Some of you were interested in a Cafe A-Le report. First off, the service was good, since I ended up going with someone who knew the chef pretty well. But I saw his interactions with some 'regulars' and it seemed pretty friendly. There were only a few people for lunch so there was only 1 waiter -- I don't think that he was doing anything but his job.
On to the food. I didn't think that it was THAT great. It was okay. I admit that I'm a harsh critic but I didn't say that it was bad either. At this point in life, I like flavors and dishes to stand out -- inventive dishes. All of it seems pretty standard 'cuisine nouvelle'. The chef (Mike Wei, btw) recommended the Chilean Sea bass. I also tried the Chipotle chicken.
Mike did say something about how some relative of the owners (?) of Patina has come quite a bit and either this relative or another group of high end people have requested cooking classes. So for you closet chefs, private culinary classes are available, in his kitchen!
The atmosphere is nice though. The prices are decent too...like 12-24 for dinner main entrees, less for lunch...
The creme brulee was pretty good --maybe it's because I haven't had in a long time.