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Aug 29, 2008 09:35 PM

My lunch at Patina

I am rarely downtown, but after spending 2 1/2 consecutive weeks there for work, I finally made it to Patina.

Except for the bottled water upsell which I hate, the service was perfect - wonderfully solicitous without being overbearing.

My first course salad with parmesan cheese was perfect - perfect lettuce, perfectly dressed, perfect parmesan. One of the best restaurant salads ever.

Main course was Scottish salmon with cous-cous. Good but not earth-shattering.

I specifically asked for the lightest dessert on the menu and got a watermelon concoction that consisted of a few chunks of watermelon, a watermelon gelee, something crunchy in the middle and some basil ice cream. Perhaps not the very best dessert I have ever had, but light as advertised and refreshing.

But what made me really shed tears of joy at Patina was the tea menu. Yes, there is a restaurant in L.A. that really knows tea. Honest to God quality real tea, not gimmicky fruity concoctions. There were 3 or 4 Japanese selections alone. I ordered a sencha, served in a Japanese iron pot. It was perfect. Was $8 and worth every penny. I will return to Patina just because of the tea.

On the negative side, I found the room a bit noisy for a heavy-duty working lunch.

P.S. What is up with the Patina Group? During my sojourn downtown, I ate twice at the Patina Group restaurant at the Music Center. The name of the restaurant escapes me, but the food was really subpar and the menu dull and unimaginative. Why do they want to put their name on such junky fare?

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  1. Kendall's is the restaurant at the Music Center. And, yes, it is awful.

    Glad you enjoyed Patina. I used to lunch at Patina regularly was rarely, if ever, disappointed.

    1. Patina is definitely my favorite lunch downtown. I haven't been to Kendall's, but there is no doubt that "Patina," like "Wolfgang Puck," does not guarantee a good meal.

      1. you forgot to mention that, despite the subpar food and small portion size, the prices at kendall's are high.

        1 Reply
        1. re: westsidegal

          Kendall's is so awful that after eating there twice during a 2 1/2 week trial, we reverted to the prison cafeteria (oops I mean the courthouse cafeteria). The prison (oops courthouse) food was the worst I have had in my life, but Kendall's at six times the price was only marginally better.

        2. "Why do they want to put their name on such junky fare?"

          Patina group monopolizes food services for all public venues downtown.
          It's the "M" word ( like in "mafia" ).

          1. Because most think of the Patina Group restaurants as 'gourmet' fare and it's more well known. They've also got the concert halls market cornered.

            Many years ago when I didn't know any better we went to a few Pinots, and Patina. It's not bad, but rather uninspiring food for what you pay for.

            Craft also serves good quality loose leaf tea in individual pots.

            1 Reply
            1. re: notmartha

              I adore Craft and I appreciate that they serve loose leaf tea, but I think the tea menu at Patina is superior, with better quality tea and more interesting choices.