Just wanted to post on a couple of recent eating experiences at these two places.
I still really like Violet, and think it's a great value for the food quality and service. I went for dinner with two good friends last Friday, and we had/shared a number of dishes. Finally tried the macaroni and cheese with serrano ham which was truly awesome, as were the garlic (I think it was garlic) fries that came with a couple of great dipping sauces (one curry based and the other a tangy aioli). We also split the cheese plate and a small side salad. I liked the selection of cheeses and the dressing on the salad was a tasty vinaigrette.
The venison is no longer on the menu, so I had the duck which was excellent, dining pals had the seared ahi and the lamb chops, both of which were pronounced very fine. I think the winners of the meal were the fries and the mac n cheese however.
We initially ordered glasses of wine (jekel and Hess Collection chards) but when I mentioned that I liked the (cheaper) Jekel over the Hess, the server took it away and brought me a glass of Jekel (we later ordered a bottle of it, in addition to glasses of red to go with the lamb and duck) and no charge for the Hess, even though I had drunk half of it and it wasn't off.
For dessert we split (yes we three women were finally FULL)the apple tart tatin which was one of the better ones I've had recently.
Service was markedly better than previously -- friendly and professional.
Not having had enough to drink, we stopped at 310 Lounge and Bistro for $10 martinis and called it a night and a hangover.
Today for lunch we ventured from Monterey Park worksite to Sushi Gen, having read so much about it on this board recently. The place was packed with a substantial wait for tables -- we sat at the sushi bar immediately (though they require a 4 item per person minimum) -- had several orders each of maguro, hamachi, salmon, albacore, raw sweet shrimp (fried heads came later), and yellowtail and scallion rol. All these dishes were excellent. The shrimp was particularly good. One of the chefs showed us 5 plates of the lunch special he was about to set out and said "we serve 350 of these a day." They looked very good, and I think I'll try that next time.
Price came to about $35 per person.
I remember this mall from when Grill Lyon was there (I didn't realize it had died) and there is also a European style bakery/cafe called Frances' if you're in the mood for something sweet after all the fish.