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May 17, 2008 04:35 PM

Lemonade on Beverly - Anyone Been?

On a blistering hot day, I was craving some tea and was in West Hollywood, so I decided to stop by the Tea Garden on Beverly Blvd. near Doheny. My first clue that something was wrong was the fact that the once lovely patio now had these ugly cheap chairs and tables.

I stumbled through the doors and into one of the ugliest, most charmless restaurant spaces I have ever seen. The Tea Garden is now a cafeteria called "Lemonade." One one side is a cafeteria line with food sitting in metal steam trays, à la a school cafeteria. On the other side is a dessert case. The desserts looked pitiful, but since I was craving tea and a dessert, I decided to get a dessert to go (lemon chiffon cake), and go home and make some tea. The food also looked pitiful, but I can't say as I didn't try any.

I am now home eating the lemon chiffon cake and it is gross - dry and lacking in any flavor whatsoever and with an awful off taste, like they used some kind of cheap shortening instead of butter (but the slice of cake was huge, for those who like huge servings of mediocre food). What can I say - a Hostess cupcake is more delicious than this.

The place was swarming with grade school kids, which seemed appropriate for a place that has the charm and ambiance of a McDonald's.

What's up with this place? Remembering many happy afternoons sipping tea at the Tea Garden, I just feel sad and disgusted how ugly they made this place.

P.S. I know that the Tea Garden moved to the old Elixir space, but I guess I thought they were going to keep both places open. The parking situation at the old Elixir space is bad.

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  1. You didn't try the lemonade at a place called Lemonade? ;-)

    2 Replies
    1. re: JackonCrack

      No, but I'm guessing that the lemonade may be the only thing edible at this place. So now we have a high-priced lemonade stand in the area. I much preferred the high-priced tea shop - at least the ambiance was lovely unlike the ugliness of Lemonade.

      1. re: omotosando

        Hey there-
        I just stopped by on my way to the office thinking I might pick up a salad combo a la Clementine in Century City. As I walked in, one of the servers behind the counter was ending his spiel to two women in front of me. When he finished with them I politely said something to the effect of "sorry, can you run through that again for me?" to wit he replied "you can just order whatever you want" - thanks, I never would have figured that part out on my own.
        To anticipatorily answer JackonCrack, no I didn't try the lemonade either.
        The three salads I did try (curry cauliflower; roast veggies w/ chimichurri; and quinoa with butternut squash) were all ok, but that's just about it, ok. No flavors that made me want to return. I could barely taste the curry in the cauliflower dish at all. And the quinoa was rather tasteless. Just thought I'd let you know in the event you decided to give it another try, for lunch.

    2. I waseaer to try this place and went a few week ago. I ordered the macaroni and cheese to go. I got home and it tasted burnt. I know...weird. It didn't look burnt, but it had that weird burnt taste - like when you burn the bottom of the soup pot and the burnt taste pemeates into the soup. I called them to complain and I have to say they were very nice and offered to replace it, but I frankly didn't feel like going back.

      1. Oh my! It's hard for me to imagine that we are even eating at the same place! Last week I stopped by on my way home and picked up chicken basque, ancho chili pot roast, orzo, mac and cheese and a couple of the most divine lemon meringue pies in the world!

        I raced home, made a big Lola Rosa salad, opened a bottle of great wine, warmed up a baguette and in ten minutes my family was all sitting around the garden table eating the most delicious, fresh and great dinner for a grand total of $ 36.00

        We were a happy group eating well prepared, unusual and delicious food.

        I'm reading these posts and am amazed that we are even describing the same place! The desserts that I tried - lemon meringue pie were so scrumptious I have a hard time driving by without stopping.

        While Lemonade does have a minimalist approach as far as decor and they are just starting to get in their groove and iron out the kinks, this is clearly a place that's really hitting it's mark as a modern and fresh cafe serving quality products.

        Didn't try the lemonade, but for a sandwich on the patio or a combination of really healthy and innovative salads this is the best place to go! The owner told me that they bake all of their own breads fresh daily (the fig and hazelnut is amazing) and that all of the baked goods are also made in house every day.

        Hurray for Lemonade!! We needed a place like this for our neighborhood.

        1. I totally agree with Araminta. I just stumbled upon this place biking around and had THE MOST WONDERFUL lunch in a long time. I understand that many of you miss your old tea place (and I do LOVE a good tea place)... but that said, this place was soooo delicious I feel you're being unreasonable. For lunch I chose three salads: halved cherry tomatoes in a pepper and avacado dressing, rice pilaf with feta and bing cherries and a curried cauliflower with white raisins. I was most looking forward to the cauliflower curry... but the pilaf and the tomato salad KNOCKED MY SOCKS OFF. The cauliflower was tasty... but compared to the other two, it didn't stand a chance. The avacado vinegrette with the perfectly ripened cherry tomato halves made my eyes water it was so good. And the uncooked bing cherries in the pilaf were UNBELIEVABLE. I really enjoyed the food here.

          They do have a few kinks. Like if you order three salads they should give you a nice crusty piece of bread or a roll to go with it. They looked at me when I asked for that like I was at Chili's asking for thai fish sauce. But they did accomodate me with a bit of focaccia bread (it was a little stale :-()

          They also have so many salads and hot dishes that they're willing to give you tastes. I tried the braised red cabbage in apple cider and it was so good I made a promise to buy it for next year's Thanksgiving and tell my jewish parents I made it myself.

          Give this place a chance people!!!! I sat ouside and did some people watching and had a fabulous time!!!!

          3 Replies
          1. re: lawriterguy

            Dear lawriterguy - I want you to know that I go into each new restaurant wanting & hoping to not only like but love it - I love food and am happy to find a new place to support and tell friends about. If I am underwhelmed, so be it, I'm going to let you know that too. This was merely my experience and I'm going to share it with fellow chowhounders.

            You know, I went to a new restaurant last nite that everyone on this board has been raving about and I was sooo excited to be going and, I am sad to say, I was completely underwhelmed both with food and the service. Maybe it was an off nite, sure, it happens. But honestly, if I read some honest reports that included some missteps, maybe my expectations wouldn't have been so high, maybe I wouldn't have been so underwhelmed, I dunno. Heck, maybe I was glazing over any negatives to only see the positives before I went - I'll have to think about that one and adjust myself accordingly.

            I truly do this in the spirit of sharing information about something I truly enjoy.

            1. re: cinzia

              I feel the same as you cinzia... and TOTALLY respect your opinion! We're all in this together... finding good food in Los Angeles! I went back to Lemonade to make a box dinner for the Hollywood Bowl, and they were nice enough to provide a cardboard lunch box. The six salads we had ranged from unremarkable to AMAZING. The zuchini and goat cheese salad defied words. It was that good. The two desserts we had were delicious: the first was a cream-cheese square topped with lemon curd... yummy! The second was a wonderful brownie that I couldn't stop eating! So I'm still enjoying this place... I too just ate at a restaurant recommended on this site and was terrified of finding out it didn't live up to it's name. BUT IT DID. The French restaurant PATIS on Beverly BLEW MY MIND!!! Peace, chowhounders!!!!

              1. re: lawriterguy

                Hey LAWriterguy-
                Good to know about Pastis, thank you! I live not far from there and drive by just about every evening and have always wondered about it. And I drive past Lemonade every morning and have you in the back of my mind making me think that I should give it another go which I shall. So which Bowl show did you go to? I've been to 2 so far and have 3 more this summer - though I usually cook for them, am always looking for new & different ideas. Finally, thanks for your reply - I've had friends run off this site like Frankenstein by the townspeople for speaking their mind about honestly not enjoying something and that just really seems insane to me.

          2. Although I only tried the awful lemon cake and not the main courses, I stand by my description that this has got to be one of the ugliest places in L.A. Even on a budget, they should have been able to make this place less ugly. I immediately had a bad feeling when I walked in the door because of the ambiance. Between that and the truly awful lemon cake, I would just never go back.

            2 Replies
            1. re: omotosando

              The blueberry mint lemonade is great - all of the lemonade flavors are quite sweet, but the mint helps cut that sweetness. I had an ahi tuna salad, which had nice flavors, but it was way too salty (and I am a saltaholic). I impluse-bought what I thought was a lemon macaroon (I specifically asked the sweet but completely clueless server if it was lemon, with lemon curd in the center, and he said yes - it was not). I'm guessing it was vanilla - ok texture, but too sweet and a little boring, and not lemon, which was what I wanted and specifically asked for. I want to like this place, and it is convenient to me, but it just doesn't hold a candle to Joan's on Third (crowds be damned!).

              1. re: omotosando

                it is review like the one above that make me want to run from chowhound screaming. perhaps a more enlightened way to say you don't like the way the restaurant looks is, "the decor wasn't to my taste," because the dismissive way you've called it one of "the ugliest places in LA" is clearly an overstatement and to my mind a bratty way of making your point. while many might find the minimalist style of lemonade a bit too stark for their tastes, from a design point of view, it has a lot going for it; my biggest complaint is the sunshades, cutely decorated with citrus, which shut the place off from the street and aren't very welcoming. when i actually wandered in after weeks and weeks of wanting to, i was charmed by the cute, clever interior. i loved the long line of stainless rectangles full of interesting salads. and the le creuset pots holding stews and meats were a charming foil for the starkness of the steel. for years, i've looked at plastic cafeteria trays thinking they were so great looking someone should do something with them, so was happy to see them lined up as wall art here. yea, yea, tea garden was full of dark woods and stone and for those who like a zen woodsy style, it was nice enough. but original or witty or cutting edge interesting design wise it wasn't. i'd be willing to bet lemonade wasn't done on anywhere near the shoestring you imagine as it looks to me like a good bit of the display space is custom. (the way to save money is just to line up restaurant supply house cabinets, one of the reasons milk, a place where i love the food, makes my design eye roll back into my head.) personally, i can't wait to go back to lemonade and really dig into more of the food than the black bean soup i had yesterday. it was kinda hard to eat, since the spoon they provided was so small, but i loved being there and judging by the thought someone put into the aesthetics of the place, i'm certain i'm going to like the rest of the food a lot.