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Restaurants & Bars 9

An Ode to Lyon

Peter S. | Oct 21, 2005 02:29 PM

So you enter Honda Plaza stuck between Little Tokyo, the Artist's District, and near skid row. You get out of your car and see the line at Sushi Gen (what are people thinking, this is like the crazy fish of downtown la?). Little do those people hungrily waiting in line for Gen, that basically right next door is a true gem named Grill Lyon. Now, Lyon is busy for lunch due to the lunchtime prices but at dinner usually there is not a soul in sight, which has got to change. Lyon has some of the best cooking in town at it's price point and weirdly it used to exist in this mini-mall years ago. Some of the dishes are beyond swell, others are just good, but more times than not this place hits home runs out the ballpark night after night without any hoopla. Now there are some faults to this place, I'm not going to exaggerate, but I for one am glad it's around. Now the menu lists stuff such as sauteed foie gras with apples/port sauce, shrimp ravioli, blue cheese salad, and scallops provencale as appetizers. For main dishes, there are steaks including a filet mignon in sauce bordeaux or ginger and kobe style prime rib in a sauce bordeaux, a maddeningly good duck breask in grande marnier sauce (perfectly grilled and perfectly sauced), lamb chops in a white pepper sauce (also truly outstanding), and nice fish dishes too. The menu is limited to a page, and the wine list is sort of uniteresting, but the duck breast is one of the best if not the best around town with it's slightly sweet orange sauce far from cloying and the lamb chops (four to an order) that are perfectly grilled and simply divine in retrospect. The preparations are not fancy here, just good food, served in the simplest possible preparations without an excess of butter known to classical french cuisine. All by way of an experienced French-trained Japanese chef getting wholeheartedly back into the game. Now the faults. Some of the dish are simple and they are not gargantuatan in size like places like the Cheeseake Factory or the Ivy, but really who want that when the food is actually delicious. There are remnants of nouvelle cuisine here afterall. The surroundings are reminscent of a simple cafe, but still nicely appointed. Maybe not supremely date-night oriented but this is where you go for good food. Now why aren't people rushing this restaurant for dinner? Because Sushi Gen is next door, and people would rather have subpar sushi rather than delicious lightened french food. Also, the prices are more expensive at dinner than at lunch so some are afraid to try. As a side note, dinner is definitely more expensive but exoribantly more delicious and finely tuned in preparation. It would be sad to see this place go, do support it, or give it a try. I know it's not in the trendiest neibhorhood nor has the hollywood word but it's very good.

GRILL LYON
424 East 2nd St., Honda Plaza,
(213) 620-0050
Chef Matsuno.

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