

      The one on Sepulveda in Manhattan Beach is still a-okay! I get the pork as takeout at least once a month and have yet to be disappointed.

      1. re: Manhattan Beach Mary

        Actually, I've stopped going to the La Cienega/Pico location too (is that the address?). The signature chicken has been dry as a bone, irredeemable even with extra lemon garlic sauce, and the pork over-fatty. Really a pity. I don't know why I continue to love the avocado and onion salad though. It's so simple: just avocados and onions. I wonder if it's so good because it's always just room temperature.

        1. re: Deborah

          I, too, have been disappointed recently in the La Cienega/Pico location. The roast chicken and roast pork have both been dry, with the chicken particularly dessicated. PLUS - last time I went (for lunch on a weekday) the blackboard listed a Cuban sandwich special. Never had one there before, but I love them in general, so I ordered it. It was 12:15. The waiter came back a few minutes later to apologize and say that they were "out" of Cuban sandwiches. "Out"? Of what? Bread? Ham? Pickles?

        2. re: Manhattan Beach Mary
          wow i'm a dog

          I stopped going to the Manhattan Beach location because as we finished our meal one fine evening, we were joined by a lovely little friend crawling up from our table: a cockroach. Reporting it to the management caused no reaction; they did nothing for us - didn't even take care of our bill. Won't be going back again to *any* location. Too bad because I loved their garlic sauce so...sigh.

        3. re: michiyo

          Yes! I was hugely disappointed with Versailles...Again, my only comparison was to Felix at the traffic Circle in Orange. Great no b.s. atmosphere and even better food. Anything with pork is awesome.

          1. re: Ricardo X

            I like Felix too. Have you tried HABANA in Costa Mesa?

        4. I used to be in love with the Roast Pork but I agree it is now bad more often than good. I always felt that the chicken (breast at least) was always dry and stringy. Before abandoning hope, I experimented and found the Sauteed Lamb and the Picadillo. The lamb is tender and very flavorful and devoid of fat. The Picadillo is Ground Beef in a very flavorful sauce. Both dishes go very will with the beans and rice and plantains. I recently have gotten hooked on Fried Yucca. It is usually very good at Versailles but last Sunday it was overcooked and oily. That was an abberation, it is usually like a wonderful starchy french fry but with an intriguing twist. I agree that the dishes that got me hooked on Versailles are sadly in need of fixing but I keep finding wonderful things on the menu that keep me coming back again and again.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Just Larry

            Our yucca order on Sunday was awful too - woody, no flavor and oily. We used to fight over the order (which together with a Cuban tamale always used to be our appetizer) - but on that evening, the remains of the yucca lay on the serving dish, unwanted.

            1. re: Zoe

              Maybe they are breaking a new guy in on the fry station in the kitchen. The Yucca Fritta at Havana Mania is cut like fries and is a dish that they take great pride in presenting. The Roast Pork at HM is very good too.

            2. re: Just Larry

              dry chicken. yes. that is why i always stick with the bbq chicken at Versaille. i love the sauce and, as a result, find that I cannot eat fried plantains WITHOUT bbq nowadays.

            3. That experience was the only one I have ever had in Encino, where the customers look like they are trying to recreate the eating scene in the movie Tom Jones. In a movie, fine; in person, say good night. That is why I have never gone to any of the others, nor will I.

              1. f

                Constantly. We live 5 minutes away and never go anymore. I've never been to any of their others, so it's hard to compare. But I've never been particularly impressed.

                1. Thank you for confirming my one and only experience at Versailles. This happened to be at the location on Venice Blvd., too. I'd never been to Versailles before but had always heard raves about their chicken and pork and the heavenly lemon garlic sauce. So when my sister and her husband visited me, I thought it would be a great place to take them to since I'm just down the street. It was probably one of the worst meals I've ever had in my life. I had the combo pork and chicken plate and everything was WAAAY too salty and WAAAAY too sour, and I generally like things just a little overseasoned. It was so overpowering I wanted to puke. I suspect that whoever marinated the meat that night knew they had oversalted it and tried to cover it up by adding just as heavy a dose of lemon. I've been averse to trying any location of Versailles ever again despite the occasional rave I hear now and then. I'm not squeamish about giving places a second try, but the food really was that bad that night. . . not to mention my sister was really mad at me for ruining her last night in L.A. and to this day she still talks about how horrible it was. . .

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: hch_nguyen

                    My experience is the same as far as the seasoning goes... a heap of salt and pucker up on too much lemon. El Rincon Criollo is not far away - it's on Sepulveda, south of Culver Blvd. IMHO, much better, much more quaint, and a better variety of simple but well executed dishes.

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      I have been to El Rincon Criollo twice (would go more often if I lived in that area) and really enjoyed my food there. Although, the only thing I ate there was ropa vieja...but it was really tasty.