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KQED Check Please 5/22/09: Joe's of Westlake (Daly City); La Mediteranee (Berkeley); Roy's Restaurant (SF)

Saw the KQED Check Please episode Fri 5/22/09. I'll skip Joe's of Westlake; I'd like to read more recent reports of La Mediteranee (Berkeley) and Roy's Restaurant (SF).

KQED Check Please to watch & read reviews:
http://blogs.kqed.org/food/2009/05/22...

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La Mediterranee
2936 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

Roy's Hawaiian Fusion
575 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105

Joe's of Westlake
11 Glenwood Ave, Daly City, CA 94015

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  1. Heh, there's a bonus restroom report in one of the CP reviews.

    What I was surprised about was hearing they have some Lebanese and Armenian food on the menu at La Mediterranee.

    Lebanese tomato salad
    Armenian potato salad
    Lebanese kibbeh
    Chicken or lamb Lule
    Aremenian sausage (breakfast)
    Lebanese mamounia (breakfast)
    Lebanese Foule (brunch)
    Almaza beer from Lebanon

    Anyone tried them? Anything else on the menu that is Armenian or Lebanese?

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    La Mediterranee
    2936 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

    1. Personally, I don't understand the hoopla about La Med. I've always found it to be only mediocre (another meaning for "med"?), both in Berkeley and in SF. Food not so flavorful as it could be, nor as subtle in the flavoring. For example, the fesijun seemed rather bland, chicken relatively tough; feta cheeses way too dry and sour for my taste.... To me, it is to Middle-Eastern food what most "Mexican" eateries in suburban Indiana are to *real* Mexican food -- bland (not just/necessarily in taste, but also in style and selection and creativity), pastey, and stereotyped. Okay college-town versions for those who don't know from the real thing, but a big disappointment to many of us who do.

      Apologies to those who like La Med. For what it's worth, although I love (!) more authentic Chinese food, I've also found that as I get older, I also have re-found my fondness for so-called sweet 'n sour chicken (thought never had an affinity for chow mein or chop suey...).

      5 Replies
      1. re: chowwow

        I had Berkeley La Med's food at a catered party a couple months ago. People were raving, but I found it uniformly poorly executed, underseasoned, and overcooked.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          That's how I've always found it. I find it hard to believe that the Elmwood branch is so busy given that Holy Land a block away makes much better versions of many of the same dishes.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            I completely agree. I've lived in the neighb for many years and feel that the only thing going for it is the outdoor seating under the heat lamps. Otherwise, the food is mediocre, tasteless and often overcooked.

          2. re: chowwow

            >Okay college-town versions for those who don't know from the real thing
            >
            agree, not that i am an expert on "the real thing" int his case.

            1. re: chowwow

              To me, it is to Middle-Eastern food what most "Mexican" eateries in suburban Indiana are to *real* Mexican food -- bland (not just/necessarily in taste, but also in style and selection and creativity), pastey, and stereotyped

              Right now there is a serious influx of hispanics into Indiana, Ohio and KY.... so that comment is based on a knowledge that doesn't exist. As an expat Californian living in Louisville, KY I can tell you there are a good number of Mexican places in Indiana due to the large population of Hispanics living there due to employment opportunities. Unless you are living in Indiana and know what your talking about, I would suggest you come on over and we'll show you some Mexican food.

              http://www.larositagrill.com/more.htm

            2. I have been going to the La Med on Fillmore in SF for years and I've always ordered the same thing, the big mezze plate with hummous, baba g, tabouli, doulmas (really good), feta, olives etc. Always delicious, but I've never ordered anything else. Never been tempted by plates on other tables.

              1. I was thinking...maybe the Berkeley outpost was better than the one in my neighborhood (16th in the Duboce Triangle.....)? Because I have only had very subpar food here....old 'soft' filo wrapped 'stuff' ...stringy chicken, unbalanced avoglemono soup.. stale flat cardboard pita, dreary surroundings... altogether very negative experiences....

                Went into my 'time machine' yesterday and went to Westlake Joes..(love the corned beef and cabbage thursdays) and had a very good veal parmagiana with a piquant tomato sauce.....the meat isn't always cooked as well as it was on this day....the pasta was acceptable, but forgettable...the bread is good...the waiters are efficient not particularly pleasant..but the ambiance is strictly 'Mid-Century' modern (so are the people! me included) Definitely not a good place for a vegetarian ..my friend had the Filet mignon which was huge and rare as ordered, cooked over hardwood (the smoke infused the meat) also a side of spinach with extra garlic...good, but I still prefer Chinese vegetables...

                1 Reply
                1. re: ChowFun_derek

                  Add me to the people who find La Med indifferent. I kept hoping to like it but I found the food uninspired.

                2. Finally caught a show. Wow, are they always this positive (except for the veg and Joe's) -- the photography made us want to rush out to all three restaurants! Guess it's doing the job.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Sarah

                    That was a nice episode - she did a good job with the three disparate participants.

                    1. re: Sarah

                      I would say that that is probably as controversial as it gets. I don't think anyone has just completed disapproved of a place. Of course I am sure that KQED and/or the host has a pretty good idea that a restaurant is OK and generally appealing before it gets selected to be on a show.

                      Has anyone here ever applied to be on the show?

                      BTW, the link in the original post has video clips of all the past episodes, so you can check those out, especially if they feature a place you are particularly interested in.

                      I agree that the food photography that accompanies the discussion is very well done.

                      1. re: pamf

                        There are some people who get into it and restaurants with thumbs down.

                        One Chowhound poster was on the show in the first season. The post about it was removed because if the mean attacks and the fact that one of the people on the show was a bit unhappy about what was said.

                        1. re: pamf

                          I have some skepticism when vegetarians or vegans are selected to evaluate places like Joe's of Westlake.

                            1. re: OldTimer

                              Yeah, the Check Please format can break down pretty seriously when they mix omnivores and vegetarians. They should do occasional all-vegetarian shows instead.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                That's the perfect fix and seems easy enough to implement...

                        2. Joe's of Westlake is probably the worst restaurant I have eaten at in the Bay Area. Neither I, nor my wife or son, could finish their meal. The meat was badly cooked and not particularly good cuts.

                          On the show, the real indicator is how much they talk about everything but food at this place.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: realspear

                            So true!

                            Often I'll hear the name of a restaurant (like Crogan's in Montclair) and this is my thought process:

                            Has it been talked up on Chowhound? If "no" then often:

                            Person has been going here for 20+ years and loves the people there (no mention of the food), person loves "the vibe", or person loves the view.

                            As for Le Med, I haven't been there in 5 years, but I always really liked the Pomegranate Chicken and Chicken Cilicia. Never got anything else really so can't vouch for the rest.