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Restaurants & Bars 2

PATINA, NOE & CINCH What a day...

cvc | Nov 12, 200310:54 AM

Yesterday was my day to go without coffee, yogurt in the morning and finish with some leftovers in late evening. So much for the best laid plans. I left my office to get a schedule for the concert hall before noon and found myself having an impromptu lunch at the new PATINA. The room, as many might say, sings and puts a smile on your face with its lightness and sense of fun. Started with a pumpkin soup for $10 that had just the right flavor and silkiness. A delicately breaded Skatewing for $22 with Roasted Beets and Yukon Potatoe in a Cumin Vinaigrette was both sensational and simple. A Chocolate creation was enough for two and one of the very best I've ever had but I wouldn't spoil the fun by telling you more about this one. Worth every penny. The winelist is more of a catalogue and impressive in its content. Service was plentiful and caring.

An early meeting led to a bite at NOE that started with the much talked about Mimosa Salad. Again, simple, fresh, flavorful. A great take on the original Cobb Salad ($12) in my opinion as an appetizer. The mango frappe shot that accompanies is fun and refreshing. The menu has ambitious offerings but I opted for a terric Rigatoni with Lamb Sausage, Tomato and Reggiano for $16. The service was attentive and enthusiastic and a small piece of a wonderful English Cheddar, Sage Derby, arrived right after the entree as an enticement for that course. However, as usual, I opted for the sweeter finale and a light and satisfying Lemon Sabayon with Fresh Berries was perfect.

Heading home around 10pm another friend said let's meet at CINCH in Santa Monica in the old Verdi space. Wasn't this going to be a Celestino offspring? Hip and happening, this place is, frankly, pretty exciting. A visual knockout that segues, I'm guessing, into a late night bar scene. But at 10:30 it felt mostly like a restaurant with unexpectedly good food. We asked about the chef, Chris Behr(?), who is from Austrailia I think and looks all of 16. An Arugula, Pear and Parmesan Salad at $9 was fantastic and my friend was very happy with his Tuna Roll. Another pasta, this one with Lobster and spice of varying heat was wonderful and, I think, $16. My friend's glazed Salmon was great. Finished with, what else, an extraordinary chocolate combination that included a small warm dark Chocolate cake and intense Chocolate ice cream on Ganache. Service was friendly and attentive both at the bar and the table.

Maybe because it was all so spontaneous each of these three restaurants impressed in their delivery. Can't wait to go back to all of them. Just not in the same day.

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