Spur of the moment dinner tonight at GReats on Sawtelle. I've been putting off eating there, b/c the room looks so dismal from outside, and there are so many other good spots within a block of there. I've stopped by to read the menu at least 4 or 5 times and opted to go elsewhere. But tonight, it just seemed right.
So...we stepped inside, and I was almost instantly convinced that we'd made a good choice. The music and the art somehow mesh w. the subdued green flourescent lighting and the retro chairs and stark tables. And beautiful fresh, exotic, fragrance-free flowers on each table seal the deal.
Xeroxed menus hit the table. Odd order (entrees first, starters second, then drinks and dessert). But also oddly alluring.
Sweet and sour tofu meatballs. That's right. It's tofu, shaped and seared like a meatball. And then served in a simple orangey s&s sauce w. a bit of fire. Can't imagine ever wanting to try these, but for some reason, tonight I ate and liked them.
Veggie fried rice. Really good. Smoky vegetables, salty rice, nice spicy undertones, and some sliced wild mushrooms (maybe shiitakes). Usually I'd want shrimp in my fried rice, but the economics involved didn't make anny sense. $4 for a half order, but add $2.50 if you want to add shrimp. But a full order w. shrimp would only be $7.50. I realize we're talking about A DOLLAR, but it just sounded wonky, so I opted out.
Burger. Thick angus patty. Nicely cooked, though served kind of "warmish" rather than really hot (like when cooked over a big fire). Nice pointy roll, slice of jarlsberg, sauteed onions, light greens (arugula?), some mayo. This burger does what it's supposed to, and a bit more....because it comes with "MIXED FRIES." Mixed fries are potato, sweet potato, and, wait for it....banana slices. I'm not one for sweet potato fries, because they're never quite crispy enough, but I can look past that, b/c the spuds here were EXCELLENT and the bananas were interesting and tasty.
The sweet, older servers are extremely friendly and efficient. No BS attitude in this spot whatsoever.
In all, I have to say GReats earned my respect tonight. I might not be there every day, but I'll definitely be back. See you there.