LOT 1 in Echo Park - another review
went last night and have to say, your experience was ENTIRELY different than my dinner. First off, I know the space is small and intended to be cozy, but the chairs were super uncomfortable and the color palette and harsh lighting didn't express warmth and felt a little makeshift to me - and not in a good way.
The service, albeit nice and sincere, was off the mark too. We had to get additional silverware placements from a nearby table. When we ordered the cheese plate, he quickly plopped down the plate without an explanation of any of the cheeses (we had to ask him back to explain). I know they just opened and have to get their kinks sorted out, but this was basic waiting etiquette 101. Our waiter was very sweet and to be fair, seemed a touch nervous. I can give him a break.
Ok now the food. Now, we started with the forementioned cheese plate, and this was excellent. I really enjoyed the sheep and goat selections and the candied kumquats were a nice sweet companion. Next, we shared the sashimi of yellowtail and the arugula salad. The arugula salad was a joy - fresh, crisp, with a wonderful crispy eggplant and toasted hazelnuts. A glass of pinot grigio or a clean vosip would have been a delicious accompaniment - the salad was a winner. Now the sashimi…this was universally claimed at our table of four as a misstep. The jalapeno sliced atop completely overwhelmed the delicate flavor of the fish. I tasted ONLY the chili and it killed the fish. This was a disappointment.
They brought us popovers with the chimichurri-like sauce too. I guess after having the popovers at BLT Steak, these paled in comparison. They were doughier and oilier than what I'm used to, but the sauce they provided was tasty.
For our entrees we all shared two bowls of the torn pasta with brown butter and fried egg, along with the rib eye with fries and toast with bone marrow on top. Now let me explain - I love pasta. And I love butter. Fried eggs are a dream to me. So this was the plate I was looking forward to the most. It's the plate that makes me dream of Osteria Mozza over and over (that ravioli is to die for). Had this plate been executed properly, all would have been forgiven - but it was not. The texture of the pasta was great, the egg was fresh and beautiful looking, but all this doesn't matter when it's not seasoned properly. No salt - not a pinch. The pecorino was so minute, it immediately disappeared once we dug in and broke the yolk - didn't really get a taste of the cheese at all nor did it provide the salt and bite that it was probably intended to provide. Overall the dish was bland and blah and this was truly the biggest disappointment of the night. All four of us, foodies along with one professional chef, declared this a failure and all agreed that if this had been a success, we all would have gladly returned even with the NO BYOB policy.
The rib eye was fine in my opinion - properly cooked and tasty. The fries were decent but nothing special. The bone marrow toast was cold when we got it, although it was delicious. I really wish it had been warm. At $25, I don't really know if it was worth it. I'd rather have the steak at Comme Ca where the fries are perfect and the garlic aioli is to die for.
On to dessert. We ordered the strawberry and rhubarb "crumble" along with the chocolate mousse with olive oil. Again, I need to express that I love dessert and really am the biggest sweet tooth person on the planet. The crumble wasn't crumble-y. The top crusty part was completely soggy and the strawberry/rhubarb was very watery within. The chocolate mousse was more like a fudge - dense and heavy, although the flavor was rich and complex. I don't think the olive oil added to the dish, rather gave it an herbal slickness that didn't provide any depth.
The bill overall was $138, before tip.
So as you can see, it was a mediocre meal overall. Let me explain that I really loved Centeno's work at Opus and was super excited that he was cooking nearby again ( I still am). Now, will I go back to Lot 1? Although this review was a lukewarm, disappointed one, I'd have to say that yes, only because I'm well aware that it's BRAND NEW and the kitchen is still finding it's voice and personality. However, it would be a good couple of months before I do. I really hope the dishes become more consistent as I really am a fan of his culinary work.
After a similar dinner experience this week - I have to say that I find the menu to be a brilliant concept that was poorly executed on my night.
With that said I do understand and hope that it needs some time to work itself out.
The whole disappointment in my account leads from the lack of seasoning on certain dished and over flavoring of i.e.; the sashimi vs. the jalapeno...
However my biggest disappointment was with the rib eye for that price I expected a little more quality, extremely tough to chew and yes the toast was cold as well.
The desserts were disappointing as well- the crumble totally soggy ... with that said I hope to give it another try in the future when the liquor license gets finalized and I do truly hope that this place sorts itself out and also sorts out the atmosphere (the bright lights lead to a temporary squinting issue).
re: CZ 101
we went on the 3rd day of ops last week?
note to self: bacos only for lunch. menu items changed from pre-opening so there was no John Dory nor pepper encrusted steak. we had the pot roast+ the aqua fesca-ish drink, left and went to get tacos. (btw, the churros truck on the corner of echo park + sunset was fabulous: 5 churros for $3) the prices are completely ridiculous for the area with products not matching cost.
nothing from the apps menu looked interesting (petite romaine hearts with garlic croutons? uhhhh... is sashimi of yellowtail '08's flourless molten chocolate cake?) and the plats lacked depth/value.
for $22/entree, i want nicer paper napkins, the door closed, and some A/C. this isn't a street food in Mexico.
Encurtido - please. Things were paced well and there are such things as palate cleansers. Not liking an entire meal because we started with cheese plates (and it's listed on the starters part of the menu) doesn't sink an entire meal.
Btw, that cheese plate and salad saved the whole experience.
Our party of four was similarly underwhelmed. The torn pasta is not very well executed, and the food overall is fine for a neighborhood place but does not justify their prices.
Also, Lot 1--though this is a minor point--what's up with the super low-rent bathroom, illuminated by 900,000 watts of light?
I'm willing to give the place a second chance in a couple of months or so, because I like the people very much and want this place to get its act together. But it's not there yet.