An emergency trip to the Apple Store in Monterey’s Del Monte Center led us to a late lunch last month at Lalla Grill (across from the theatre). This is a sister restaurant to Elli’s in Salinas, and places a greater emphasis on local, organic sourcing.
I did not expect to find 50 bottles of wine on Enomatic behind an LA-glitz style bar in a shopping mall in Monterey. There’s also an outdoor patio that’s screened off from the parking lot.
A complimentary dish of housemade chips soon appeared. We liked the taro ones (speckled) the best. We'll have to return for happy hour (see menu card).
Mom had the PL Bar Ranch organic burger, $9.50. This featured a nice whole wheat roll (probably house-baked), nearly a half-pound of very lean grassfed organic beef from a local ranch, and fries. A lot for the money. The menu offers various meat options for other burgers too.
For me, a “small plate” turned out to be the much bigger than expected Monterey Bay calamari salad, $7. Bountiful with arugula, tender squid bodies and tentacles, marinated carrots, chunks of waxy potatoes, stuffed olives, grape tomatoes, with a garlicky dressing and herbed toast. This was more than enough for my mid-day meal.
With all those wines available by the glass, I couldn’t leave without a taste of something. Wine can be ordered by the glass or 2 ounce taste. I had a taste portion of the Boekenoogen “Santa Lucia Highlands” Chardonnay, a local wine to go with my local seafood. The zippy acidity complimented the calamari salad well.
Our server was in training, under the watchful eye of a more senior employee. I did take the opportunity to remind him to hold the stemware by the stem and not the bowl when presenting it to me at the table. The staffers are very friendly but a bit absent, tending to gather in one corner of the room visiting with each other and not paying attention to the customers. The hardworking busser cleared out plates, refilled water glasses and made several trips to retrieve wait staff when their tables needed them. Without his watchful eye on the room, things could have gone very awry. I hope that the waiters are tipping him out, he was doing their work.
1415 Del Monte Ctr, Monterey, CA 93940
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