I end up going here for a semi-special night every 3 or 4 months and I have to say I find it consistently pleasing. The waiters are always excellent and never, ever pushy and seem to genuinely identify with diner's pov and thus treat you with restraint, ease and respect. The foie gras was decadent, sweet, crunchy and slippery and melting all at once. Soft shell crab was briny, crispy and succulent over a bed of chopped, cooked root vegetables and a lobster broth that was sopped with buttered brioche bread. lastly we shared a perfectly cooked filet of copper river salmon over white and green asparagus. The place is mellow and tony at the same time -- an unusual and good combination.
Royal Caribe Cafe
An odd and quirky Jamaican place on Braodway at 14th in SM. I loved the funky, island atmosphere that truly transports you to another place. It's all little rooms, odd benches and withwashed walls. Wish that the food were equal to the vibe. The jerk pork ribs were tasty but who knows how long they were cooked; the bones could be split apart with a fork. Yikes. The jerk chicken was flavorful but the white meat was decidedly dry. The fish was inedible. It seemed to be a mackeral or some oily fish but it was rank and full of tiny bones. The dirty rice is tasty and plantains are always welcomed in my book, though these weren't especially good. I wish I could love this place but I don't.
Le Saigon Cafe
Best cheap lunch on the westside. Always fresh, quick and cheap. Lately I've been having the what I think is #11 -- sauteed chicken with rice and vegetables. I've never had a bad dish. Why can't I briing my own wine?! That would make dinner a realistic possibility. The hardest part about eating here is avoiding the imperial rolls -- after you've had them once you'll need them again; they don't exxactly make for a productive afternoon.
Good home cookin'. Love the staff, the warmth and the neighborhood feel that is growning harder and harder to find in this world. The food is basic and okay but that's enough -- as Hippocrates says, First do no harm. A smile is often the best sauce.
Ballona Fish Market
An attractive space despite the awful and nearly repulsive mall/location. They've somehow managed a decent interior that makes great use of natural light. The menu is simple, slightly homespun and straighfoward. They're accomodating and the prices seem fair. I had the seared tuna sandwich which, while tasty, was swamped in the brioche bread that simply wasn't substantive enough to hold together. Interesting concept, terrible in practice. My friend had the seafood stew which looked fresh and he said it was good but the portion was very nouvelle (ie. tiny) I like the feel, trust the product but wouldn't steer to far to get here but if you'r ein the area it's one of the better spots. A lot of potential not fully tapped. I had the crab cakes last time and they were pretty but still not great enough to order on teh next visit, though they did seem stuffed with good, fresh crabmeat.