I can't seem to find a midrange restaurant in LA that I really LOVE. It seems like there are endless great ( thai, oaxacan, syrian, indian, etc) options under $40, and of course, you can go Melisse, Water Grill, etc. for a formal full blown eating extravaganza, I just can't seem to find that cozy in between, just a starter,entrees, split dessert, and nice glass of wine, not break the bank but walk away knowing you couldnt have done it better at home.
I used to love Campanile, but thats more $$$ and not cozy and friendly as it used to be.
Recently we have tried Josies, after all the great posts on this board , and found the service scattered and the meal not memorable. And Joes (an old favorite) just hasnt been great either. I could go on and list all the places I've tried lately, but my point is LA seems to have so many places where I feel I am paying WAY too much for something that's not all it's cracked up to be.
This Sat. we took an spur of the moment road trip, up the coast, wound up in Pasa Robles where we had an amazing meal at Villa Creek, a little place I have posted about on the California board. Start with a perfect little salad, I had a perfectly cooked duck breast with wild mushrooms and poblano mash, my friend had wonderful chiles stuffed with tender pork and a complex but light saucing, after waffling between that and the Buffalo Carne Asada. A nice spicy glass of rioja and a firestone beer and some perfect gelato to finish, YUM for $60. Not a mind blowing experience, just the kind of dinner that you walk away not wanting to change anything.
It reminds me of Lupa, in NY. which I love.
I will keep trying!! but for now I have no favorite restaurant in my own town and its a drag.......