The other night I happened to stop by the house restaurant (I belive non-capitalized letters is correct) on Melrose. I was actually on the way to try Jar on Beverly, but while driving there, my friend pointed it out, and we were really hungry, so it was a change in plans.
I was never really compelled to try this restaurant before because judging from reviews I read, I somehow concluded that this place catered to the tragically hip scene. But upon stepping in it was surprisingly empty. About two of the inside tables and two of the outside tables were occupied. Throughout the meal, there was never more than five tables in use, which would constitute about half the restuaurant.
The interior was very very simple, no more than a few dim Ikea style crepe paper wall lamps and a couple of landscape mirror frames to break up the monotony of the wall. Judging by the decor, the name and menu, theme the restaurant probably intended to give the place an atmosphere of being at a person's home for the dinner.
The simple sheet menu listed no more than 5 or 6 appetizers and entrees. Some of them had cutey names like "names what is red and white and good all over? answer: our version of strawberry shortcake". The cuisine is American cooking, with a bit of refinement, organic ingredients, and creative license in implementation.
We started with the tomato salad, which I am a sucker for. It came with slices of green zebra, brandywine, and whatever the heck regular red tomatoes are called. Also some balled honeydew melon just to be different.
My dinner was the grouper on lentils, topped with creme fraiche and "American Caviar". Now, up to this point the only exposure I've had to fish eggs is the little orange roe that you can get on various sushi, so I can hardly tell the difference between Ostera and Beluga, and certainly not between American and Caspian Sea stuff, but the brininess of it combined with the zing of creme fraiche was pretty addictive!
My friend had the lamb with acorn squash puree, which she enjoyed. I though the puree was an excellent stand in for mashed potatoes, and it came with little yellow sqashes the size of tomatillos that I don't know the names of (baby acorn squash??).
For dessert I got suckered into getting the plate of cookies and milk. Shoot, they must make a HUGE profit margin on these. It's litterally a couple of shortbread cookies, a small macaroon, a white chocolate cup, a smigen of a peanut butter brownie, and a shotglass of milk. You know, I've been to a few restaurants where they'll give these to you for free with the check.
I don't know if weekdays are normally that quiet, but if stays like that without going out of business, I'd be satisfied with a restaurant like that.
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