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Thanks to the L.A. Hounds who pointed me in various directions (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/998119), I had a number of good meals last week.
Gjelina for lunch: I had the anchovy burrata, which was very good. I'm not sure the roasted red peppers were necessary, but the capers/anchovy/burrata mix was great. Then had the tuna conserva sandwich (poached tuna on hearty bread with arugula, caper aioli), which was very tasty. Their housemade limeade washed it down. Full house, but not crowded. Service was good. I sat at one of the tall communal tables and had a nice view of the room.
Father's Office for dinner: First off, the decor and ambiance leave much to be desired. "Not brightly lit" is fine. "Techno funereal" is not. It might make less of a difference on a busy night, but it felt like a Eurodisco at 9 in the evening. Luckily, the food and drink vaulted that hurdle. I had the Office Burger with sweet potato fries, and it was as good as I'd heard. Washed down with two of the bartender's good rec's: Strand 24th St. Pale Ale and Highland Park Neon. I'd go back for the food and drink, but, really, off-putting feel to the place.
Ray's & Stark Bar at LACMA: The pulled pork sandwich was great; some Badoit mineral water on the side. Great people-watching spot outside. Very pleasant hostess. Excellent option for those looking to refuel in the middle of a museum binge. I also had the artisanal hot chocolate at C&M there. Good, not mind-blowing. Toasted marshmallows a nice touch, albeit a mite chewy.
Lukshon for dinner: Sat at the bar, which meant that their friendly bartender (can't recall her name) could offer tips through the meal. I opened with the lobster banh mi, which was quite tasty; very nice bread. Then had the crab fritters, which were very well done and not too heavy. Moved on to the Chiang Mai noodles, which were medium-spicy and flavorful. Not quite as good as the preceding, but decent. Then, because I needed something sweet to chase the heat had the coconut chocolate rocks, which were deconstructed Mounds, in a way, with passion fruit dots for hits of sweetness. Actually, not that coconuty, but a nice close. Had a couple of glasses of their pineapple-ginger soda, which was a nice pairing for the heat and other flavors. As with the other meals, I ate solo, so maybe going with a group would offer a broader view of the menu.
Bucato for dinner: A decent meal, though my least favorite dining experience. First off, the space is odd. The outdoor space aside, is there more to it than the counter seats and narrow booth space? I assume there is, but didn't see it. It feels pinched. And cold, not temperature-wise, but mood-wise. Like eating in the waiting room at the dentist's. The service was the least friendly of any of the five places I visited. Not rude, but 'tude. I bounced from server to server until getting the one who would serve me the rest of the meal and was fairly helpful. I opened with the Pierre Brecht Cremant d'Alsace. Very pleasant. Then had the gnocchetti with duck ragu, which was excellent. My main was the crispy polenta with mushrooms and an egg. It was good enough, but I wished I'd had the spaghetti alla chitarra as a second pasta instead. I did have a great glass of wine with my meal--the Gamba di Pernice. Very nice pairing. Then closed with the flourless chocolate torta, which was okay but unnecessary, given that I was full. I did order the filone as my bread, and I'll say at this juncture that I'm not enamored of the idea of paying $5 for a bread side. It was very nice bread, great crust, etc., and I got three decent-sized pieces, but really? You can't just give me three pieces of bread? I just can't see nickel-and-diming customers like that. It was an okay meal, but I wouldn't see myself returning with so many other options in the area.
At any rate, a generally successful trip food-wise. Again, thanks for all the great rec's from you all.
3229 Helms Ave
Los Angeles, CA
1018 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA
Los Angeles, CA
3239 Helms Ave
Culver City, CA
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