Restaurants & Bars

Los Angeles Area

"The Ritz," Hollywood Blvd.


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Restaurants & Bars Los Angeles Area

"The Ritz," Hollywood Blvd.

Jennifer M. | | Jun 1, 2001 01:49 PM

I have worked in Hollywood for almost 6 years, and anyone familiar with the limited selection of good, quick cheap lunch food on Hollywood Boulevard will understand this and probably has had the same experience...Then came a truly startling development. A fancy sandwich place a block and a half from the office? In the Ritz Theater? We heard that it was run by the daughter of Michelle Lamy (of Les Deux, right behind it), "Scarlet Rouge."

The first encounters with the place were strange but intriguing enough to keep us coming back (I think we took their only copy of the handmade menu - whoops). The sandwiches have been delicious. But the first salad I had there was so strong (the greens) and underdressed that I felt like I was eating grass clippings. Then the salads quickly became really excellent and fragrant! Recently, though, it got to the point where one of my colleages wasn't given a salad, on a day when someone else got a salad that was just balsamic vinegar haphazardly splashed on the greens when she requested one. Weird. What happened to the young Asian man who was the chef? He was the only person there in whom I had any confidence!

There were a few days when we walked down there at lunch time and there was no food (around noon!). Then we'd call ahead and ask if they had food today and get this indignant answer, well of COURSE we have FOOD.

The counter has been staffed by young women (one of whom must have been this Scarlet, but since none had a vaguely proprietary air about her, it was tough to tell) showing varying degrees of spaciness and providing painfully slow/unprofessional service. Over the past months, we've identified like eight different people working there.

But now things seem to have stabilized. I went in a few weeks ago and asked for croissants and they didn't have them, but I was stunned when this new woman said, "but we have other things, I could make you some oatmeal, or eggs.." This was a new attitude! She's now there every morning (I look in as I drive by!). However, a few days later when I did go back for a croissant they were not the same ones that I'd had during the terrible-service era (she couldn't even pick up the little box and hand it to me? I had to reach over a box of vegetables to her side of the counter to pick it up myself when I saw that she was going to just walk away!), which had been truly exceptional. And I have to say, this new woman is very nice, but it took her FOREVER to give me two croissants, struggling with huge lengths of twisted plastic wrap (I need my croissant wrapped in plastic!?), putting them into this huge grocery bag, giving me (very good) coffee with mis-sized lids, it was a mess!

So what is the story? New ownership? Then how do I explain why Michelle Lamy was in there dropping off vegetables one morning (the day of the croissant vs. plastic wrap debacle)? I haven't been there in a few weeks. I think I'm afraid to see what the future holds. But I love this place, despite it all, and want it to stay! I am so thrilled that there's anything new, individual, and quirky on the Boulevard, with good food!! Are there others who share our love/hate obsession with this place? Or have some clue as to how to explain the weirdness??