Well at least we know one thing-- my husband the curmudgeon said before we left for the Getty, --the food can only get better. The Getty restaurant in Brentwood was our fourth and final stop on the marathon birthday eat-out-every-day long weekend. So far we hadnt been really impressed by most of the places. Campanile at least had delivered-as expected, and hadnt disappointed. Normans seemed a bit hit and miss and Grace had been mostly miss.
The restaurant at the Getty cant be beat just for sheer loveliness. It is an airy open space with windows reaching from floor to ceiling on at least two walls. And though sadly on that Sunday bad weather had eliminated any view, the overcast vista gave a luminescent pearly quality to the air and we had the feeling of being high in the clouds in some mountaintop aerie. Some interesting classical music was playing softly and everyone inside looked happy and peaceful.
I ordered the Bloody Mary with horseradish. This is without doubt the best version Ive ever had and I found it hard to put down. The ones Ive had before always tasted either somewhat watery or had too much Worcestershire. This one had a delightful kick at the end of each swallow and every drop was flavorful and delicious. The curmudgeon tasted it and was clearly envious. Then I had their onion soup. It was a good portion, with enough onions and enough cheese but not quite as strong/hearty in flavor as I like. But it satisfied nicely and we shared it. A super assortment of breads was also provided and some were excellent. I counted 5 kinds.
My husband ordered the halibut and I ordered the tuna nicoise salad. A well-known food reviewer reported in Calendar that this was her favorite dish on one visit, so I felt confident. And I did get everything I expected this time, from the tiny olives to the cornichons to the little Yukon potatoes. The only thing was, there was only a small amount of a creamy dressing dabbled on the spinach leaves, and the tuna was prepared without any sort of marinade or seasoning, herbs, pepper, soy--nothing--naked. It did help that it was good tuna, and seared properly. The potatoes were a bit starchy and bland, the cubed tomatoes didnt contribute much, and I thought the tiny olives with their pits were authentic, but took a lot of effort to enjoy. The small side crock of accompanying gribiche seemed taken right out of the kitchen refrigerator so any flavor that might have had was totally chilled out of it. Luckily there were several fat Spanish sardines or anchovies draped over it which I mashed up with the spinach and that helped give some needed oomph. The report from the curmudgeon was that his halibut was good--not great. The bill I think came to the high $50s before tax/tip.
Although the meal was nothing fantastic, I could still see us coming back once or twice a year just for the great atmosphere here. Now usually given the choice between food and atmosphere I will pick food most every time, but I would make an exception for this. On a fine day I def want to sit out on that terrace that wraps around the restaurant and with one of those Bloody Marys in hand, I would be pretty happy with anything.
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