DineLA Meals Reported -- July 2014
Please report and review your July 2014 DineLA experiences here.
I'll start: On a whim (and with a lucky parking space in front) I went to Emporium Thai on Westwood today for the $15 lunch. I must say I was very pleasantly surprised. Restaurant was about 70% full when I got there at 1. Ordered the morning glory salad to start. (This is $10.95 on their regular menu, I think, and it appeared to be full-size.) If you like crispy, as I do, this is a great dish. Many clumps of morning glory in a tempura-like batter that shattered apart when forked. Some chopped shrimp, slivered carrot, red onion, and red pepper, in a barely noticeable clear sweetish dressing. Ordered the chicken with chili paste and thai basil. Asked for heat level 7 of 10, server persuaded me to go with 5 -- wish I had stayed with 7. Good standard thai stir fry with white rice. (Normally $9.95 on their lunch menu with a salad.) Was too full for the coconut ice cream. Good solid lunch -- that morning glory salad is a great dish.
update on paiche:
went there for lunch again today.
ordered the exact same things.
the appetizer size was HALVED.
the fish size seemed marginally smaller too.
my daughter's entree came much later than mine (i was over half way done with mine by the time hers arrived)
when i wanted a lemon wedge to squeeze over the fish, it took a very long time to find someone who would even look over at our side of the room.
what a difference a day makes. .. . .
Reserved a table for 2 for lunch at AOC today in the patio. We (2 women), fully intended to go with the Dine LA Menu. Problem is it was just too much food. We ordered from the regular a la carte menu. 1 order of bacon wrapped dates, we each had the amazing turkey foccacia sandwich (which is on the DLA menu). One of us got the fries, the other the salad. That turkey focaccia is fantastic; what a great combination of flavors. We shared the butterscotch dessert (so sad that blood orange season is over, so no Vacherin). All of the above plus one Diet coke and 1 iced tea and the
check was about $60.00, which is probably what it would likely have totaled if we had gone with the DLA menu. It was obvious that most of the diners were ordering from the DLA menu. Also obvious that most were ordering the Spanish Fried Chicken app and they were very happy. That Spanish Fried chicken app appeared to be a large portion.
re: Bob Brooks
I agree that chicken is great. We often order it along with the bacon wrapped dates as apps when we are a party of 4.
Two of the great appetizers in town. Tavern now also offers those same two appetizers. That Farmer's Lunch was very appealing, but I just can't resist that turkey foccacia with the avocado, mozzarella and olives. Next time, the Farmer's Lunch.
The vintner's lunch is what we had and we thoroughly enjoyed it, along with those bacon wrapped dates, the little gems salad with the cara cara oranges and a fish special that was tasty, but unfortunately, overcooked. But it was a nice lunch overall. But I still want to try that sandwich, I will have to make a special trip, it looks like.
Settebello for dinner--$25 for an appetizer (good meatballs with a tangy tomato sauce and plenty of melted cheese), salad (arugala, marinated artichokes, pine nuts, goat cheese, shaved parmesan, speck, lemon vin. and balsamic), and a pizza (the Diavola in my case). You could add a bombolini for dessert for $4 more. Really enjoyable and a nice price.
went to gyu-kayu and had a fantastic lunch.service couldnt have been better3 choices of protein-salad-soup
what a deal
Went to Scarpetta. Originally, they were on the roster for DineLA, but had to take their name off the roster b/c of a private event booking during the 2nd week of DineLA from 7/21. Since they anticipated folks like me with rezzies this week expecting their DineLA menu, Scarpetta decided to offer a $45 3-course Tasting Menu, with a $12 spaghetti additional course option from Mon 7/14 thru Sun 7/20.
I just went tonite for a solo seat at the chef's counter like in Jan '14 and loved it!
Complimentary bread basket with an assortment of breads including the meat and cheese filled Stromboli, accompanied by marscapone butter, eggplant caponata and citrus olive oil. A mini meal in itself.
*Seared Scallops, morel mushrooms and stinging nettle spaetzle ($7 supplement charge)
1/2 portion of Spaghetti as Additional course for $12
*Grilled Striped Sea Bass, summer vegetable fricassee, rock shrimp & guazzetto
Dessert was Bomboloni with plum-berry marmalatta and lemon-sage anglaise. The Italian donuts were hot and fluffy right out of the fryer and dusted with vanilla sugar.
Personally, I wouldn't change the salt levels, but for those extremely sensitive to sodium, the kitchen can accommodate. Gluten free pasta also available upon request.
Scarpetta Los Angeles (in The Montage hotel)
)225 N Canon Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90210
the wife and I stopped by Tonino in Westwood for the dineaLA. $25 for 2 courses, no desert. Nice place, the food was just OK. While waiting for our car, I noticed they had a sign for their "Express Lunch" served daily for $19.95 - same menu as dineLA! So, with one glass of wine and valet parking, lunch cost...$82. Certainly not a great deal.
Thanks for posting about Tonino's, we were thinking of going. And yes, we had noticed the sign about the express lunch, but had assumed they would have something different for DineLA. Ended up at TLT Food. Great $15 lunch. Beef Short Rib Quesadilla ($10 on menu), very good, if a little messy with all that gooey cheese. Beet salad ($5), on a bed of arugula. Panna Cotta ($3) for dessert, in a small cup, but very good, plus an iced tea ($2.50). Very good deal if you are in the area at lunch.
Chinois on Main --lunch
quantities --very generous
salmon sashimi tower--very good
crispy whole orata--came to the table WAY overcooked/dry/hard
at first the hostess told me that was the way it was "supposed" to be.
i sent it back anyway and she admonished me the way a punishing parent would, that if i didn't like it the second time around "that's it!" there would be no other food. (really, i don't like having a 30 year old threatening me)
as it turned out, the second time around it was cooked perfectly, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
had the deep fried apple spring rolls for dessert--they were terrific, sort of like a cross between an asian spring roll and apple strudel. delivered to the table with no silverware, had to flag down the hostess again.
all in all, it turned out to be a fine meal in terms of the food.
have to admit, though, this is the first time ever (i've been eating at chinois for decades) that i ever experienced service problems there, or for that matter, in ANY wolfgang puck restaurant.
hard to believe that this really just happened.
Had dinner at Chinois for a friend's birthday a couple nights ago. We didn't ordered the DineLA menu because the dishes the birthday boy was craving (whole catfish and those oysters) weren't on the DineLA menu. I am so not an oyster fan but boy did those look and smell good! I was very happy with the dishes I did partake of - my personal favorite Szechuan beef, and a couple fantastic vegetable dishes.
Cafe Pinot - lunch with coworkers (party of 5)
Busier than I've ever seen; had a 1 pm reservation but waited about 15 minutes to be seated. Good service but slow, we cut them slack because of Dine LA, plus we were seated on the patio and it was gorgeous out.
Appetizers - Hamachi crudo was good but needed salt. Tomato soup with dollop of crab salad was well portioned.
Entrees - Risotto was a great portion and delicious. I got the hangar steak on a bed of spinach, didn't notice the bone marrow butter (in fact, I forgot it even came with bone marrow butter until I looked up the menu again for this review). Jidori chicken looked okay; apparently the sauce and veggies were great but the chicken itself was a bit dry.
Dessert - Brownie & cake crumbs over budino, chicory pudding with creme fraiche. DELICIOUS and I don't even like desserts usually.
Cafe PInot is doing the $20 prix fixe, which I felt was a great deal. Even though the options seemed like pared down (in terms of ingredients not portion) versions off the regular menu, the entrees alone on the regular menu average $20. I also work across the street, so it was extremely convenient and made up for the fact that the lunch took almost 2 hours.
Going tomorrow night for dinner.
One of the more pleasant settings for an early dinner.
Never disappoints in terms of its being a Patina Group restaurant - go with modest expectations, and everything works out just fine, especially during the summer months when the Music Center & Disney Hall are less busy
Sat down for dinner at 6:30 inside.
Companion and I both decided to do the dineLA menu.
I had the halibut crudo, watermelon thingy, while he had the burrata & veggies for first courses.
We both had the hangar steak entrée.
He had the panne cotta while I had the lemon tart(ish) kind of dessert.
$35 per person. He had club soda & coffee, while I had 2 glasses of a $9 per glass of rose, which was better than you might expect.
Both felt the meal had value. Hangar steak perfectly medium rare.
Place never disappoints, yet rarely excels - comfortable, very good, and reliable - a place the two of us appreciated so we could get caught up on things.
DineLA dinner at Lukshon ($35): I had the crab fritters (normally $12), the Bhutanese red rice with lamb bacon (normally $10), and the lobster and pig ear terrine banh mi (special for DineLA)--not exactly a bargain but quite good. The fritters and the rice are dishes I know well and enjoy. The banh mi was very tasty, albeit smallish (a tad larger than the lobster roll at Son of A Gun) and the strong flavors in the dressing masked the lobster a bit too much. One curiosity, the Sichuan dumplings (normally $11) are listed as being a $5 surcharge on the DineLA menu--does not make a lot of sense and you would probably be better off with one of the other offered starters and then adding the dumplings a la carte (I should also note that the dumplings have a good flavor if not quite the "spicy ma la" mentioned on the menu). The beef and broccoli (normally $31) is offered as an option for a $10 surcharge so, if the portion size is the same, that would be the only option offering any significant savings on the DineLA menu.
re: New Trial
I did the dineLA thing at Lukshon this round as well. It was a fantastic meal, flavor-wise. But it seemed as if the portion sizes had decreased significantly this year. It seems a bit of a conceit to announce that the dishes are "meant to be shared" and then send out two scallops (one bite each at best) to be split amongst the table. Having said that, I loved the lobster/pig ear dish (although we had to exercise the skill of a surgeon to split it amongst the four of us). I had a great time with my pals, but I think I would be more inclined to come again when Restaurant Week is not in full swing.
Went to Catch tonight (well, last night). Writing this right after bringing my cat to the animal hospital and could use a distraction w/ the write up.
Dining partner had seafood platter ($15 supp), clam linguini, pistachio cake. I also had the seafood platter, branzino (recommended over the Catch of the Day by our waiter.... Catch of the day is a $10 supp), chocolate and espresso tart.
All of it was really good but not "perfect." There was some sand in some of my oysters, which was a little unpleasant. The half lobster w/ the seafood platter was a touch tough. My dining partner found his linguini a little oily. Is branzino supposed to have a crispy skin? If so, mine didn't.
That's pretty much the extent of the complaints. The dipping sauces w/ the seafood platter were marvelous, as was the flavor of my branzino. The heirloom tomatoes for the side salad were really flavorful, and the side salad was simple but tasty (and fairly sizeable). Pistachio cake was only okay, but the chocolate and espresso tart was fantastic (as was the accompanying caramel which wasn't overly sweet, interestingly enough). A bit of a bitter flavor to the chocolate (presumably from the coffee?), which was okay.
The setting is lovely, although it can get a little noisy. We were seated way in the corner past the bar which was fine b/c it was quieter there!
All in all, a very satisfying experience.
8 from the office went to Post & Beam for lunch. Some regular menu, some dineLA:
- Long delay following the first course servings, several water refills before main lunch orders arrived
- Business burger ran all over someone's hands, but tasted ok
- Short rib sandwich was nice
- Spicy meatball pizza got love
- Grilled meatloaf sandwich meh
- Kale chips a delightful surprise [a first for some of us]
- As were deviled eggs [first in many many years]
- The one salad order was forgotten; came 20 min later and only after someone went inside to inquire [was not comped]
- 3 credit cards was one too many to split; had to condense to two
- Took over two hours; was not a full house [Debbie Allen dance academy next door, however, was]
- With more able waitstaff, this would have been a fine outing
RockSugar Century City -- Friday Lunch
My first venture into Century City in awhile, and some of the sour taste in my mouth is because of the mall. After negotiating the parking and coming up into the mall, very difficult to find a map to orient myself and find the restaurant. RockSugar is large and very ornate; I chose the offer of a seat on the patio, probably a mistake as my table rocked and the breeze on this nice but not very hot day was chilly. Was served shrimp toasts with black seeds incorporated (polly? seemed too large) with nondescript chili dipping sauce. Starter was the fried calamari -- really executed well: light, crispy batter, tender inside. But the portion was minuscule -- picture a rectangular dish the size of a standard cellphone with the sauce container occupying at least a third. Asked and the server said it was "a DineLA portion" and I scoffed that wasn't the spirit behind DineLA. Wok-fried shrimp with asparagus, snap and flat pea pods, and a bit of Thai basil with white rice was a much better portion and well-cooked; only complaint was the chili sauce didn't add much flavor or heat and there was no soy or hot sauce on the table. Strawberry sorbet with strawberries, blueberries and blackberries was fresh and a good ending. But nobody asked to validate my parking, the machine on Level A wouldn't accept either my credit card or money, and the woman in the office wouldn't take my word that I'd dined at RockSugar (despite a detailed recitation of where I sat and what I ate) without a receipt. A reminder of why I avoid Century City.
DineLA at BLD for dinner was excellent: $25 for 3 courses (on a few dishes they added a supplement), generous portions, friendly good service. Starters were lobster roll, kobe beef tataki, tomato/arugula salad, and mains included pan seared branzino, surf n turf (hangar steak and langoustine), veggie lobster mushroom with hand torn pasta, and 2 yummy desserts. Great place for a casual, high quality meal at a great price
Craft - Dinner ($45/pp)
An Amuse of tomato soup to start - delicious, along with bread/butter (I love their squaw bread).
Starters - 3 apps for the table (listed in order of preference): Little Gem Salad (delicious with an avocado dressing and spiced nuts on top), Heirloom Tomato salad (with hearts of palm), and Cauliflower/Hummus.
Mains - we had the Mugifuji Pork (with grits/pureed broccoli) and the Beef Short Rib Gemelli (w kale and parm). The pork was overly seasoned on top and a touch too salty, for my taste, but the pork itself was delicious. It was a generous portion and was beautifully presented (the pork was sliced on placed on top of the grits). The broccoli grits were UNREAL and my favorite thing of the night. The Gemelli was perfectly cooked and the short rib was well incorporated. It wasn't as good as other pasta dishes I've had at Craft, but was definitely enjoyable and no bite was left. They also served snap peas and carrots braised in leak butter, as an additional side.
Dessert (different than the online dinela menu): Two served for the table. The first: Cinnamon sugar donuts (two slightly large donut hole type donuts) - served warm - with chocolate ganache on the side. The second: pana cotta with pistachio and strawberries. The donuts were the star of the show - amazing texture and bite; it's been a long time since I've rolled my eyes in bliss for a donut and this did it!; the pana cotta was a close runner up. They nailed dessert. Also brought to the table was a small serving of their cashew, carmel popcorn. And, of course, packets of their homemade granola to take home (did they stop doing the muffins?).
Service was seemless, as always. DineLA is a great way to experience Craft.
Very much! Don't want to hijack the DineLA thread - we decided we wanted to share a bunch of dishes off the regular menu rather than ordering from the DineLA menu. I loved the mushrooms, meatballs, and pasta with lamb. Have to say that I agree with others who have said in the great LA pizza debate threads that they're not crazy about the pizza at Sotto (now I'm definitely veering off this thread). I have no problem with some char on my pizza crust, but this one actually tasted like charcoal to me, and was too bready for my taste. But overall the meal was excellent and I'm looking forward to going back.
The GF and I went to Littlefork tonite for DineLA.
Fantastic food and service as always. This place packs a mean boozy punch in their cocktails too, which are always great.
We had the clam chowder, smoked brook trout, petite steak frites, and the brick roasted chicken with fava succotash for the dinner offerings. Topped it all off with a refreshing panna cotta and whoopie pies!
This was our 4th visit here and they do not disappoint.
Faith & Flower - dinner/$45
First visit - gorgeous space. Very well thought out and executed. Volume was loud (and I was in the back room!).
Apps: tried one of each on the DineLA menu (you could pick two out of four options):
-Jidori Kimchee eggs - underwhelming flavors; enjoyable but passable
-Summer Squash Salad - the thinnest slivers of squash imaginable and overly dusted with cheese. Menu claimed there was fennel, but I couldn't find any (it was probably shaved thin as well; passable
-Longanisa Sausage - the standout of the apps. Nicely cooked with good flavors and perfect spice level.
-Shrimp & Grits Toast - this was not good. It tasted like someone opened up a can of bay shrimp and creamed corn, mixed them together and plopped it on top of a piece of toast. One bite was enough for me. No thank you.
Mains (you could pick two out of 4 options):
Steelhead trout - a delicious piece of fish. Perfectly cooked. I hadn't had steelhead trout before and didn't realize it was so close to salmon.
Grilled Skirt Steak - another excellent dish. Meat was perfectly cooked, flavorful, and tender.
Desserts (pick 1 out of 2 options): Both were awful
-Caramel Creme/Chocolate cake - a grocery store's would have been better. Caramel tasted very jar-like.
-Peaches & Cream - tiny silvers of peaches (that weren't flavorful (perhaps barely ripe)), sweet corn ice cream (the only 'original' thing on the dish), a weird tear off of angel food cake (didn't even bother trying it), and "Blackberries" per the menu (it was one blackberry sliced in two).
The pacing of the meal was bad; I was catching up with a friend, so I didn't care. The first app came before the drinks, and the other apps came out in good timing. there was a lull between the first main - and then a very long lull (at least 30-45 minutes) before the 2nd main. The desserts also took a long time to arrive. (From start to finish, it was 2.75 hours).
Most everything on the menu to accompany the dish meant one piece of "x" cut in two. e.g. "Warm cucumbers & beets" = 1 slice of cucumber cut in two and a small baby beet sliced in two. The food portions were small and sparse.
I'm glad I tried Faith&Flower for DineLA, but I wouldn't bother returning for food. It would be a great place to grab a drink, however!
We went to firefly on Tuesday, July 15th. I ordered the lobster bolognese and my wife ordered the beef tenderloin. We both had the tuna tartar and chocolate cake for desert. It was fabulous and I mean great SO we made a reservation on Sunday the 27th and brought two friends after raving about the place all week. The lobster was now shrimp - OK, no problem. The beef tenderloin was now chicken - OK, no problem. When the entrees came we about fell over. I had two pieces of sushi-sized fish and my friend had two McNugget-sized pieces of chicken. The manager came out and we explained that we had just been there on the 15th and the portions were "normal" sized. He was not having any it and said we were wrong, that the dineLA portions are always smaller. So basically we were lying or delusional. After much back and forth he insisted that our previous experience was a mistake. They should not have served a normal sized entree. We left - went to Black Market and had an amazing meal.
Went to Chinois on Fri and met a fun fellow hound for lunch. Service there is always good. Food: I ordered the Chinois Chinese chicken salad and it was solid as always (was it a touch smaller?). She ordered the salmon sashimi salad and I don't think it was what either of us expected -- served napoleon-style on three fried wonton squares but barely discernible salmon amidst mayo and heavy olives and small dice cucumber or avocado, couldn't tell. We each took a little home respectively. Entrees were szechwan beef for me -- grilled delicious char, great sauce, great dish (but again a bit smaller than I recall from previous DineLAs). She ordered the stir-fried chicken, which was good with high-quality chicken breast but again a small order and not that discernible from a Chinese combo lunch dish. Desserts were good -- she had the cookies and assorted and I had the chocolate almost molten cake-like warm dessert with strawberry sorbet, delicious.
Chinois is always a treat for me; one of my very favorite restaurants. Really enjoyed my companion's company. Service and food was very good. I'd go again. But portions and selections not quite as impressive as past DineLAs...
That was a fun meal. The conversation more than made up for any lack in the food -- e.g., the sashimi dish, which was really peculiar. I think of sashimi as being light, clean and fishy (in a good way). That version almost reminded me more of chicken salad, if you were to replace the chicken with fish. (Did it stop me from polishing it all off eventually? Nope! Just wasn't what I had in mind.)
On a non-food note: what I found pleasing was the Silver Fox quotient at lunch. I hadn't recalled it being so popular with the old(er) set last time I was there eons ago, but it made me happy to see the viejos and viejas all dolled up and enjoying a nice meal. I hope Chinois is still kickin' when I'm in my 80s. It holds a special place in my heart for its longevity, and all the memories I attach to meals there over the years. It feels like a time-travel time-capsule in some ways.
(nosh's order was the best possible one, I think, and would be the way I would go next time. See you then!)
Parkway Grill had a super Dine LA lunch - I had the corn dog prawns - huge babies on a stick with a very good dipping sauce as an appetizer. I was then full having gobbled most of the bread basket with assorted crisps, breads and fruit bread. Oh well - it WAS good. Next course, their signature LBT full of chunks of lobster, bacon, avacado, designer greens and who knows what else - really good but I had to take home 3/4 of the sandwich I was so full from the prawns so Mme Zoe and I had it for lunch the next day together with her left over apppetizer of vegetables wrapped in bacon, dates also wrapped. Lobster sandwich was an additional $5 but well worth it. Nice room and service and jumbo parking lot.