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Grog | Dec 30, 200310:43 AM

Our dinner Sat evening turned out to be a surprise for my b-day. My wife set up dinner for 8, unfortunately in the back room, but this was the only real let down. Let me start by saying that Justin is one of the best wait staff I've encountered. He is knowledgeable, witty and very attentive. He made the evening all the better.

On to the food. Unfortunately, I did not try all the dishes ordered, but those that I did were for the most part exceptional. I started with the Wild Mushroom Salad with Mushroom Tart. Warm wild mushrooms on a blend of greens with a light vinaigrette. The tart was quiche like and delicious. Other sampled starters included Roasted Beet Salad (please see the attached link for the components for all dishes), Potato crusted Goat Cheese Salad. Others had the Butter Lettuce Salad and Crab Salad. Of all the starters, my friend mentioned the crab salad as not being too spectacular. Everything I tried was terrific. With the starters we had a carafe of '97 Baumard Savennieres, which was very nice and generally matched well with the starters.

The main courses were the star attraction and, for me, likely the best dish of '03. I chose the Beef Three Ways. This included short ribs on polenta, beef cheeks with a horseradish-creme fraiche and filet with blue cheese butter. The aromatics coming off my plate were amazing and igniting my Pavlovian instincts. Which one to start with? I took a little bite of the short rib. Good choice. The ribs (two of them) were perfectly cooked, fall of the bone outstanding. The polenta was creamy and rich and paired perfectly with the ribs. Next up the beef cheeks. Not my favorite cut of choice, but the kitchen managed to make the cheeks better than any I've tasted. Again the meat just crumbled when prodded by my fork. The horseradish was light, yet possessing that horseradish bite. My filet was cooked perfectly medium rare. I tasted the Prime New York Steak with red wine reduction, The Day Boat Scallops and the Roast Duck. Other choices were the Rack of New Zealand Venison and the Chicken. The chicken looked really good and my friend said it was great. For dinner I brought 2 wines, the '94 Caymus CS and a '99 Pegau CNdP.

Though we were all very full, we had two birthdays at our table. For the table we had them bring the cookies and bowl of milk (not too sure what it was, but it tasted like the left over milk at the bottom of your cereal bowl) and the apple tart. Not being a big fan of dessert, I'll just say the table finished them rather quickly.

Though I had wanted to try the tasting menu, the evening's meal was, for me, perfect. I had enjoyed Neil Fraser's cooking at Boxer and looked forward to trying Grace for some time. Some say that his cooking can be too complex and excessive. At Boxer, some of his dishes may have fit this description. However, at Grace, Neil has found his stride. The menu is well thought and diverse. Nothing was out of balance and I think Grace will be around for a long time. I would not hesitate to recommend Grace to anyone seeking a fabulous meal.


7360 Beverly Blvd.

Our dinner for 8 (8 starters, 8 mains, 1 purchased carafe of wine, 2 bottles brought in, several coffees and soft drinks) with tax/tip (20%) was $75/pp
Corkage: 15/btl (Reidel style stems)

Link: http://www.gracerestaurant.com

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