The Raymond in Pasadena
I read an ealier post about someone staying at the Ritz and trying to decide which of the on premise restaurants to dine at. Someone mentioned skipping the restaurants at the Ritz taking a short drive to The Raymond instead.
Coincidentally, 4 of us were staying at the Ritz last week and decided to try The Raymond for dinner. What a great place with delicious food, and the service to match.
I had the French Onion soup to start. Loved it!!
Two of us ordered the filet and the other two had the duck. Everyone was in heaven. They have 2 sizes of filet and I got the smaller of the two, and that was perfect size, especially if you order starters. The Silver Oak Cab was also a perfect match for everything we ordered.
The new owners came to the table to introduce themselves and were both very nice. It is good to see the owners be involved at the table level. They asked where we had heard of them and I told them Chowhound. They had never heard of Chowhound before so I explained.
By the way, earlier posts mentioned a good cup of coffee can be found at The Raymond. I can confirm this and allow me to correct that post...a GREAT cup of coffee can be found at The Raymond.
I would recommend this place to anyone looking for a nice dinner in Pasadena. It is not an inexpensive place, so be prepared for that. I think the smaller of the filets is priced at $30 or so, but well worth it.
Have you eaten at the Arroyo Chop House yet? It is on Arroyo, just north of California. Entree prices sound similar to the Raymond. Really nice Craftsman architectural look and a very good wine list. I have never tried the Raymond, yet there appears to be an overlap in price points. Now as to the comparison, hmmmmmmm! I really like the Chop House!
And as an anecdote, the manager of the Ritz Carlton dining room, Jered Hobbins, was formerly the manager at the Chop House.
I live in Silverlake, and ventured out for a WONDERFUL brunch this morning.
I treated my boyfriend to a leisurely Sunday morning meal, and it was top-to-bottom splendid.
Here's the info:
The Raymond Restaurant
http://www.theraymond.com (the website does not do it justice
)1250 South Fair Oaks
I found an ad for The Raymond in the back of an old American Bungalow magazine last week and called to make reservations. The restaurant is in an old Craftsman style home, and they have remained true to the style of the time- the hardwood floors, period wallpaper, simple wood furnishings, cozy atmosphere... I have a warm spot for the Arts and Crafts movement, and they have done a wonderful job keeping the house in beautiful working order. The house was revamped into a restaurant with care, and it was obvious that they worked to retain the Arts and Crafts aesthetic.
My boyfriend and I sat in the front garden under huge umbrellas. The restaurant butts right up to all the traffic of Fair Oaks Blvd., and there is a huge industrial park right next door. Nevertheless, they did a great job of making the outdoor dining feel like its own little world. The garden is really cozy and enjoyable.
The service is all white linen, and the waiters are in white button downs, full aprons, and black slacks. Elegant, but not stuffy. Our hostess greeted us warmly and made sure we were comfortable. Everyone- the bussers, waitstaff, etc.- was low-key and ready to be of service. LA waiters are often more apt to tell you about the screenplay they are working on than the house specials. This used to drive me nuts, but now I pretend I'm in a sitcom about LA when they start in so I don't lose my humor. Not so at the Raymond- everyone was intent on making the dining experience special. I was so appreciative.
The menu is limited: Breakfast breads, egg dishes (a scramble, Eggs Benedict, a lobster omelet), a french toast the looked lovely, mid-day faire like sandwiches, salads, a seafood plate, and a couple of beef dishes- looking down the menu, most everything was tempting. My only gripe was that it would be a challenging place for vegetarian and vegan friends. Being an omnivore, we ordered the Raymond scramble and the breakfast bread sampler to share.
A trio of a fluffy coffee cake with strawberry preserves, a currant scone with lightly sweetened whipped cream, and round little apple fritters with maple syrup. I usually pass on scones because they remind me of a dough brick, but I ate my half of this one and then snuck some off my boyfriend's plate when he wasn't looking.
The Raymond Scramble:
Goat cheese, applewood smoke bacon, avocado, fresh button mushrooms, and egg.
A simple, yummy service. I'm a sucker for a scramble.
During the course of the meal we had FIVE different breads on the table: a crusty ciabatta-like roll when we sat down, our sampler, and then a couple slices of a dark raisin-walnut loaf at the end. Prasie the lord and pass the starch- not for the faint-of-heart.
The latte I got was passable, but not the quality I expected. Their barista let the shots go to long and they came out a little more bitter than I'd like.
Throughout the meal, the service was grand- I waited tables for about four years, and I always strived to be attentive and unobtrusive. The Raymond staff fit the bill. I can't say enough good things about the staff.
There are lots of great breakfast spots throughout our area, but my boyfriend and I used to frequent one and only one- Fatty's in Eagle Rock. They stopped serving breakfast (screw that) and since then we've been without a regular spot. At $45 for breakfast (including a rotund tip) it was a bit rich for my regular budget, but from this time hence The Raymond Restaurant will be our splurge brunch. I forsee a monthly morning trek to Pasadena. We are both choosy foodies, but the all-around experience this morning made believers out of both of us.
Note- this is a take-your-time-and-enjoy dining experience. Plan to spend a a couple hours here. Good place if you want to linger and get romantic, or catch up with a friend.
Suggestion: Go to The Raymond for breakfast, and then go over to Orange Grove and take a tour of the Gamble House http://www.gamblehouse.org. A truly wonderful Pasadena Sunday.
I went to the Raymond for Afternoon Tea - the scone was the only upside to it... their teas were Tazo (a major letdown, since most tea places carry more proprietary blends), and the cakes were really generic, like they came out of a supermarket and just chopped into bite-sized pieces.
That being said, I'm intrigued by their vodka-tasting menu, done in collaboration with Modern Spirits vodkas (LA-based, specialize in eccentric flavored spirits such as celery-peppercorn and grapefruit-honey.) But the ~$90 is a bit steep.
The Raymond's great. But the next time you stay at the Ritz Huntington, I suggest that you also eat in their top restaurant. On several occasions I've had the tasting menu created by young chef Craig Strong, and it has always been superb -- Paul Bocuse meets Alice Waters in the 21st Century. Well, not quite, but very good. In addition to being talented, Strong is a friendly and enthusiastic fellow who often steps out of the kitchen to talk with diners. He's open to suggestions and answers questions candidly. The place is a bit formal but comfortable and, of course, ritzy. It seems to draw its following from people who love good food -- not foodies out to get a time card punched.