DineLA Summer 2013 (7/15-26)
Couldn't sleep last night and was bored today, so I came up with this... http://oheithere.wordpress.com/2013/0...
I’m not the biggest fan of dineLA in general – dumbed-down menus, overcrowded dining rooms, diluted experiences – all for nominal savings. However, if you dig deep and do your research, there’s plenty of gold to be found. Again, the prix fixe menus are in 3 tiers, depending on the participating restaurant: $15, $20, or $25 at lunch, and $25, $35, or $45 at dinner (I like these price points much more than the $16/$20/$24 and $24/$36/$48 ones from a year(?) ago). Here are some of the menus/deals that had me saying “O Hei There!” along with what I’d order, estimated savings of the things I’d order, and some comments (the promotions run from 7/15-7/26):
- crispy pee wee potatoes
- real vanilla cream soda
- gooey chocolate chip cookie
Estimated Savings: $3.75
Notes: Fundamental LA is one of my go-to lunch spots, so saving even a couple of dollars is extra incentive for me to go. The BLT is my favorite sandwich of the ones I’ve tried so far in 2013 in LA, but you can’t go wrong with any of the other options like the mainstay chicken torta and the pork banh mi (very comparable to Mendocino Farms’ version). Basically, for a couple of bucks more than my usual order (or for free even if I’m ordering a different sandwich), I get a full order of the pee wee potatoes (it’s a side, but you get a big plate of them, and they’re quite good), and a cookie.
- grilled portabello mushroom
- s.o. reuben
- nancy’s chocolate chip cookie
Estimated Savings: $8.50
Notes: The signature burgers are not part of the dineLA menus at Short Order, but the reuben that’s usually available in limited quantities is (along with the other sandwiches on their menu). Add some grilled veggies on the side and a cookie, and this is the best deal at the $15 price point during this period of dineLA promotions. Plus, Nancy Silverton is a national treasure. Not sure if I want to deal with the Farmer’s Market/The Grove crowds, but this deal will certainly alleviate the headache.
- p.b.a.t. sandwich
- brussel sprouts
- fresh fruit limeade
- lime panna cotta
Estimated Savings: $4
Notes: Assuming you don’t get just the 2 cheapest tacos as your main option, you’re bound to save at least a couple of dollars. I’ve actually never been to TLT Food, but everyone I know who’s been there has sang its praises. Sure, Asian-Latin fusion fast-casual has been done to death now, but TLT (from the people who brought you The Lime Truck in OC) seems to be doing it right, taking a lighter and more refreshing approach. However, that pork belly sandwich (along with the carnitas fries) has my name written all over it.
Lazy Ox Canteen
- pigs ear chicharrones
- lazy ox burger
- rice pudding
Estimated Savings: $13
Notes: Lazy Ox’s website currently doesn’t have any prices, so the savings are based on the menu from the Centeno days (which could mean you might save even more now). Chefs Centeno and Rocher no long helm the kitchen, and the restaurant has decided to keep humming without an exec chef by continuing to churn out the signature dishes from those days, the 3 most popular ones being on the dineLA menu. I actually haven’t been since the first chef shuffle, but I’m sure most of the food is still good. If those 3 dishes above are close to what I remember, then this menu is a STEAL.
- lobster tartare
- arroz con mariscos
- tres leches cake
Estimated Savings: $10+
Notes: While Mo-Chica is no longer the commoner it once was while located in Mercado La Paloma, it’s still the most affordable one of Chef Zarate’s Peruvian triforce in LA. While they do have lunch specials, the options at lunch for dineLA comprise of some dinner items, as well as select dishes from the other Zarate restaurants (something I see at the 2 other locations as well). I’m kind of surprised there isn’t a supplement charge for the lobster tartare (unless it’s a minuscule amount), but even the cheapest options should yield a few dollars saved.
- grilled pork meatballs
- crispy pork belly porcetto
- cannolo siciliano
Estimated Savings: $12
Notes: I’ve been to Sotto once. It was good, but I wasn’t exactly head-over-heals in love with the regional Italian dishes and the Neapolitan pizzas. Still, I vowed to return eventually – but I’ve failed to do so despite the restaurant being a mile from my work. Normally, I wouldn’t consider the restaurant for lunch (since it would most likely be >$20), but the porcetto sandwich is only available during lunch. And for basically an extra $6, you get the pork meatballs app that I’ve read great things about AND a cannoli which I really liked from my lone dinner. It’s time to go back.
- albacore ceviche
- pacu ribs
- chocolate tart
Estimated Savings: $6
Notes: The estimated savings above is only true until 2:30pm – Paiche has a “happy hour” promotion from 2:30-5pm, where the entire bill is 20%. So if you go after 2:30pm, you’re probably breaking even. But at that time, it’s not truly lunch, is it? Anyways, I’ve been to Paiche a couple of times since its recent opening, and I’ve come away impressed each time. It’s arguably the most ambitious of Chef Zarate’s 3 restaurants, and for the most part it’s seafood-focused. Things will only get better from here on, and dineLA is a great time to give it a shot.
- piquillos rellenos, chorizo, golden raisins, gruyere
- braised kurobuta short ribs, poblano mashed potatoes
- olive oil cake, creme fraiche, strawberry sorbet
Estimated Savings: $9
Notes: By far the most progressive and ambitious Latin American restaurant in LA, Rivera always gave the impression that it was a bit too sophisticated and sexy for the likes of me. But the dineLA menu is a great way to approach Rivera for the first time, seeing how all the items are menu mainstays. At lunch, you can save up to $9 – use some of that money saved on an acclaimed cocktail (unless you have to go back to work after). DTLA workers should run, not walk, here during the promotions.
- farro & kabocha squash salad w/ sage pesto & truffle cheese
- market fish w/ parsnip puree, celery leaf salad & pomegranate
- rocky road chocolate sundae
Estimated Savings: $15+
Notes: I’ve also been to Tavern once. Like with Sotto, it was solid – nothing more, nothing less. Dishes were well-executed with quality ingredients, but just seemed…kind of boring. I would describe the restaurant’s food as a dumb blonde version of the food from Lucques/AOC (since Tavern is also in the Goin/Styne family). But for food of this quality, saving over $15 at lunch is a pretty big deal (the market fish dish is probably $20 by itself – a version of it is $29 at dinner). And it’s within walking distance of my apartment, so definitely worth a try for me at least.
Freddy Smalls Bar + Kitchen
- chicken liver mousse on toast
- grilled steak panzanella
- white chocolate namelaka
Estimated Savings: $15
Notes: Is this menu really $25? Using the regular menu as a base, the chicken panzanella is $28 and the rocky road namelaka is $8. I will assume that the steak and white chocolate versions are of similar size and value. So yeah, this is a STEAL. The menu is fairly set – the only real choice is between the buffalo deviled egg or the chicken liver mousse on toast, which are both $4 each. Despite living and working fairly nearby, I still haven’t made it to Freddy Smalls yet. But my friends really like it, and a restaurant like this that opens until 2am is always welcome in West LA.
- hawaiian butterfish
- tea leaf salad
- maryland soft shell crab (+$5
)Estimated Savings: $4
Notes: Most people consider Lukshon’s cuisine as Asian Fusion, but in reality it’s more of a survey course highlighting different SE Asian cuisines that are executed with fine-dining precision. The optimal lineup above is only if you’re going solo - I’d highly recommend the beef & broccoli if there’s at least 2 people (its $10 extra, though since it’s for 2 people consider it +$5). You’d do plenty well (and save around the same amount of $) without the soft shell crab or beef & broccoli though. Plus, it’s by far the sexiest restaurant at this price point, so first dates are welcome.
Post & Beam
- deviled eggs with house smoked catfish
- fried chicken thighs with black-eyed peas and greens
- sweet potato pie
Estimated Savings: $5+
Notes: I’m a big fan of Southern food, especially fried chicken, so Post & Beam is actually pretty high on my to-try list. The restaurant offers classic Southern fare executed in a more refined format and setting, although it’s still located in South LA. But who says that people there don’t deserve sophisticated food, which is something I believe Post & Beam does do. It’s a bit hard to gauge actual savings, but assuming the fried chicken is similarly priced as the cast iron chicken, a savings of $5 is as good of a guess as any.
- peek gai hey-ha
- koi tuna
- khao soi haw
Estimated Savings: N/A
Notes: You’re probably not saving any money here, but there’s a reason I recommend Night+Market time after time during dineLA promotions: it’s the only participating restaurant that tries to do something different and new, instead of just providing the same menu for less or trotting out bottom-feeding dishes. It’s kind of like Chef Kris’ test kitchen period, and a few dishes do eventually make their way from dineLA menus to the occasional daily specials. But you don’t want to be the one who missed out on never-to-be-seen-again dishes like goong ten (think Thai shrimp aguachile).
The Spice Table
- kaya toast
- raw yellowtail
- duck rice
- kaffir lime custard
Estimated Savings: $8
Notes: I’ve been to The Spice Table once, around their 1-year anniversary. Like with Sotto, I liked the food, but not as much as most people in LA, who’ve sung praises of the restaurant. But since then, the praises have only gotten louder, and the new dishes look even more delicious. This is the type of restaurant, like Night+Market, I strive to support, because it’s true to its cuisine, it’s approachable, and most importantly, it’s fun to eat there. Also, I should probably get my next visit in now, because who knows when it’s going to come back after MTA forces the restaurant to move.
Waterloo & City
- housemade mortadella, quail egg in jelly, “grilled cheese”
- pan roast of beef, short rib spring roll, celery root flan, coleman’s hollandaise
- sticky toffee pudding, vanilla ice cream
Estimated Savings: $10+
Notes: Waterloo & City continues to be one of the most underrated restaurants in LA in my opinion, and one of my favorites. The food is always great, the charcuterie is the best in the city, the happy hour menu is extensive and affordable, and the dineLA menu is always one of the best deals. While no chicken liver mousse on this menu, there’s still a charcuterie option in the mortadella, which I believe is new. Add a great entree and the always-dependable sticky toffee pudding to that, and it’s a great meal at over $10 off.
Fogo de Chao
Optimal Lineup: your starting 5 is playing the entire game – same set menu as regular dinner
Estimated Savings: $13.50
Notes: My usual choice during dineLA week. You’re saving $13.50 (or $10.50 at lunch) for EXACTLY the same meal as you would get without the promotion. That means AYCE of over a dozen varieties of Brazilian BBQ meats, and unlimited access of the extensive salad bar – enough said. Just be aware that everyone else is in on the game as well – you might be forced to wait up to an hour past your reservation time due to all the young people feasting at the finest and most glorious meal of their lives.
Lawry’s The Prime Rib
- the famous original spinning bowl salad
- special 8 oz. cut of our signature roasted prime ribs of beef and broiled nova scotia lobster tail
Estimated Savings: $14
Notes: Like with Fogo de Chao, Lawry’s is a mainstay at dineLA, offering basically their regular offering at a significantly discounted price (I mean, who’s going to go to Lawry’s to eat salmon, right?). I’ll assume the 8 oz. cut is similar in size and price to the California cut (the cheapest and smallest offering), which is $37. Add a $14 lobster tail to it, and what a deal this is. Dessert is fairly standard here, but it is usually $8 on the menu, so consider it free. I just wished there was a supplement option to increase the size of the cut, but that’s because I’m a fatass.
- cucumber and cherry tomato salad with burrata, purslane and zhong
- duck confit with haricot verts, barbara’s greens and bing cherry compote
- chocolate-hazelnut napoleon with fleur de sel and coffee ice cream
Estimated Savings: $18
Notes: Wow. I didn’t realize how much you can save during dineLA promotions at Lucques until I took a closer look. That cucumber and cherry tomato salad? $17 on the dinner menu. The duck confit? $34. Desserts are $12 each. Enough said. None of these dishes are throwaways either – all of them are on the regular dinner menu. Lucques is the crown jewel of the Goin/Styne empire, and rightfully so, as it’s one of the most-acclaimed restaurants in LA, and well-known around the nation – basically the champion of farm-to-table cuisine in the city. I need to go to there.
So there you have it, 3 choices per price point for a total of 18 options selected by yours truly, and there are other good options as well, despite what I say about dineLA in general usually. Maybe I’ll see some of you at one of the participating restaurants, starting Monday.
How about this for a value:
Dhinois on Main for lunch --
Chicken salad vs. Chinese Chicken salad from the lunch menu $13.50.
Beef medallion dish vs. Szechwan beef from the lunch menu $29.25.
dessert has to be $7 or more.
around $50 for $25, and in my experience portions are regular or close to normal.
my last two trips to Chinois for DineLA lunches were within the past year-plus. both times were excellent. if their chinese chicken salad wasn't regular sized, it was sure close. the sliced beef in szechwan sauce wasn't filet, but it was flank steak or similar and quite plentiful and delicious. and another reason i like Chinois is the fine service, and my ordering from the DineLA menu didn't diminish it a bit.
so i plan to hit them for lunch this cycle again, and Fogo de Chao is in my plans, too.
Great post. I wasn't gonna do dineLA much this time around but your recs are all really tempting!
To spend those kinds of dollars for lunch, and to get what the various lunch specials are being offered, no thanks.
As to dinner, Lucques is about the only one I would really enjoy.
Made my reservation for Lucques this week. I thought that the choices offered for each course were outstanding.
I had to chuckle at your Post & Beam comment. I live in Baldwin Hills Estates on the hill up above P & B. Good to know we deserve sophisticated food :) Sadly it's true that there are not many higher end places within minutes.
Anyhow, I have been to Chinois twice for DineLA. Unfortunately of the 15 times I've been, and generally loved it, the two DLA visits were two of the worst three meals.
I can reccomend Piccolo as a good dinner choice. I went last night with a Blackboard code and the DinelA menu is the same. $45 dinner with five small courses, four savory and a dessert. We supplemented in an additional course of the menu. There are choices in all of the courses but one. It was all pretty darned good. Piccolo is pretty pricey so this is a great chance to try it, and in a bit more extensive fashion than most of the other DLA menus.
Yes there were some summer truffle shavings on the fontina pasta. Not sure if that will be standard for DLA.
From your description, it sounds like you like Lucques a tad more than I do, as do quite a few people. If been to each a number of times, Lucques more. I actually think the two are similar in a comparison of cost and value. Lucques is very good. At times I find the cuisine a bit simple, but tasty. The dinela menu is an example for MY OWN preferences. I'd rather not have a veggie first. If I want tomatoes and burrata, I'll make it myself from garden tomatoes and Gioia burrata. Contrast that to Piccolo's first of venison carpaccio with an emulsion. I'm not making that at home, I love confit, and don't make that at home, but it's a dish done at a lot of places. I just would not opt to pay $34 for it. Fwiw, I find the food at Tavern similar. It is simple, but at times the meats are heavy.
I am also a tasting menu lover. I prefer the five courses, though as I said we threw in a sixth. I like to pair wine so there were a couple of things for a bubbly and a couple for a burg.
Lucques is a fine choice. I did the DLA two years back. It was good. I think choosing between the two comes down to preference and the style of Italian with small courses at Piccolo floats my boat. At the same time the portions are small, the tarrif high, and the staff (while really top-quality) is a bit "tight",
Thanks btw for the leg-work, I love to tote a nice bottle of wine to Lawry's for some beast. Seeing that they're giving the Lobsta too, make it a go for me.
re: john gonzales
Completely understand your point of view, and usually I'd be on your side here (since I'm not exactly the type of diner that seeks out farm-to-table cuisine - I'm a (horizontally) growing boy who devours meat), However, I'm also not the type of diner who goes out of the way for fine-dining Italian. But like you said, it's just a issue of preference. And even though I like to criticize menus of the majority of participants of dineLA, I think the diners in town are fortunate to have so many options. There has to be something for everyone, even the staunchest of critics.
FWIW, Lawry's wrote on my blog saying that you can "upgrade" the cuts for dineLA menu at a supplemental charge.
Good, because I'm with you on the meat thing. I have never been to Lawry's without having at least a Diamond Jim Brady cut. I'll add that I've been more than 25 times. One time I went and they strangely siad that I could not have a DJB, because they were low on meat. I then ordered two Lawry's cuts, largely to call their bluff. The manager came over and after a discussion relented to give me a DJB. Then when he passed by later and saw the small DJB they had given me, comped us a bunch of stuff. The Lobster additon causes an issue as eating it and a DJB would be tough.
I'm with you on the personal preference. I like creative/modern Italian. I have zero interest in old-school casual Italian. My wife is Italian so I can get plenty of that at home.
Btw, if anyone DOES go to Piccolo and they have such preference, be sure to specify your meat (duck and Kobe-styled beef which were both tasty) cooked less than the norm. Otherwise expect both on the heavy-medium side as they defer to that.
The winelist at Piccolo was pretty punishing as well. I will say though, that the stems are really nice and the wine service is really good. They also didn't have a bottle of the Gardet NV we ordered at $80 so gave us a bottle of the $125 Henriot at the same price.
On the "exciting" point there are times when I find someplace like Lucques mundane and places like Bazzar gimicky, at least in some of the offerings. I can totally see why some would like both, and my own sweetspot is for finest of dining is somewhere in between. I guess that's why I really like Providence.
re: john gonzales
Completely agree with you regarding Bazaar. It's fun the first 3 times then quickly wears off. Exciting doesn't need to be cutting edge stuff. Simple Southern italian cuisine done right can be exciting especially since we are lacking that here in LA. Exciting to me is more something unique that everyone else in town isn't doing just as well or better. I find molecular gastronomy very unexciting.
I'm also a fan of Providence even if the menu doesn't change much. These days I tend to construct my own tasting menu with the a la carte choices.
Back to DineLA. I usually avoid DineLA, but we have plans to go to Patina. Menu looks decent, but the real reason is that there are some relative "deals" on the high end/aged spectrum of the wine list.
Please ask for a Southern Wine off the list. It'll put a coin in the Gonzales coffers as my wife sells to them.
I'm just kidding of course. It doesn't matter.
I have always liked Patina. I agree that perhaps it is not what it was in the Melrose days and it is pricey. But in line with my love of larger quiet rooms and good service, it fits the bill. They also have really good cheese. It's rarely publicized or talked about but Patina quite often runs tasting menu specials.
Speaking of southern Italian, though a bit commercial, Terroni is having there soft opening downtown.
Back to the mo gastro, I think sometimes it can be very good. Doin dumb things like spherifying a big glob of olive oil (Bazzar) is just a showy throw-away use. But some people use it while still using flavorful ingredient combos that taste good. I'm going to Chicago in a couple of weeks and debating a visit to Curtis Duffy's Grace. He did some really good modern stuff at Avenues.
re: john gonzales
When I ate at Piccolo (Venice) I brought a bottle of Barolo from home. The corkage was reasonable and even better, the waiter treated us like GOLD because he was so impressed that I drank Barolo! Seriously, I was being cheap by bringing wine but inversely got the white glove treatment :) Little did he know that it was a super value at $20! (Essenze that occasionally pops up at K&L, they mention in their newsletter when it comes up and it then it sells out that day usually). I'm going to test this trick in other restaurants.
thanx for the helpful post! :> i would say one key thing not factored in your savings is:
*** DineLA portions are usually *smaller* than the original menu versions. :<
this isnt always true, but for the last 4 times i did DineLA, the portions were definitely smaller than the same dishes i had when not doing DineLA. So it's less savings than you make it out to be (for some of the restaurants).
but still a great list! thanx! :>
LIttlefork was good, not amazing, but solid. I had a pork belly ap which was very generous in size, and tasted good. For the main I had a garlicky monkfish on potato puree with spinach. It was an exact replica of the dish that used to be a signature at the now closed Fraiche in Culver. It wasn't as good as Fraiche's, but it was still good. The peach shortcake dessert was very good, though not that sweet, and too small! :) The service was excellent and atmosphere nice.
Thank you for taking the time, chrishei. The lobster tail at Lawry's is the best I have ever had. The DineLA menu is a great deal there.
Went to Sotto for lunch today: http://oheithere.wordpress.com/2013/0...
For my first dineLA meal of the Summer 2013 period, I chose one of my $20 lunch choices - Sotto. The restaurant is only 1.5 miles from my work, and their dineLA lunch menu (as well as their regular lunch menu) has the crispy pork belly porcetto sandwich that isn’t on the dinner menus. As I previously mentioned in the dineLA picks post, the optimal lineup I went with (grilled pork meatballs, crispy pork belly porcetto, cannolo siciliano) netted me a savings of $12, and can save a diner up to $14 if one chooses the rigatoni as the 2nd course – great deal.
I’ve heard very good things about the grilled pork meatballs, and very polarizing opinions about the porcetto, and for the most part, those sentiments were right on. The meatballs were juicy and flavorful, with a slight char that didn’t compromise their soft consistency. The bed of bitter greens, peas, sieved egg, and pecorino cheese was actually just as good as the meatballs, to my surprise – countered the meat well. I actually really hate peas for the most part, but they were just fine here.
The sandwich, which I was really looking forward to, was solid, but a slight letdown. It’s not so much porcetto/a (or pork belly) as it is pork belly chips, almost chicharron-esque – the meat was completely fried. One reason I love all things pork belly, particularly the crispy variations, is that the meat usually has both the crispy exterior from the skin AND the softness from the meat and fat. The thin slices in this variation were a bit one-note for me. The sandwich, however thin it was, was at least huge from a wideness perspective, and the bread was nicely grilled.
Of the 3 dishes I had for lunch, the cannolo was the one I’ve had from my previous visit. It was actually one of the highlights of that dinner, and it proved to be the best part of this lunch as well. I’m no expert on cannoli, but I really like eating them on the rare occasions I have them here in LA. Sotto’s version, in my opinion, is the best the city has to offer. Creamy ricotta filling, great pistachio flavor, right amount of sweetness from the touch of marmalade – just an amazing dessert. I asked for a fork to try to look civilized in eating it, but ended up just wolfing it down by hand.
This was a great meal by dineLA standards, in that you save a significant amount compared to ordering the same items off the regular menu, and portions and service weren’t compromised by the promotions period. By the time I left the restaurant, it was probably half-full. Most of the diners actually made reservations, but that doesn’t seem to be necessary at lunchtime. While the sandwich wasn’t as I hoped, the other 2 dishes were very good, and I still recommend the dineLA lunch menu – just order the pizza or rigatoni instead. Also, lunch only Wed-Fri.
I had lunch at Sotto today. I had never gone before, but had been wanting to try it for awhile.
I had not seen your review, but lucked out by ordering the meatballs and rigatoni. The meatballs were spectacular and I loved the rigatoni. As someone who adores chicken liver, the combination of the chicken liver and mushrooms in the sauce gave a very earthy, unctuous flavor that was just great. My friend had the sandwich and liked the porcetto, though she thought there was too much bread. We both enjoyed the cannolo, but I was too stuffed to eat more than half of mine.
It was a great value for only $20.
Just to chime in. My GF and I tried Night + Market for the first time last night with another couple and left absolutely stuffed. We tried one of everything with the added starter of pig tails and finished with the ice cream sandwich. Standouts were the chicken wings and khao soi. The wings were especially a hit being all manner of sweet, smokey, salty, and spicy. Great beer food. The one miss amongst my group was the tuna dish. It was a bit mushy and lacked any discernable flavor.
I think they do themselves no favors by calling it a "ceviche" - it's more of a tartare. I really like it though. But glad you guys enjoyed the dinner there - good job adding the pig tails + ice cream sammie too (2 of my absolute faves there). I'm definitely going next week.
Wonderful meal at Lucques tonight. There was not a separate DINE LA Menu. The regular menu was offered and the dishes which were part of Dine LA were noted with an asterisks. I thought that was a pretty classy move on their part.
There was a choice of three starters: I chose a lovely, very fresh green salad with avocado, grapefruit and dressed perfectly with Green Goddess. My husband had the tomato, cucumber burratta salad.. My description can not possibly do this beautiful bit of summer any justice.
He chose the sort-of vegetarian option as his main. Loved the flavors of the eggplant, peppers, anchovies, etc. This is Suzanne Goin's cooking. She takes those Mediterranean flavors and just makes them all work together.
I had the Duck Confit. Wonderful!! Served with Bing Cherry compote, figs, haricot verts. OMG, it was so fabulous and not too fatty.
I opted for the sorbet dessert and my husband had that decadent chocolate-hazelnut napoleon with fleur de sel and coffee ice cream.
Incredible value. Our dinners were $45.00 pp. Add 2 cocktails and 1 beer. Total (I think, was around $125.00 before tip). The service was outstanding. Cocktails delicious. Certainly, there was no way these portions were any smaller than what is normal. These were all on-menu items. I would now happily pay full price for any of those dishes.
Tonight we went to Tavern and had another great Dine LA Experience. Caveat Emptor: The menu was different than what I saw online. Yet, I preferred the newer menu. The starters were different. The starters were a choice of a corn chowder with avocado creme, a salad with heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, feta and mint and there was another (which I can't remember). My husband's corn soup was incredible. It was the essence of summer corn. My watermelon salad also praised the gods of summer in that wonderful combination of the most beautiful Cherokee Heirlooms, etc.
We both had the fish entree. It was New Zealand Snapper. It had a wonderful grilled smokey taste on the outside and juicy on the inside. Served with bright, beautiful vegetables.
Dessert: My husband had some kind of Rocky Road Sundae which includes about 3 scoops of ice cream, marshmallows, chocolate sauce and other decadent items. Oh my, he was a happy guy. I opted for the olive oil cake with fresh berries. His dessert was definitely more exciting:)
All in all, kudos to Lucques and Tavern for offering and delivering the 2 best Dine LA meals I have ever had.
I consider Hungry Cat a Lentz restaurant. I do admire Suzanne Goin's approach to food. The flavors I most love are the ones she uses in a very creative way. I am not sure what you mean by the term "straight forward" in describing Lucques and AOC. I find the food to always be fresh, beautifully prepared, and full of the flavors which I find most appealing. So, I am a great fan of Lucques and AOC. They serve food I like to eat; always fresh and delicious.
I agree it's tasty, but to me straight forward cal-med cuisine. There are so many places serving fresh and delicious food they don't stand out enough to be part of my rotation. Maybe I was spoiled by cal-med cuisine in the Bay Area so I don't find Goin restaurants that interesting. And like I've mentioned before the wine markup us very un-friendly and much more than the cal-med places in the SF area.
Dinner at Paiche, my daughter and I. The Dine LA menu is divided into three sections, the first two containing six dishes each and the third containing two desserts. You choose two dishes from each of the first two sections, and one dessert; thus the two of us were able to have (and share) eight of the twelve savory dishes on the menu, and both desserts.
From the first section we chose:
Seabass tiradito -- 4 slices of very lightly seared sea bass with a salty/spicy/oily sauce
Albacore ceviche -- unlike Peruvian ceviche I have had before, but more like sashimi, i.e., slices of fish served with a citrusy/garlicky "leche de tigre" sauce
Chicharon de pescado -- which I expected, from the name, to be pieces of fried fish skin, but turned out to be more along the lines of fried fish nuggets
Cauliflower -- roasted, with a yuzo marinade
From the second section we chose:
Pacu ribs -- (apparently) barbecued ribs of some kind of large fish, quite meaty, served with a puree of squash and something else
Quinoa con alverjitas -- quinoa prepared like risotto, with English peas and a green herby oil
Seco de paiche -- a bed of rice and white beans in a savory sauce (but not spicy), with a chunk of paiche on top. Paiche is white, mild, and sweet, and very tasty
Chaufa de langosta -- fried rice with chunks of lobster and other seafood
Chicha raspadilla -- chicha morada (purple corn drink), frozen and scraped -- like shave ice, but coarser -- with a scoop of a different (unidentified) raspadilla on top and little chunks of some (unidentified) fruit
Chocolate tart -- with a passionfruit sauce on top.
All dishes were good. Best were the seabass tiradito, the fried rice, the quinoa -- which was a standout -- and the chicha raspadilla, which had just the right balance of sweet and sour and was very refreshing. My least favorites (though still good) were the cauliflower -- meh -- and the chocolate tart, on which I found the passionfruit sauce just too sour. Though all of the dishes are "small plates," both daughter and I walked away stuffed. Well worth the $45. Good drinks, too (pisco sour -- mmmmmmm).
We're regulars at Waterloo & City, and you are right. The DineLA menu was a steal. Our favorite was the heirloom tomato burrata salad w tomato sorbet. Very refreshing. I liked the house made mortadella which came with mini grilled cheese sandwiches. One thing I have to say is that all of the courses are very generous. Really is too much food - haha. Best sticky toffee pudding IMHO is also thankfully available
I went to Fogo for lunch on Mon and enjoyed it. I doubt there was any difference from their usual lunch offerings. I loved the picanya (sic) with the crispy fat, the garlic beef, the sirloin. Flank steak was good. Surprisingly, the filet wrapped in bacon was less successful -- bacon kept the meat from getting char and overwhelmed the flavor. Really good mashed potatoes, and I really liked the square-cut fried polenta logs -- crispy/tender inside. Sparingly chose from the salad table -- a couple spears of nicely done chilled thick asparagus, a couple tomato slices, can't resist a taste of the bacon. But the revelation was the parmesan cheese wedges -- really good, nutty, grainy, unctuous -- grabbed a couple for my walk out.
I'm going with a meat-loving friend again on Wednesday!
Stay away..Went this Friday...For the past 2 years they have been reducing their menu vs their regular menu..First they took away dessert...This time they took away 4 items: Beef Ancho(Rib eye) ; Lamb chops; Costela(Beef Ribs) and Linguica(Sausage)...Its a no go for my party..we were stuck with eating picanha(SIrlion) which gets boring after a while..Probably the best item is the lamb chops on the bone..Next Picinha followed by rib eye..Donot think its worth it with the exclusion of the four items..They took it away both for lunch and dinner....A pass for me..WIll not be doing dine in la there any more....
I appreciate your feedback. I agree that having the lamb option would be a very nice change of pace. I guess I'm fairly uninformed because I've only gone during DineLA lunches. If you are used to your favorite options, I'm sure their loss would be a disappointment. But for me (and my guest who loves meat and has never been) I feel that the meats they offer, plus picking only a few items from the salad bar, the excellent service, the very nice venue, all add up to a good value for $25 + tax + tip.
agree if your just going for the experience then its ok but if your a repeat customer that likes meat then would pass..My table was full of meat lovers and after finding out no Rib Eye, No Beef Rib and No lamb chops it was a disappointment..There other meat choices other then Pichana are just mediocre or below par.....
Yes...I would rather pay the full price and get all the meat options....There is another similar restaurant called M Grille that is participating in Dine in LA that has all their meats available for $45++ ..Yes its not Fogo but if your main reason for going is for the meat then M Grille might be a better option...Just go to Fogo and pay full price is a better option I think
I am not at all sure that paying full price and getting more selection is an option at Fogo during DineLA week. They don't ask if you are choosing the DineLA menu. Further, think how awkward iof a server came to the "full-price" tables with certain items, a nearby table asked for some, and they'd have to explain, "Not for you."
First they asked us if we where there for dine in la..
We said yes..
After no lamb chops came around, the server said its available on their regular menu and if we would like that instead..
The awkward ness for their server is the restaurants problem.
LIke I mentioned before Fogo has been downgrading their menu for Dine in LA for about 2-3 years now with each year taking away a little more..
I have also dined at two restaurants this year that had a different menu then the one on the website...
If a restaurant choices to do this , its their choice
We as diners have a choice and I am just saying I and my group will not be going to Fogo any more for DIne in LA its not a good value for us..
Think for dine in la your either looking for good value from a restaurant you go to regularly or you go check out a new restaurant that was on your list to try out.
For the restaurant its a chance to show case their restaurant.
Unfortunately, many restaurants should not do dine in la because they do no take it seriously by either switching out their mennu, down grading their menu or giving you smaller portions etc..
Think Dine in LA has been going down over the years and this years list of restaurants are not that interesting compared to prior years...
We will go there for non Dine in LA dining since we still like the restaurant and pay full price..
Went to DineLA at Fogo today for lunch. Took a friend who is a meat-lover and was there for the first time -- she loved it.
Verified that the regular items are available for the regular price.
They do twice the business during the DineLA weekdays than they normally do -- manager said today's Wednesday afternoon was like a Saturday night. We got there at shortly after 11:30 and the restaurant was pretty full -- by the time we left about 1 patrons were in the waiting area hoping for tables to open. Even so, really good service.
We dined at Picca for dinner as our Dine in LA dinner #1 on Tue night...
1 Picca...Not impressed ..Many hit and misses...
Drinks are tiny so we ended up getting like 3+ drinks each..
Tuna tar tar..Cannot go wrong on this..OK
Amaebi..Best dish...very good
Cauliflower....Looked horrible and tasted bland..No go
Short rib..Looked horrible..ok..meat tasted like beef jerky
Octopus main dish...Awful...
Supplemented their signature scallop dish..Presentation was awful..pieces of scallops looked burnt and overcooked..Dish was just OK...
Only memorable dish was the amaebi and I will go to one of my sushi restaurants for this dish...
For how much we spent on dinner with the supplement dish, drinks and tips was around $250..Totally not worth it and not impressed....
For the dine in la $45 choices think their are better places then Picca...
Dine in LA #2
For $35 for dinner is a steal
So good went twice this week
You get to choose 2 items from apps
**Popcorn bacon...wow...explosion when you bite into this ..
**Pork Bun...Must get...
Its heavenly....2 pieces of pork with hosin sauce...Awesome..
**Garlic string beans..Cooked perfectly..has a snap when you bite into...
**Brussels sprouts w poached egg...Very good...
**jamaican chicken..Has a spicy kick..you get 2 very generous pieces with garlic string beans.
**Lamb and rice..Nice perfectly cooked lamb piece on top of rice...
**Octopus masala..Nice piece of octopus...Kind of small..If your hungry go for the lamb or chicken...
**Milk and honey..If you like creme brulee you will love this dish..
**Five leches bread pudding..Awesome!!!...
Thinking of going back again next week..
They didnot have their uni toast nor their bone marrow on the dine in la menu but overall great portions and all dishes were very good some very memorable(Pork bun, popcorn bacon!!)
Definelty highly recommend Black Hogg!!!
$15 lunch Hostaria Piccolo.
I'm not a serious lunch person so really only consider the lowest priced $15 lunches. Four of us went today. I liked it. It wasn't a world-stopping meal but sure was good for $15 and there were three selections in eahc of the two courses.
For first I got the frittura, fried calamari and shrimp served with a tomato-based sauce. It was quite good and a decent portion for a first. My with got an arugala salad with avocado and pine nuts. It was ok. Fresh and tasty, but simple. There was a sliced beef tongue option but my wife wouldn't go for it.
For mains I got the rigatoni with tomato cream sauce with sausage and peas. This was really good in every respect. It was a bit heavy but I like heavy sauces. My wife got the individual pizza of shrimp shrooms and lghtly cheesed. It was good, not great. Maybe it was a bot simple but the shrimp were very good. My sister got the gnocchi with cherry tomatoes, and basil. It was straightforward but the gnocchi was nice and it made for a good lunch pasta for those not looking for the weight of the rigatoni.
I don't know if the portions were full-sized by my frittura and rigatoni left me really full, and neither my wife or sister could eat all of theirs. From the menu price my two things regularly totalled $28. Even if I got 3/4 servings, it was plenty, and I'd definitely recommend it.
Last night, I had tickets to an early play downtown, so I took my mother to dinner at the Water Grill to try the DineLA menu. From a standpoint of savings over the regular menu, the meal is a great deal, but I don't see myself going back anytime soon -- unless I have a strong craving for oysters from the raw bar.
We both began with the heirloom tomato salad. I would have ordered the ocean trout crudo, but I saw that the raw bar had a beautiful uni, so I supplemented our meal with an order of the uni. The uni was excellent -- extremely fresh and more firm than most. It was served in slices over ice with a ponzu dipping sauce that was unnecessary. That added $15 to our tab, but it was worth it. That's less than uni sashimi at most restaurants and the quality of this uni was far better than most. (Even my mom, who professes to hate uni, tried a slice and thought it was very good.)
As for the tomato salad, it was good, but nothing that really grabbed me. It didn't really seem like anyone was trying to do anything with the dish. The tomatoes were cut into 1/8ths, there were some slices of avocado placed with them, and then a big handful of greens was tossed on top. Everything was fresh and the dressing was lighter than I had expected from the description -- something I was glad about -- but an inventive chef could have done a lot more with those ingredients. I noticed my mom repeatedly asked for the salt shaker because she did not find the salad had enough flavor.
For entrees, I ordered the pan-roasted halibut served over corn and jalapeno. The fish was well-cooked and the mix of corn, herbs, and a little heat from the jalapeno was nice. But it was mainly a big hunk of fish served on a bed of corn.
My mom's grilled swordfish was basically the same, except it was a hunk of fish served over Mediterranean vegetables - eggplant, tomato, etc. It was cooked well, but rather plain.
For dessert, we each ordered the bread pudding with salted caramel ice cream. That was the best dish we received. (The bread also was very good.)
Overall, for DineLA, the meal was fine. But I don't think the dinner will make me want to go back. As someone who used to have Water Grill as a regular spot on my rotation of pre-theater restaurants during in the Cimarusti and LeFevre eras, and enjoyed the innovative ways they did fish, I was left decidedly unimpressed by the fish dishes. At $35-$40 an entree, the fish dishes needed to be better. My mom and I both walked out and said that for a basic fish dish, the black cod at Roy's was better than either of our entrees. So if I were to go back, I probably would stick to some raw bar items and then add the bread pudding, but I don't see Water Grill going back to being one of my regular downtown dinner places.
Dine LA at Patina Last Night
Dine LA Menu: $45
-Heirloom tomato and peach salad with verjus sorbet
-pork belly with fennel, fig, mustard seed
Every dish was delicious. The tableside cote de boeuf (a la carte) was outstanding. Nice cheese selection.
Wines were amazing. Grabbed a couple of rare finds at or below retail.
Service was one of the most polished in town. Easily on the level of Providence.
DineLA #1 - Stefan's at LA Farm
My husband and I are big fans of Stefan from Top Chef, so we decided to give this place a try. The restaurant itself is lovely and chic. The service was okay and the food only so-so. There were two choices for each of the 6 courses offered, so naturally, we decided to turn 6 courses into 12. The food was okay, not done as well as we thought. It just didn't make that great of an impression. Our pork tenderloin came out super chewy, at first, and they fired another one. Same result...cooked well, but the protein was gristly-like. So it wasn't the technique because it was slightly pink, it was more inferior quality of the protein. Chef was not in the house as he was on vacation that night. Stefan's at LA Farm...not a winner.
DineLA #2 - Drago Centro
A friend and I met up for dinner. He was running a tinge late, so I hung out at the bar to enjoy some wine. The restaurant is lovely, modern, and sleek. The bar and lounge area was very nice, too. I found out that they offer an all-day happy hour with nicely priced drinks and snacks.
Once my friend arrived, we were seated in a lovely corner booth. Service was swift and thoughtful. Dinner was terrific as well. The tagliatelini with seafood ragu was so good. Seafood cooked perfectly, and the broth...well, it was amazing. Pasta was slightly overcooked, but it was delicious. The duck confit and summer vegetable risotto was almost perfect. Risotto was perfect...I loved it. The duck confit was good, but wasn't perfect because the skin was missing the crispness that I'm used to. Dessert was a vanilla panna cotta with roasted figs. It was a nice way to end the meal. I enjoyed the wine pairings with each course. Drago Centro was a winner.
With planning, I was able to get to Sotto after work for lunch.
I was in agreement with others as to the menu highlights so, after ordering wine, i rattled off my choices to the waiter. After ordering, he did a double take and told me the rigatoni was no longer available as they had no chicken livers.
I was crushed but they subbed their Casarecce [braised lamb ragu, egg, pecorino] pasta. I chose the Casearecce.
Loved the meatballs and bitter greens with sieved egg. The pasta with lamb ragu was outstanding as well. Can't wait to try the rigatoni as well.
By that point I was stuffed although I hadn't eaten anything today. I finished with the irresistible Cannolo Sicliano!
Not sure how tomorrow goes but Tavern is around the corner from my office and may get to try it for the last day of DineLA.
We were very pleased with the menu at Tavern .food was great. However, we just returned from Katsuya Brentwood. We have found this to be one o f the best values, year after year with Dine LA. The only thing which was off-putting was that we had to request the menu and the menu was a tiny piece of paper and we were only offered 1! This was seriously good food. We enjoyed spicy tuna with crispy rice, rock shrimp tempura, Sashimi, more appetizers, miso soup, salad, black cod with miso marinade! , there were other choices available. Dessert was a silky bread pudding. Helluva good deal for $45.00 pp.
Had a great dineLA dinner at Mo-Chica this week. I had the quinoa salad with gorgonzola, short ribs, and Willy Wonka Bar for dessert. Everything was good but the surprise standout was the quinoa salad with gorgonzola. Creamy, delicious and with a nice crunch from the quinoa. I would go back just for that salad alone
thank you for your review and recommendations...
I had DINELA dinner at Night+Market... three course meal shared six selections with dining companion. Excellent meal and service. The wings, clams, tuna were craveworthy. Singha beer perfect accompaniment. DINELA has been extended over the weekend.....this has been one of my best dinela experiences over the years and the only choice I made this summer.