I went to "Emmanuel, an American Bistro" (that's the full name) in Studio City with friends last night. Unfortunately, I had one of those dinners where almost everything goes wrong.
As soon as we were seated and menus were produced, we were offered an amuse of the cream of mushroom soup served in a stainless steel sauce dish. The salt practically overpowered the mushroom flavor. My companions were quick to note this also. We try some of the bread, one is a soft bread with the look and feel of pound cake, the other a caraway roll. My friend says, "The bread is salty, too." I say incredulously, "No...", and take a bite. It is.
I have trouble deciding between the roasted salmon, or the ribeye. I chose the latter which comes with a bed of celeric root. Not long after ordering, a couple of my companions get a simple salad of iceburg lettuce. They were able to polish this off rather quickly.
Then we wait patiently for the rest of our meals as we converse. All the while, a waiter comes every now and then dropping of a single utensil according to what we order, or refilling our water. We wait some more...and wait...and wait...until I realize it's been a good 40 minutes since the salad plates has been cleared. By now I'm trying to get the attention of the head waiter or manager who also took our orders. He never really makes eye contact with me. I decide it wouldn't be tactful to get up and ask where's our food. But when he's finally by my side, I ask if it's going to take longer. The waiter makes a comment something about it taking longer because not all of us had a first course. Huh? Dosen't make sense. But by now we get our entrees. A good hour and ten minutes after being seated.
My steak is cooked a perfect medium rare, topped with carmelized walnuts, which I don't care much for, and promptly give away. The steak is glazed with a teriyaki sauce, and there is a leaf of endive between the steak and celeric root puree. The bedding is very salty, which makes the bottom of my steak salty.
One of my friends has the seafood pot au feu, which is a bowl of various seafood and root vegetables. She notes that it is very bland. As she works down to the bottom to the broth, she finds where all the salt ended up, and it was too much. I suppose on the average, it was seasoned just right....
The dishes my other friends had were the crispy chicken, scallops on couscous, and the wild mushroom ravioli appetizer in an entree size. Fortunately, they did not have any complaints about their dishes.
The restaurant was about 2/3 full the entire night we were there, so I felt the long wait for unacceptable. We had a schedule to keep, so even though the manager passed us all dessert menus, we didn't even give it much of a chance.