Ocean Avenue Seafood -- DineLA Lunch
Walked in today for the DineLA lunch; arrived about 12:20 to a nearly empty restaurant and chose a seat at the bar. Very professional and friendly service from the bartender, Andrew, who made my solo meal much more enjoyable. Started with the clam chowder -- good, lots of chopped clam, potato, and vegies, though not much bacon flavor. Not as creamy as the chowder I recently had at Bonefish Grill in Florida, and needed a lot of pepper which I added, though a drop of the hot sauce I tried was too overwhelming. I should mention the bread -- warm, crunchy crust, real sourdough flavor, and nice butter that wasn't too hard -- I asked and it was from La Brea Bakery. Entree was the salmon -- perfectly grilled as I requested, with a char but still medium-rare, obviously on a hot part of the grill. Good mashed potatoes and two thick nicely cooked asparagus spears. I was worried that the sour cherry pinot sauce might be too sweet, but it was more winey and savory, it was a generous portion, and I really enjoyed it. For dessert I has the chocolate bread pudding. It was warm but not hot enough, not chocolatey enough, and the vanilla and raspberry sauces too timid to provide the needed contrast or boost. The dish benefited greatly from some whipped cream I requested and received. An excellent lunch for $30 including tax and tip, and I'm still not hungry.
My one qualm concerns a problem with DineLA others have mentioned and which I brought to the manager's attention: Shortly after I ordered, a couple (obviously regulars) sat down at the bar near me and had no idea there was a DineLA special until I told them and gave them my special menu. They were grateful The manager later attempted to explain that since DineLA was extended, they were trying to ascertain its success (or some such rationalization) and therefore they didn't give a special menu to everyone. I told him in my opinion, if they were participating they should do so enthusiastically, and that if I were sitting near a party, ordered from the regular choices, and then found out there were specials, I'd be upset.