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Another Kindof Downer in the Desert - Cuistot

torta basilica | May 31, 200501:00 PM

I beginning to wonder if it's me, but we just can't seem to get a consistently good meal out here. Even Sherman's hot pastrami came out cold ;-(

Anyway, Anniversary Dinner at Cuistot Friday night - very friendly on the phone & confirmed our request for patio seating. When we got there (which was late as I thought they were at the other end of El Paseo & my GPS system kept taking us to an apartment building - we had called, though), they greeted us & took us to seating us in the main restaurant, so we asked again for the patio & they said there's a cocktail party there for 60 at 9pm. It was 8:50, but I wasn't too worried, so we were sat out there. Huge restaurant, which is a concern; nice patio with big fireplace.

Fairly good service, considering we were 1 of 2 dining parties on the patio, but some blips - we had to pour almost all of our wine & beg for ice water. In his defense, he was waiting to ask us for tap or bottled, but...

This probably isn't fair, as I had an incredible dinner at Aux Lyonnais in Paris in November & ordered 2 of the same dishes. But they should at least be somewhat similiar... Husband had the recommended lobster ravioli for a started - it was swimming in a pool of grease & was so overspiced & over-cooked, it was inedible. They graciously removed it. I had the seafood quenelles in a lobster sauce - the sauce was really delicious, but the quenelles were heavy & grainy - got the spoon out & sucked up the sauce & ignored the rest. Husband ordered rack of lamb med rare - it was large - 8 small chops, but blood rare. He thought after the ravioli incident he'd better not complain anymore... I had the veal chop with wild mushrooms, which was wonderful - really did a great job on this - the sauce, oyster & other mushroms & veal were fabulous!! Nice potatoes gratin served with each. Strangely, though, a small pot of root vegetables was served on the side, with no flavoring whatsoever - they tasted boiled not roasted as claimed - no salt, no herbs, no nothing - borrring!

Tried to save room for the floating island dessert, which I love & should have listened to the waiter trying to steer us away from it, but I insisted. Thank God we shared - it was served in one of those 18" high huge joke martini glasses - really almost embarrassing. The creme Anglais was cold - yuck & so were the merengues (which actually are supposed to be slightly melting into warm creme Anglais) - did like the carmelized suger dribbled over, but that was the only part of this monstrosity we could eat. Could feel my teeth decaying & melting. 2 bites & back it went.

$200 for quenelles, 1 lamb, 1 veal, a $85 Mersault, 1 coffee & that floating island, which is was obvious we couldn't & didn't want to eat. Waiter was very friendly, but no one said a word in the fropnt as we were leaving. Still had fun, but I'm about to give up on upscale dining in the desert - always seems to disappoint.

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