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Nov 11, 2004 01:54 PM

Cliff's Edge

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Went to Cliff's Edge last weekend with a small group of friends. The service was a bit disorganized, which is wholly forgivable for a recently opened and immediately busy restaurant. Perhaps the kitchen was also struggling to catch its rhythm that night, because the food was unmemorable. Between the 4 of us, we ordered a fairly wide range of things, but nothing stood out. I'm wondering if the scale of the place isn't too big. The menu isn't extensive or too challenging, which is a good thing, given the size of the restaurant--perhaps the kitchen will become more consistent over time. As Cliff's Edge is in the neighborhood, I took another friend there last night for a drink at the bar. Diners to the left of us were expressing disappointment in their food, and the restaurant wasn't particulary busy, though it had a healthy crowd. Perhaps Cliff's Edge will become a bar for me, just as Cafe Stella has, and maybe a good restaurant will open up in the neighborhood. Blaire's and Alegria still serve the best food in the area.

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  1. Unfortunately, the East side still doesn't have great places. Malo is as bad as the name implies, and the Cobras in Silverlake sucks! It'll happen one day--a good restaurant is bound to open. If any one of these places opened in trendy neighborhoods in NY, they'd go out of business fast. There's so many good places to choose from in NY and Brooklyn that locals won't tolerate mediocrity--they don't have to. It's a different story in LA.

    14 Replies
    1. re: JohnD

      "Unfortunately, the East side still doesn't have great places"

      You need to get out more beyond what you consider "east side", i.e., Silverlake. The east side has outstanding Chinese, Vietnamese, and Mexican that simply leaves NYC in the dust

      1. re: Lola

        Please name those places, because I don't know them.

        I agree with Sara that Alegria is exceptional.

        1. re: JohnD

          Lee Kam Kee
          Golden Deli
          Mr. Baguette
          Phong Dinh
          Gallo's Grill
          Ocean Star
          Sea Harbour
          Mariscos Uruapan
          Mi India Bonita . . .

          1. re: JohnD

            Add Oriental Pearl in Alhambra to the east side list, and it is fairly close by, for some very hot, very flavorful Chinese food. I drive from Sherman Oaks to eat there, as well as many restaurants in Silverlake and Los Feliz as I like the vibe of the area. Blair's, vermont and Alegria are 3 favorites, yet almost every other Mexican restaurant heading downtown is ho-hum at best. Tried to like Conquistador, but finally gave up on it, Chavo is too noisy and dark with ho-hum food, and the campy casita on Hyperion is so sad, and Barragans must be the proto-type for Acapulco.

          2. re: Lola

            I agree. Alegria is awesome. caurosel is also great for armenian.

          3. re: JohnD

            The Malo crack, while facile, is also incorrect. It's not a perfect restaurant by any means, but I had the most amazing carnitas there two months ago.

            1. re: Ted

              I ate at Malo last night and really enjoyed my carne asada -- very tasty piece of meat. Good guacamole, margaritas, and service too. Don't really understand why people knock this place--sounds more like a knee-jerk reaction from those who don't like "trendy" places as a rule.

              1. re: DanaB

                Though Malo's is good for a drink, it is not so hot a tip re: its food because basically every single other Mexican restaurant along the entire strip of Sunset Blvd to downtown where it turns into Caesar Chavez serves more yummy food, also at better prices.

            2. re: JohnD

              East side of what?

              1. re: Chino Wayne

                I think because it is EAST HOLLYWOOD, what a bunch of manure (sp), East of Downtown is East LA. Oh yeah, i forgot the LA TIMES has added Pico-Union to the East LA part of the city, as per their redistricting in yesterdays burrito article.

                1. re: Chino Wayne

                  Seems like the "island" ends at the Los Angeles River. Apparently, all of us beyond the I-5 are actually in Queens.

                2. re: JohnD

                  I think you are being a bit harsh. Malo's habanero cream salsa is incredible, and I had amazing BBQ carnitas last time I was there. A bit overpriced but doable.

                  Cobras is way far from suckage, that's for sure. I've been four times since they opened and every time had an above-average dining experience.

                  Blair's is great, and Edendale is improving nicely.

                  I'm also giving Cliff's Edge another shot...I thoroughly enjoyed their chicken liver/mushroom bruscetta and the steak was melt-in-my-mouth.


                  1. re: Clare K.

                    Salsas are good at Malo--why can't the rest of the food follow suit? The carnitas were ok, but unimpressive.

                    Been to eastside Cobras twice and I maintain that it's crap.

                    No reason for these restaurants to be as bad as they are. I WANT them to be good. I WANT to go to interesting places in the neighborhood.

                    1. re: Clare K.

                      I've been to Cliff's Edge three times now, only once for dinner. Someone here mentioned they had the mushroom and chicken liver bruscetta so I tried that. The bread was soggy. It is difficult to share and/or handle because the mushrooms and chicken livers are piled on so heavily, but they were delicious so we just poked around with a fork. I also had the tuna and potato salad. The tuna was average (but it also was modestly priced); the potato salad was excellent. Warm potatoes and tomatoes in a vinagarette dressing.

                      What this place has on the others recommended/discussed in my mind is its atmosphere and the fact that it is less expensive than all of Blaire's, Stella and Cobras.

                      I have not yet experienced any bad service, but I also have never been there when it was full of customers (i.e. late).

                      Blaire's and Cobras both have good food, but I can't get out of Blaire's for under $100 for two anymore and they don't, unfortunately, serve very good desserts to round out otherwise excellent wine options and starters and sides which I think someone should expect of a restaurant charging higher end (not neighborhood, in my opinion) prices.

                      Cobras, well, I just don't go there anymore because of the crowds and the service I encountered the first few times....maybe it is time to try again.

                  2. My fiance and I went to check out Cliff's Edge last weekend, too and were similarly disappointed. We called ahead, were told the kitchen was open until midnight, were seated before 11, and given dinner menus, only to have the waiter (after having told us the specials and wandering off for 15 minutes) come over and tell us that the kitchen closed at 11, and we would have to order off the late night menu (basically because of his delay).

                    We had an unremarkable order of calamari, a bland white bean veal chili better described as a meat sauce, and a plate of cured meats which was acceptable, with some tasty pickled vegetable.

                    The space is nice- pleasant ambience, and the outdoor area looks like fun. I'm willing to give it another shot, but I'm not holding my breath, and if the service is anything like last time, I won't be dragged back in there.

                    1. ..had dinner at Cliff's Edge for the second time last night. I am pretty sure that will be my last.
                      Perhaps I should have seen the light when I called to make a 7:30pm reservation, and the person on the phone insisted I come at 7:15pm instead. When I arrived, most of tables outside were empty...and although I made my reservation, the host informed my party that they could not seat us outside. Instead, we were placed in the back corner. The food was fine...but not very interesting. Maybe they feel like a big fish in a small pond, as the number of high-end restaurants in Silverlake is still few. However, Blair's is just minutes away, with better service and amazing food.

                      1. I should have read this before going to Cliffside last night! We had a really mundane meal that left us full and completely unsatisfied. The risotto was mushy and salty and the leek tart could have been a frozen swansons dinner it was so soft and gluey. I will never go back there.

                        1. Really? Yucky food? I've had good experiences there lately.
                          I went to Cliffs Edge a while back and had an entirely unremarkable meal, and didn't feel like returning any time soon. But then recently I had occasion to visit the place and was pleasantly surprised, and will return. At my table, we had ginourmous scallops with citrus butter and leeks that was very tasty, a flavorful and very rare filet mignon and some lamb dish, all very good. Maybe I just accidentally got the good stuff, but it was sufficiently good enough for me to go back and take my chances...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: khauser

                            That could be because the post you responded to is from 2004.

                            Nice to have a current update on Cliff's Edge, though.