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My Weekend in Food: Capsule Reviews of Lazy Ox, Little Next Door, Umami Burger, Bottega Louie, and Tavern

aching | Dec 13, 201012:06 PM

I've been feeling a little ho-hum about the LA restaurant scene lately, but my mama was in town this weekend for a visit, and when mama arrives, the eating begins! Of our five meals, all five were good to great, which is a pretty impressive run, I'd say. Here are the reviews:

Lazy Ox Canteen - I've been to Lazy Ox half a dozen times for lunch, but this was my first dinner (on Friday night). I'd previously been frustrated at lunch not to be able to order all of the delectable things off the chalkboard, so now that I could, I went for it! We ordered: chicharrones skewers, fig & persimmon salad, creamy farro with bone marrow butter, broccoli rapini, and braised veal with potato salad. All five dishes were excellent, and each one offered a very distinct and unique flavor profile, so the cumulative effect was extremely satisfying. My favorite was the creamy farro, which had an earthy, slightly bitter flavor that was unusual and intense - and delicious! Service was excellent. Also, since the night was so incredibly balmy, we sat out on the sidewalk patio, which nicely solved the noise problem (it IS loud in there!).

The Little Next Door - We had brunch here, sharing the spinach omelet and the ham eggs benedict. Although the omelet was perfectly good, the standout was the eggs benedict, which was served on toasted brioche and used thinly chopped ham instead of the usual Canadian bacon. We sat on the patio, which was lovely, and enjoyed the great service and the cute children of the other diners.

Umami Burger (Los Feliz) - We met friends here for a quick dinner before a movie. We ate at the bar and had a lot of fun chatting with the bartenders (there were two working and two who were apparently just hanging out). They recommended Matilda beer to my mom, the Hatch burger to me, and the pastrami burger to my friend - and all three of us loved what we got. We had the thin fries and sweet potato fries too, and it was nice to see that the portions were a bit bigger than they used to be, as was the amount of ketchup provided. My friends, who hadn't been before, pronounced it better than Father's Office, which they love.

Bottega Louie - We go to BL for coffee and pastries all the time, so no surprises here - but I do have to give a special shout-out to the cranberry scone. It was the first time I had had it, and it's a winner - very tender, and not too sweet. Great.

Tavern - We had a late Sunday lunch in the Larder. I'm a big Suzanne Goin fan, particularly AOC, but I hadn't been to Tavern due to the very mixed reviews and my somewhat negative feelings about Brentwood. However, we had just been up to the Getty Center and it seemed like a good fit. Since it was about half an hour before the kitchen reopened, we ordered a "Larder Plate" (cheese and charcuterie) and a trio of cold salads: farro, Israeli couscous, and brussels sprouts. Then we waited - and waited - and waited. I don't know what happened, but it took about half an hour for the food to come out, which is particularly surprising given that there was no cooking involved. Furthermore, when I finally went back to the counter to inquire, the woman there seemed singularly unconcerned about our wait - no apology or anything. Nonetheless, the food was very good - the cheese and charcuterie was generously-portioned and very delicious, and the salads were great (although they would have been even better at room temperature rather than chilled). I really loved the ambiance - okay, it may be a bit Restoration Hardware for some, but it was an extremely attractive place to eat, and the tented area in the restaurant was gorgeous - I would love to come back and have a full dinner sometime.

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Bottega Louie
700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

Tavern
11648 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049

Umami Burger
4655 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Lazy Ox Canteen
241 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

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