Finally tried Gorikee. For mother's day, my mom wanted to do something casual lunch and movie so I suggested the AMC in Woodland Hills and Gorikee for lunch. I've been following comments on this board for months and, after reading all the different viewpoints, wasn't completely sure what to expect. So I went in expecting it to be a good neighborhood place and was not disappointed in the least.
There were four of us and we like to share, so I managed to sample a good selection. There was a special Mother's Day menu as well as the regular lunch menu, too.
Generally the food was very good, far better than most "neighborhood" joints, and we all agreed we would go back. A quick summary of what we ordered.
Whole garlic confit. $3.50. This is a roasted head of garlic presented nicely in two halves. It was flavorful and very tasty. My only complaint is that the bread was bland. The garlic would have been nicer on sourdough or a heartier bread that offered a contrasting flavor.
The pear salad with balsamic vinaigrette. $6.50. This was excellent, a nice plate of mixed greens with a healthy amount of pears (spread out almost like apples on a tarte tartin), goat cheese and walnuts. This was a very tasty salad. It's listed as an entree, but I don't know if it would be enough for one person as a meal, especially if they are a big eater. My mother and I shared it and the burger with fries, so it was enough food for us.
The Wimpy's Burger. This was fantastic. Good quality beef, well cooked, served with roasted garlic, a light touch of mango chutney, mayonnaise tomato and lettuce. Served with wonderful thin and crispy garlic fries. Very tasty and one of the best burgers I've had in ages (except for Jamie Oliver's Elvis Burger, which I make myself). For $6.80, though, Gorikee's burger was a tremendous bargain.
Crispy Goat Cheese Salad. Mixed greens with goat cheese coated with some type of garlic batter and fried. I preferred the mix of flavors in the pear salad, but this had more cheese and was very tasty. $6.50.
We also got one of the "melange" options. There were three variations that allow you to try a few things. Ours included crispy garlic chicken with lemon/mustard seed sauce and a crab cake. He also got soup and salad with it. (I think it was about $11.) The soup was ginger, leek and potato and very tasty. I was not thrilled with either the crab cake or the chicken. The crab cake seemed lost underneath something fried that looked like a nest. It was hard to find the crab cake, but it was reasonably tasty. The chicken did not impress me very much. The garlic was just almost too strong.
Total for four people, plus Perrier and soft drinks (no alcohol or dessert), was $44.00 before tip. For the quality of food we received, I have to say that Gorikee was a tremendous value.
Service was very friendly. We had never been there before, but the hostess was very nice. She may have been a little overly chatty at times, but we didn't mind. I also had been warned about the ambience, but it was better than I expected.
I do have one nit about the pricing. Most of the lunch entrees were under $10, but the specials on the wall included some dishes for as much as $21.50. That seemed very out of place for a restaurant like this, almost like the owners can't figure out if they want to be an upscale fine dining establishment or a very good quality, neighborhood place. My mom had asked for relatively casual and inexpensively priced place for lunch, because my brother has no income and she knew I would be picking up the tab for everyone. While I don't mind splurging for a great meal, it was a little awkward when my brother discussed ordering a seared Ahi special that would have been more than the price of the other three entrees combined. I routinely pay that much for entrees at other restaurants, so I'm not sure why it felt so awkward, but I think it has to do with the expectations created by the rest of the menu. The specials seemed so out of line with the rest of the menu prices that it undermined the sense that eating at Gorikee is a bargain.
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