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Feb 8, 2009 11:12 AM

Anyone on Malibu's newest restaurant Charlies?

We Malibu-ites are sorely missing our beloved Allegria sold recently to become Charlies. It just opened last week and I wandered in. Kinda swanky for the "Bu, but the regular folk with their gaggles of tow head blonde kids keep it real. Gorgeous menu, nice wine list (that includes all the local vineywards of course). I ordered the beef carpaccio with argula and parm. Nice, beautiful meat, crisp fresh arugala,but it fell a little flat without lemon. Was excited about the T Bone steak with my choice (they offer about 5 sauces) of Stilton/Walnut sauce. The steak was lovely, charred to perfection, but was so massive, I could not eat it in 3 sittings. Maybe that's why it donned a $46 price tag (ouch!). The sauce was a terrible miss, in that it lacked even a bit of salty Stilton. Granted, I was comparing it to a shallot stilton sauce I'd had at Monti's in Santa Rosa the week prior; it was just bland to me. The Spaghetti Bolognese, however, was outstanding. Loved every al dente bite. The bleu cheese bread served with butter is a lovely touch. Apparently Charlie is a LA restauranteur who lives in the Bu who is trying her hand at doing business in this toughly seasonal little town. She's delightful and attentive. The modern chandelier in the dining room is gorgeous.

Anyone else been there yet? What did you think? What to eat on my next visit?

RIP Allegria. .....

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  1. It will take me some time to get over the loss of Allegria, and want to go to Charlies. For sure will wait for the kinks to get sorted - without good sauce, I'm not motivated.

    1 Reply
    1. re: yogachik

      LOL...... awww I hear you sista. It is soooooooooo sad. I miss that older Italian waiter with the huge mustache and the Allegria salad with hearts of palm, arugala and avocado parm dressing. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

      We are a provincial bunch aren't we? Now if we can keep Cross Creek from turning into Beverly Hills, it would be great.

      Charlies is worth checking out though, I think I just looking for something that I fell in love with in another restuarnat and expecting it to be the same.

    2. better or worse than terra?

      1 Reply
      1. re: bu dat

        I love Terra. I"m such a sap though, because I miss the quirky and wonderful Lino. That lilttle bar is the best and the patio one of the prettiest spaces in town. The Duck Confit is a knockout as is the risotto (I think it's gorgonzola and truffle). I love how tiny Terra feels like the ultimate neighborhood magic place to me.

        Charlie's menu is much bigger than Terra's and more diverse. She has some beautiful Italian dishes, short ribs, some gorgeous looking fishes. I'm going to go back -- it's really a pretty place.

      2. Whether Allegria was indeed a loss remains to be seen. Personally, I had found the place had grown lazy in the last couple of years, phoning things in, as it were.

        As for Charlie's, run don't walk. To avoid it. I am way over restaurants that incorporate bad acoustics as part of what they offer. The bar is no more than a weigh station. The lounge had a feel I wouldn't equate with a fine-dining restaurant, as the night I was there there were people sprawled on the banquette like lizards.

        As for the food, let's just say its reach exceeds its grasp. Steaks are serviceable, at best, and correct me here, this is supposed to be a steakhouse. The accompaniments are straight out of the Outback Steakhouse menu in taste and imagination. Everything else has the same feel: lacking in ways that tax the mind and palate beyond anything worth the time. On the way out, I heard someone mention the chef used to work at another Malibu sinkhole of a restaurant right around the corner. Given what I remember of that place, it was deja vu all over again, and believe me, that wasn't a good thing.

        The only item worth mentioning was the wine list, which had a few interesting offerings.

        I wanted to like this place. I really did. Malibu is awash in bad-to-mediocre dining, Terra proving the lone exception.

        My kingdom for a great restaurant in this magical place called Malibu!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ms. Savarin

          Yeeah, I hear you. I actually went to Charlie's again. ....trying to like it and had the same mediocre experience. I keep hearing myself say: "it shouldn't be like this!" but it is.

          I do like Terra also. But actually one of my fav restaurants in Malibu is the Sage Room up near Kanan. And Lily's for breakfast burritos just rocks my world on Sundays. And, believe it or not, Geoffrey's has really ponied up recently. Their brunch is really great and I would only go there in the daytime of course for the magical view. I had the paella and their fresh watermelon/mint mojitos are out of this world.

          I tihnk you're being kinda harsh on Malibu eateries! It's not couture, but what about the meatloaf sandwich at Malibu Kitchen! On ciabatta with coleslaw, swiss cheese and 1000 island's just amazing! Of course you need to be patient with the the nutty owners sense of service, but to me, it's all worth it.

          Another thing I love is Howdy's salmon tacos wtih pineapple salsa.

          What about Tra Di Noi? They have (or used to I think) a lemon cream shrimp linguini that was delicate and wonderful. There is a langostino appetizer there that is fantastic; I like it a main dish. The back room is nice and quiet -- a civilzed place in terms of that awesome acoustical nightmare that LA restauranteurs seem to be so fond of (that drives me insane also). Maybe I'm just getting old.........................

          1. re: FoodKitCat

            I absolutely love the breakfast burritos at Lily's! I wish they would bottle their hot and smokey salsa. I would add the lamb sandwiches at Taverna Tony's (lunch only) to your list as well.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. For what they're charging for steaks, they really need to hire both a better chef and order better cuts of meat. They're charging $38 for something that looks and tastes like it came from a Ralphs value pack. Not trying to be a snob here, but if you're charging high end prices, the steak should at least look like it came from Whole Food or Bristol Farms. That said, the drinks were fine and while undistinguished, the salads were perfectly acceptable. Save your money and head to the Outback or hit BOA instead.