I really want to like this restaurant. It's quiet. Charming. Peaceful. The service is attentive, and so polite and friendly that you'll think you've been transported to the midwest. The menu is an eclectic mix of El Salvadoran, American, and Japanese.
The food falls short, though, and I tried four different dishes, which I feel is enough to provide a fair judgement.
The mixed fries, which I'd read were good on Chowhound's board, were mostly just like ordinary French fries, but they were kind of tough and seemed over-fried. There were very few yams, and even fewer bananas (maybe four slices on the entire plate), which didn't make for much of a mix.
The next dish I tried was significantly better, and raised my hopes for the rest of the meal. The eggplant was tender but not mushy, retaining just enough bite. The sauce was sweet and had a bit of heft to it, and was a perfect match for the eggplant. I thought. After I had been eating it for a while, I realized that the dish tasted like yams.
The Mayan chicken promised to be an "extra-tender El Salvadoran dish with a mole-style sauce." The chicken was indeed extra-tender and came easily off the bone. The sauce was a little bland, and I'm not sure what it was trying to taste like.
Finally, I tried the seafood paella. The rice was overcooked and mushy, and something about the flavor just kind of rubbed me the wrong way. The presentation of the dish was well-conceived, at least--purple potatoes really brightened it up. The baby squid were very tender, and so were the calamari rings. But why the olives?
At the end of our meal, the waitress brought us almond jello on the house and encouraged us to stay as long as we wanted and enjoy ourselves. How often does that happen? The almond jello (also known as dofu) was excellent and I could have eaten plenty more. If I had paid for it though, the portion would have seemed small for the price.
I might go to Gr/eats again in spite of their culinary shortcomings, simply because everything else was so pleasant. If you've had a bad day and just want someone to be nice to you, go to Gr/eats and enjoy the peace and quiet, try something that I didn't eat (perhaps a burger or one of the specials), and let me know how it is. Or just get dessert.
Most entrees $7.50
Most appetizers and sides $4.00
Assorted sodas, coffee, and tea $1.00-2.00
Chef: Nelson Magana
2050 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
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