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Amalfi on LaBrea recap...

ladiner | Nov 20, 2003 02:40 PM

Arrived on time for a 7:30pm reservation. Was taken to a table for two in the front part of the restaurant, which is more casual, bistro like than the rear area. No tablecloths, wood tables, all very close to the bar. The rear area has white linen tablecloths, candles on the table, etc.

The table was between two other two-tops with very little room in between. My dining partner is rather tall so I asked if there was another table. We were taken to a two-top in the rear area. We chose that table even though it was placed up against a pole and directly in front of the kitchen/bussing area. It was the lesser of two evils.

We were not greeted by a server upon seating, so we began to review the menus. We were able to talk about some of the choices and actually make a decision and still no greeting by a server. I caught the attention of the busboy, which wasn’t difficult as they were standing about 3 feet from us, and asked for some water. He poured us water and set down a basket of bread: some thin, soft flat bread and some chewy cibbata like bread with an olive oil dipping bowl. The bread was good and warm and welcomed, as we were hungry.

The server showed up about this time and asked if we had time to look at the menu. I hate bad service….so I was a little upset and it showed. I told her that we had but wanted to order something from the bar first before ordering. She said oh, okay like that wasn’t any concern to her. She took our order and when she returned with our cocktails she asked again if we were ready. I really wanted to walk out and back in and start over as this was just not the experience I wanted to have this evening.

I had to ask her if there were any specials…which there were of course. She recited them reluctantly. As it were, I ordered a non-special, the prime rib of beef. She said, oh we don’t have that anymore. I laughed and thought, of course you don’t. I let my dining partner order: the Cornish hen. I ordered the corkscrew pasta with chicken. We both ordered the special salad to start which was Belgian endive, arugula, and greens in a light lemon vinagarette.

The salads arrived instantly as though they were prepared. We asked for more bread and it never showed up. The salads were very good. The greens were chilled and the dressing very light but flavorful. A bit bland but a good started salad nonetheless. Our entrees arrived just as we finished the salads. They have a team approach to serving so the entrée server was a little surprised that our salad plates were still in front of us. He motioned to the busboy who removed them.

My pasta was very filling and rich. The homemade pasta was a bit chewy but very fresh. The chicken was smoked and diced throughout the pasta along with asparagus and mushroom pieces. All in all, good, but wouldn’t order it again. My dining partner’s hen was excellent! It was served with vegetables and sautéed spinach. He really enjoyed it.

Our server never once checked on us during the meal. We would have loved another cocktail and more bread, but decided that we were just fortunate to have received our meal. After our plates were cleared, she came by to ask if we wanted to hear the desserts. I let her recite them: cheesecake, berry tart, lemon sorbet and assorted gelatos. We declined. She put the check on the table and said, okay. I could have sworn we had just dined in a diner!

All in all, the good was good, but the service was perhaps some of the worst I have ever had. It became laughable and not worth mentioning to the manager, as the prices were very reasonable so we felt that despite the horrible service, the food was a good deal. I recommend Amalfi for the food, but do not go for any type of wonderful dining experience.

We went upstairs to Room 5 to check things out. A nice, cozy club where you can order from the same menu. We managed two seats in the back and ordered a cocktail from the server who was very friendly…she needs to work downstairs. The bill for the night was Janet Robin, Garrison Starr and Jay Nash. We really enjoyed the music and left around 11:30pm.

Amalfi..not again.
Room 5….worth a second trip for sure.

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