My Restaurant Tips

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Lunch at Langer’s Deli on August 25, 2007

May 3rd, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Langer’s Deli

Langer’s Deli
704 South Alvarado
Los Angeles, CA 90057
USA

+1 (213) 483-8050
www.langersdeli.com

Deli

Restaurant: 2/5

Langer’s Deli is located at the corner of MacArthur park, in the heart of Los Angeles. While the retro look has it charm, the restaurant could do with an update. Parking in the area is difficult, so you should take advantage of the fact that Langer’s Deli give one hour of parking validation.

Service: 2/5

Service was good but totally unremarkable. An effort on that side would be appreciated.

Food: 3/5

I had the very famous number 19. Number 19 is a pastrami sandwich with swiss cheese, cole slaw and a Russian style dressing. The bread was toasted in a way to make it crackling outside and tender in the middle. The very good cole slaw was home made and the pastrami, thick sliced, was warm and delicious. Averall, one of the best pastrami sandwich I had. You should note that the semi-sour pickles served on the side were equally good.

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $15, including drinks (ice tea) and tip. At $15, Langer’s Deli offers both a good value for money and a really authentic deli experience. I will certainly come back.

→ No CommentsTags: California · Los Angeles · United States

Lunch at The Restaurant (Hotel Bel-Air) on August 19, 2007

May 2nd, 2015 by philippe · 1 Comment

The Restaurant
Hotel Bel-Air
701 Stone Canyon Road
Los Angeles, CA 90077
USA

+1 (310) 472-1211
www.hotelbelair.com

Contemporary French cuisine

Restaurant: 5/5

The Restaurant is part of Hotel Bel-Air, a boutique hotel located in the quiet Stone Canyon, in the heart of Bel-Air. You can eat either in the dining room or on the totally delightful terrace. Both are very comfortable. Parking is never a problem as the Hotel Bel-Air offers complimentary valet parking.

Service: 2/5

I am a frequent customer of The Restaurant and I usually enjoy very good service there. Unfortunately, this time, the service was below par. First of all, I had extreme difficulties to reserve a table. Expecting an overbooked place, I was very surprised to find half of the tables empty when arriving. The service was pretty slow and, for a restaurant of that class, it was disappointing to see that many stains on our waiter outfit.

Food: 3/5

I started with smoked salmon. The salmon was thin sliced, served with eggs and bacon toasts which were prepared in a very creative way, looking more like a salad. Both the salmon and the toasts were very good.

As main course, I had the Chilean sea bass. The sea bass was very well executed, being completely cooked and still very moist. It was served with fresh lentils and a bit of salad. I truly enjoyed the combination of sea bass and lentils.

For desert, I had a molten chocolate cake, served with vanilla ice cream. While the chocolate cake was very good, it was, in term of execution, a bit below the starter and the main course. It seems to me that less attention is given to desert.

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $80, including drinks (mimosa, sparkling water, espresso) and tip. The Restaurant is certainly not a cheap place but considering the location, the comfort and the food it offers good value for money. The terrace make it my favorite brunch place. I will certainly come back.

→ 1 CommentTags: California · Los Angeles · United States

Lunch at Le Petit Four on August 18, 2007

May 1st, 2015 by philippe · 1 Comment

Le Petit Four

Le Petit Four
8654 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
USA

+1 (310) 652-3863
www.lepetitfour.net

International cuisine

Restaurant: 2/5

Le petit four is located at the very hip sunset plaza. You can eat either inside or outside. Inside, the restaurant is quite comfortable. Outside, while the terrace is significantly less comfortable (cramped tables, noisy street) the atmosphere below the yellow awnings is very pleasant. Don’t be surprise if a tourist bus stop by for pictures, Le petit four is a favorite eating spot of the entertainment industry.

Service: 2/5

While the service was relatively good, they certainly could do with more staff.

Food: 3/5

I started with a tomato gazpacho. The gazpacho was served mostly blended in a large soup plate. Lightly spicy, it was very refreshing.

As main course, I had the onglet (French for hanger steak). The onglet was served with an excellent shallot and wine sauce and accompanied by French fries with herbes de Provence. Served medium rare to keep it tender, the meat was tender and tasty. The Herbes de provence (a blend of dried aromatic herbs invented in the 1970s in Provence) add a very nice twist to the French fries.

Le Petit Four - Hanger Steak

For desert, we were asked to choose from their very large desert platter. I had a very classic creme caramel. The creme caramel, small and tasty, was very good. A light refreshing end to the meal.

Le Petit Four - Creme Caramel

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $40, including drinks (ice tea, espresso) and tip. Considering the neighborhood and the food, Le petit four offers a very good value for money. I’ve been going there regularly and it is still one of my favorite brunch spot. See you there!

→ 1 CommentTags: California · Los Angeles · United States

Dinner at Chaya Brasserie on August 17, 2007

April 30th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Chaya Brasserie

Chaya Brasserie
8741 Alden Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90048
USA

+1 (310) 859-8833
www.thechaya.com

Fusion French – Japanese

Restaurant: 3/5

Chaya Brasserie is located in heart of WeHo (West Hollywood). Because of it’s proximity to popular places on Robertson boulevard like The Ivy, parking in the area can be difficult. A good way around is to use their valet parking. The restaurant is very comfortable with a nice Asian themed decor. While the decor is very nice, more attention should have been put to the acoustic of the place as it is very noisy for a restaurant.

Service: 3/5

The service was very good. The staff made every effort to accommodate us. One thing, they could do with a bit more staff on busy nights like Saturday.

Food: 3.5/5

As main course, we ordered 3 portions of the chef entrée selection to be shared between the 2 of us. The entrée selection included escargots cooked with mushrooms in a traditional butter parsley and garlic sauce, seared tuna sashimi, jumbo shrimp cocktail, egg rolls, fried calamari and shrimp rolls. This allowed us to tried a wide variety of food. Everything was very good with a special mention for the seared tuna sashimi that was clearly above everything else.

As desert, we shared a desert sampler. The desert sampler included a molten chocolate cake served with a red fruits coulis, a coffee creme brulee and a kind of ladyfinger cake with chocolate and ice cream. Again, everything was very good. I particularly appreciated the molten chocolate cake.

Value for money: 3.5/5

Around $50, including drinks (cocktail, sparking water, espresso) and tip. You should expect to pay a bit more depending on what you order. Still, considering the very hip neighborhood and the food, Chaya Brasserie offers very good value for money. I will definitely come back.

→ No CommentsTags: California · Los Angeles · United States

Dinner at Skycity at the Needle on August 13, 2007

April 29th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Skycity at the Needle

SkyCity at the Needle
400 Brod Street
Seattle, WA 98109
USA

+1(206) 905-2100
www.spaceneedle.com/restaurant

Steakhouse and seafood

Restaurant: 3.5/5

The location of SkyCity, on the top of the space needle is probably one of the best in Seattle. The view from that rotating restaurant is simply fantastic. The restaurant itself, with it 70s decor, is comfortable. On the down side, toilets are in the staircase, shared with the observation deck.

Service: 1.5/5

The service was alright. Not only smiling is optional at SkyCity but we felt pushed out of the door: The bill arrived on our table, without been requested, as soon as the desert was served.

Food: 1.5/5

As starter, I had the freshly prepared soup of the day. The soup, tomato and rice, was good but totally unexceptional. The kind that you will get in any decent dinner.As main course, I had the artichoke, fennel, mushroom, cipollini onion, sun-dried tomato sofrito and manchego cheese Tarte Tatin. The tarte tatin was served with a scoop of truffle ice cream. What I was expecting was a nice savory tarte, with nicely caramelized vegetables. Well, I was extremely disappointed. Not only the lack of salt is pretty evident but the amount of sugar used denies you any taste of the vegetables. The truffle ice cream is a low grade industrial vanilla ice cream mixed with with truffles. I would be really surprised if anyone is able to taste truffles in it. In one word: awful.

Skycity at the Needle - Lunar Orbiter

As desert, I had their signature lunar orbitor. The lunar orbitor is a Sundae, presented on the top of a dry ice bowl spitting a cloud of smoke (very unique and very fun). Unfortunately, passed the presentation, that desert is very disappointing. Cheap industrial ice cream topped with as cheap industrial chocolate sauce. You’ll get a better sundae at Mc Donald…

Value for money: 1/5

Around $70, including drinks (ice tea and espresso) and tip. The minimum food charge of $35 per guest give you a clear sense of their priority: make money. Neither food or service are priorities at SkyCity. That place should definitively been avoided until a drastic change happen. In the mean time, if you want to enjoy the view, buy a ticket for the observation deck and bring your own food.

→ No CommentsTags: Seattle · United States · Washington

Dinner at Hot Wings Cafe on August 16, 2007Hot Wings Cafe

April 28th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Hot Wings Cafe

Hot Wings Cafe
7011 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
USA

+1 (323) 930-1233

Fast food

Restaurant: 1.5/5

Hot Wings Cafe is located in the heart of Hollywood, not far from the very famous Pink’s hot dogs. The restaurant is very casual, so don’t expect much comfort. The decor could really do with an update. Additionally, parking is notoriously difficult in the area, mainly because of the proximity of Pink’s hot dogs.

Service: 3/5

The service was good. While she’s not an accomplished professional, our waitress took good care of us and made genuine efforts to please us.

Food: 2.5/5

Of course, going to a place named Hot Wings Cafe, we had Buffalo wings for dinner. The wings, served with curly fries were perfectly cooked, crispy outside and tender inside. The sauce was hot with the right amount of chili for me. I was feeling the heat while still able to continue eating wings. This is definitely the place to eat Buffalo wings in Los Angeles.

Value for money: 4/5

Around $15, including drinks (beer) and tip. At $15, Hot Wings Cafe definitely offers very good value for money. If the decor put you off, you can still order wings to go.

→ No CommentsTags: California · Los Angeles · United States

Lunch at Copacabana on August 12, 2007

April 27th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Copacabana

Copacabana
1520 1/2 pike place
Seattle, WA 98101
USA

+1 (206) 622-6359

Bolivian Cuisine

Restaurant: 2/5

Copacabana is a very casual restaurant located in pike place market. The tables are on a terrace on the first floor of a building, giving you a nice overlooking view of the market. The restaurant is very casual, so don’t expect great comfort here. Still, it really fits the bill as a market restaurant.

Service: 3/5

The service was good. Our waitress made genuine efforts to please us.

Food: 2.5/5

I ordered a paella. With the paella came a small salad as starter (lettuce, carrots and tomatoes). While the presentation of the salad was the most basic, it was good. The paella was very good. apart the shrimps that were a bit dry.

Value for money: 4/5

Around $25, including drinks (sangria and espresso) and tip. Considering the food and the location, Copacabana is a good value for money. I will come back.

→ No CommentsTags: Seattle · United States · Washington

Dinner at Aux Pieds Dans L’Eau on July 31, 2007

April 26th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Aux Pieds Dans L’Eau
623, chemin de la Plage
69270 Rochetaillée Sur Saone
France

+33 (0) 4 72 27 85 72
French Cuisine

Restaurant: 2/5

Aux Pieds Dans L’Eau is a guinguette, a very casual outdoor restaurant near the Saone river. The location is great and perfectly fits the bill but don’t expect great comfort. One sour note, there is a train track nearby. Hopefully, trains are not that frequent.

Service: 3/5

It took a bit of time for the aperitifs to come, but, apart that, the service was good. Our waiter was running all over the place to satisfy the numerous tables he had in charge. He probably could have done with a bit of help.

Food: 2/5

I started with the Pâté en croute (pate covered with a crust and cooked in the oven). The pate was served with figue jam and dry apricots. While rustic, it was very good.As main course, I ordered the quintessential guinguette dish: frog legs. If you never had frog legs, you’re probably have a vision very different from what the reality is. To be honest, it’s a bit like chicken. What make the difference is how you cook them. In this instance, the frog legs were cooked with the traditional garlic, parsley and butter sauce. While the meat was crispy on the outside and tender inside as it should be, the sauce was too oily and a bit too bland. Salt and pepper would have been helpful here. Good but somewhat disappointing.

As desert, I had half of a Saint-Marcellin cheese. Saint-Marcellin is a small local cheese produce with non pasteurized milk. If you never had non pasteurized milk cheese, Saint-Marcellin is probably not for you. Simply served with a salad, it was a bit pungent and about medium strength. A bit more salad would have been nice but the cheese was exactly the way I like it.

Value for money: 2.5/5

Around $30, including drinks (white wine and espresso) and tip. While you can probably find better value for money around, the overall experience was certainly pleasant. In a guinguette, food is not the most important thing, the atmosphere is. So, I’m on the fence with Aux Pieds Dans L’Eau. I may go back there.

→ No CommentsTags: France · Lyon · Rochetaillée Sur Saone

Dinner at L’Auberge Du Pont De Collonges (Paul Bocuse) on August 1, 2007

April 25th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

L’Auberge Du Pont De Collonges (Paul Bocuse)
40 Quai de la plage
69660 Collonges Au Mont D’Or
France

+33 (0) 4 72 42 90 90
www.bocuse.fr

French Cuisine

Restaurant: 5/5

L’Auberge Du Pont De Collonges is located north of Lyon, on the banks of the Saone river. The restaurant is extremely comfortable. From the fine tablecloths to the crystal glasses, everything is, as you would expect from Paul Bocuse, perfect.

Service: 4.5/5

In line with the French tradition, the service is very formal. Our waiters and our sommelier were continuously taking care of us without being overly present. When asked, they provided extremely detailed descriptions of the dishes and expert advice on wine pairing and cheese. My only disappointment was not be able to get a menu in English for my American friends.

Food: 5/5

I started with the Risotto. The risotto was served with crayfish and a Nantua sauce (a crayfish based sauce). Both the taste and the texture of the risotto were perfects. The crayfish were extremely tender and their flavor was certainly enhanced by the Nantua sauce.As main course, I had the fillet of beef Rossini. The fillet of beef, topped by a piece of lightly seared foie gras, was served with vegetables and a Périgueux sauce (Madeira and truffles). The beef was so tender that I used a blunt knife rather than a steak knife to cut it. Perfectly cooked, it was juicy and flavorful. The foie gras and the sauce were a perfect complement.

A judicious agreement with my left neighbor at the beginning of the meal allowed me to exchange part of my fillet of beef Rossini against some sea bass in puff pastry. The sea bass, cooked in puff pastry, was stuffed with tarragon and parsley. That fish, with it’s wonderful aroma of fresh herbs, was the best fish I ever had.

Following the main course, we were offered a wonderful selection of cheeses, from soft white Cervelle de canut to mature Roquefort. I asked for an assortment that included my local favorite: Saint -Marcellin. All were perfectly aged.

As desert, I had both woodland strawberries with vanilla ice cream and a burgundy cup. Woodland strawberries are very small, yet extremely flavorful, strawberries. The accompanying vanilla ice cream was actually the best ice cream I ever had. The burgundy cup is a selection of red berries dipping in a red burgundy wine based syrup. It is surprising how well berries and red wine go together.

Value for money: 4.5/5

Around $200, including drinks (still water, white wine, red wine and espresso) and tip. While it’s a lot of money, I truly believe that it was well worth every penny. What we had was simply astonishing. I will definitely come back.

→ No CommentsTags: Collonges Au Mont D'Or · France · Lyon

Dinner at Masala on August 8, 2007

April 24th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Masala
314 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
USA

+1 (619) 232-4634
www.monsoonrestaurant.com

Indian Cuisine

Restaurant: 3/5

Masala, conveniently located close to the convention center, is comfortable. The modern decor offers a few surprises like a flat panel TV in the toilets.

Service: 0/5

You shall not lie to your customers. Our waiter inverted a lamb and a chicken order. Instead of fixing the mistake, he switched the dishes and lied, expecting that we wouldn’t make the difference between a korma and a rogan josh. There is no excuse for that.

Food: 2/5

I started with a Mulligatawny soup. The soup, served with a poppadom, was fairly authentic. Although a bit too salty, it was very tasty.

Following the soup, I had lamb dhaniwal korma with a side of pulao rice. On the good side, the pieces of lambs were a very nice cuts and the pulao rice was very good. But, while korma is usually very mild, this one was totally bland. Not what you expect from Indian cuisine.

I had to opportunity to taste the chicken rogan josh and the chicken vindaloo. Rogan josh should be medium hot and vindaloo should be very hot but, as the lamb, both of them were totally bland.

Value for money: 1/5

Around $40, including drinks (a mango lassi and sparkling water) and tip. Considering the food and the service, Masala is definitely not a good value for money. I will avoid that restaurant in the future.

→ No CommentsTags: California · San Diego · United States