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Restaurants & Bars 22

Mini-reports---Langer's, Cafe Stella, Agra

rabo encendido | Mar 13, 200511:18 PM

I gotta start cooking more.

My first trip bereft of a #19. Instead, after several Hound entreaties, a simple hand-cut pastrami with swiss, on that incredible rye bread. A dab of self-applied table mustard, and it's off to the races.

Hallelujah, for I have seen the light: if it ain't pastrami, cheese, or bread, it's just white noise. I order a second sandwich to take home to ms. rabo, but only half makes it there. She is not thrilled.

CAFE STELLA---first visit
I remember a series of long-ago CH posts, passionate in their venom for this place.

I could see where people may develop some beefs. Service is efficient, but a little diffident and chilly. The wonderful space has three times too many tables crammed into it. A more peaceful and conversation-conducive experience could be had if one were to picnic under the Four-Level interchange.

But the food is terrific. Among the items I sample (from others in my party): A French Onion Soup, with nothing but pure love hidden in it's murky depths; some salmon, a couple of beurre-bathed escargot, a bit of John Dory. C'est magnifique!

But it is my Moules Frites, my Mussels from Brussels, that really kick derriere. Plump, juicy suckers in a garlic-laden opaque white broth; dark brown, crispy-to-the-last-one frites. I mow through the table bread sopping up every last bit of that broth, like Stevie Nicks at the end of an eight-ball.

Has the food here improved as of late?

AGRA CAFE---first visit
I like this place. Via a CH rec, order up a Lamb Mushroom Balti, request it spicy. Very tasty, but only mildly sweat-inducing. A Dal Makhani, rich and mild, to counter. Much more flavor and love in the food here than in the bland, dime-a-dozen Indian joints that dot Melrose.

The owner-chef comes out to greet a large party, just seated. Said folks are big fans of the chef, and came out all the way from the Westside to see what is up in the new digs. Owner-chef then comes over to us, inquiring about our meals. A very friendly guy, and judging by the size of his belly, a fan of his own cooking.

By the time we leave, every table is filled. He appears to be doing pretty well, and we'll be back to do our part.

(213) 483-8050
704 S Alvarado St
Los Angeles, CA 90057

Cafe Stella
(323) 666-0265
3932 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90029

Agra Cafe
4325 Sunset Blvd.

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