I just love getting out of the San Fernando Valley. It’s been my home for over thirty years, but there is a wonderful world that exists beyond Ventura Boulevard. One of my favorite neighborhoods to go to is Los Feliz. It’s like being in a 1940′s film noir. A place where you might have expected to find Robert Mitchum walking the streets wearing a felt fedora. I love the architecture of this neighborhood, original 1930′s and 40′s buildings mixed in with 1970′s strip centers. I was spending the afternoon with my friends Amy and Gail and we decided to try out a place for lunch called Vermont Kitchen & Bar.
The restaurant has a very cool and funky vibe. The building is from the early 1940′s and had originally housed Sarno’s Bakery & Italian Restaurant. The interior has so much character with it’s exposed brick walls, arched ceilings and columns. For lunch they have a fairly large menu offering sandwiches, burgers, brick-oven flatbreads, salads and both large (entree size) and small plates. To start with, our server Cody suggested that we try the Ahi Tuna Tacos ($13), with cumin-avocado puree, jicama slaw and served in taro root shells. The dish comes with 6 small tacos which was perfect for three people to share. I loved this dish; the ahi had tons of flavor and the taro root shells were a delicious departure from the more conventional tortillas. I will order this dish the next time I return.
For Gail, the vegetarian diner, we ordered the veggie burger ($11) with grilled red onion, tomato, avocado and roasted red pepper sauce. I split this with her, and I definitely did not miss the meat. The veggie patty was moist and the onions added a great layer of flavor. It also came with a little side salad.
Cody suggested that we try one of their brick-oven flatbreads and we chose the Wild Forest Mushroom ($14), with sauteed leeks, cheese sauce, white truffle oil and Parmigiano Reggiano. We all enjoyed the fresh and earthy combination of ingredients and they nailed the flatbread. It was a very satisfying dish.
If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, then you know I order fries with every meal. We ordered the combination of sweet potato fries and hot and skinny fries ($6). These had a real kick to them, and I gotta say I loved ‘em!
Vermont Kitchen & Bar 1714 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027 323-661-6163
Plunked on a corner right on Melrose Avenue in the heart of Hollywood, is a perfect little neighborhood gem called the Larchmont Grill. The restaurant resides within a beautifully restored Craftsman home which seems strangely out-of-place amid a sea of retail businesses. The neutral color palette, crown moldings and fireplace give this spot a very warm and homey feel. On the first floor is a small but comfortable bar and a dining area, but I was wowed by the second floor that’s used for private parties and special events. The space is tastefully decorated, and even boasts an outdoor “porch” area. Co-owner Mark Donofrio, who told us he opened the Larchmont Grill three years ago, was kind enough to give my friend Kim and I a tour of the restaurant.
The menu is diverse offering a nice selection of “comfort food” style dishes with a modern spin. Mark told us that the restaurant grows its own vegetables in a garden near downtown that they share with several other restaurants, as well as purchasing produce from a local farmer’s market.
Since I try to have fries with every meal, we start with the sweet potato fries ($6) that come with aioli, malt vinegar and ketchup to dip them in. I enjoyed the variety of dipping sauces as each sauce gave the fries a completely different taste. As expected, we finished them before the other dishes even arrived.
Kim and I both enjoyed their take on crab cake sliders. They were moist and flavorful and came on the tastiest homemade brioche buns with a chipotle aioli. And yeah, we got more fries.
With six salads to choose from it was hard to make a choice, since they all sounded really good. We went with the Barbecue Chopped Chicken Salad ($15) and it did not disappoint. It was a great combination of flavors with tons of chicken chunks, and the tortilla strips gave the salad a yummy crunch.
They take the classic American club sandwich and add medium-seared ahi to it. Though a tasty sandwich, the ahi didn’t shine through for me because it get’s overwhelmed by the bread. I would have rather tasted all those beautiful ingredients they use instead.
But the breakout star of the day had to be the side dish of Brussel sprouts in a balsamic reduction. They were sweet, crunchy, and earthy with just the right amount of carmelization on them so that they just melted in your mouth. We couldn’t finish them, but they were not going to be left behind. I took these home in a box to be enjoyed later in the evening.
The service was friendly and efficient. Both servers took the time to tell us about the dishes and how they were made. I appreciate a knowlegeable staff. If you give the Larchmont Grill a try, let me know what you think, I’d love to hear!
Larchmont Grill 5750 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038 323-464-4277
Pho heaven’s sake, why did it take so long to get authentic, gourmet Vietnamese food in the west end of the valley!!! But let’s count our blessings that it’s finally here. Chef Kimmy Tang is the culinary force behind 9021PHO, her Vietnamese bistro that opened in Westlake Village a mere 4 months ago. Her flagship location is in Beverly Hills, and she plans to open a third very soon in Culver City. The space is open and contemporary. It’s very zen-like on one hand, yet exudes a warm energy, much like Chef Tang herself.
When we ask Chef Tang where she trained, she tells us she is entirely self-taught. She said that she had opened her first restaurant called Michelia in 2001, but that she closed it 7 years later. She explains to my friend Gail and I how she traveled throughout Europe and Asia for several years, honing her culinary skills and expanding her horizons before opening the Beverly Hills location in 2009. We watch her as she buzzes from table to table, making sure her customers are happy and well taken care of. So let’s talk about the pho.
Pho, (pronounced fuh) is a traditional Vietnamese soup, with French and Chinese influences. She offers versions with beef, chicken, tuna or shrimp. Since Gail is vegetarian and we’re splitting it, we order the Pho Chay ($8.95) made with tofu, straw mushrooms, onion, baby corn and rice noodles in a vegetable broth. This serving was certainly enough to serve four diners. The broth is light and fragrant with star anise being the most prominent of the spices flavoring it. The big pieces of tofu don’t make you miss meat at all, and the bok choy still had a nice crunch to it.
9021PHO boasts a rather large menu. It offers everything from a selection of appetizers, salads, noodle and rice dishes to seafood and meat dishes. Since we wanted a little taste of everything, we both ordered one of the lunch specials ($9.95). It came with a crispy, crunchy egg roll, soup, a slaw type salad, rice and a dessert all within a bento-style box. I ordered the panko-crusted sole, and it was excellent. The best part was the French, spicy aioli that Chef Tang makes fresh everyday. The fish was moist and flavorful on the inside, and had a perfect golden, brown crunch on the outside. I couldn’t finish it so I brought the rest home. However, when I walked in the house I popped the left-over in the microwave…and it was gone.
Gail the vegetarian ordered the tofu with onion, bell pepper, eggplant, straw mushroom and baby corn in a black bean sauce. They also offer a choice of jasmine rice or brown rice. Our server told us that every day the special comes with a different dessert. Today’s dessert was a cold dessert soup of red beans and coconut milk. I’ve never tasted anything like this before.
Pho people who enjoy their coffee drinks, the iced coffee is a must. The Vietnamese coffee has a deep, bold flavor; it’s mixed with condensed milk and served over ice. It packs a real punch, in fact as I write this, I’m still buzzing from it.
I think Westlake Village has a real winner on it’s hands. It’s obvious that Chef Kimmy Tang cooks with both her heart and her soul. In a sea of pho restaurants that dot the city of Los Angeles, her flavors are more refined and elegant than most. I for one welcome her to the valley. If you give 9021PHO a try, I’d love to hear what your impression was. Tell Chef Kimmy I said hello!
9021PHO - 30990 Russel Road, Westlake Village, CA 91362
When Noreen and I asked the woman behind the counter at Charlie’s Pantry in Studio City, what is your must-have dish, she told us it was the sweet potato tater tots. Well girlfriend wasn’t lyin’. These tiny, little nuggets which come with two dipping sauces, have a little crunch on the outside, and a soft texture on the inside, and no grease whatsoever. We couldn’t stop eating them until they were gone.
Charlie’s Pantry has been opened only a scant three months, but I have a feeling they’ll be around for a long time. This lovely bistro is part restaurant and part gourmet market offering specialties from around the world. It’s bright and airy, and we felt as though we were dining in a good friend’s backyard as we sat at the large picnic table in the center of the room.
Charlie’s Pantry offers a substantial lunch menu of freshly made soups, salads and sandwiches. I love my comfort food, so we decide to start with the Man’s Grilled Cheese sandwich. It comes with apples and walnuts, is charcoal grilled and slathered in rosemary butter and drizzled with a port wine reduction. You get the creaminess of the cheese, tartness of the apples and crunch of the nuts all in one bite, BUT it’s the rosemary butter that sends this sandwich over the top.
To counter balance the carbs, we decide to order the Palm Beach Salad. For me, this was a perfect combination of flavors. The chicken breast that was crusted in almonds was moist, the organic greens were fresh, and the fennel, cranberries and toasted almonds added the sweet and crunchy to the dish. The orange citrus honey dressing only enhanced the salad without over whelming it.
Having tried one of their sandwiches and salads, we thought we should give a soup a try. We order the matzo ball soup which is an overly generous portion. For me, matzo ball soup is the ultimate in comfort food. This broth lacked that rich, chicken flavor I was hoping for and the matzo ball was dense and meatball like; not light and airy like my yiddishe mama’s. Sorry Charlie, this dish fell short for me.
At this point, Noreen and I look up at each other and start to laugh because we can’t believe that two, five-foot women were able to consume so much food. But everything is so good that we feel dessert is in order. Charlie’s Pantry offers a nice array of homemade desserts from tiramisu, cheesecake, cookies and pastries. However, we spy the beautifully colored French macarons displayed in the case and decide that’s the direction we should go.
These cookies were a lovely ending to a great meal. They were light and chewy and not overly sweet. Perfection.
Charlie’s Pantry offers a breakfast and lunch menu, and a deli case filled with a mouth-watering selection of homemade delicacies. It was also easy to get to as there is underground, valet parking and they validate. Yay! A real bonus in LA, right!
Charlie’s Pantry 12265 Ventura Boulevard #101 (in between Coldwater & Laurel Canyon), Studio City, CA 91604
The sign on the front of Raphael Restaurant, on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, said lunch from 11:30 until 2. When we opened the front door to the restaurant at 1:55 looking to be fed, we expected owner Arnon Raphael to send us packing. Instead, we were greeted with a very warm and welcoming hello, and told we could absolutely get a table.
I was looking forward to coming here as I had read that Adam Horton, formerly of The Saddle Peak Lodge, one of my favorite restaurants, was the executive chef. When you enter the restaurant you are immediately charmed by its sleek and sophisticated decor. Owner Raphael told us that his wife had designed the interior that boasts warm woods, stone, and stunning lighting fixtures that add to the overall dining experience. One side is the elegant but casual dining area, and the other side is a rather spacious and comfortable bar area.
My friend Kim and I were seated at a lovely booth right in front of the window. We were greeted by our server Joslyn, a Cameron Diaz look-alike, who was extremely friendly and professional. For me, the servers seem to set the tone of the experience, so, I could see we were off to a good start. Raphael has an extensive wine selection, serving 50 wines by the class. Kim chose a Santa Barbara, Pinot Noir, and I went with the Italian, Pinot Grigio.
Raphael describes their menu as “world cuisine”. I like that. I like to be able to enjoy tastes from all around the globe at one table. Their lunch menu is limited; 4 salads, 4 sandwiches and 5 larger plates as well as several side dishes. This is never a problem for me. I don’t need a huge selection to chose from, I just expect that the few dishes a restaurant does offer should be done absolutely perfect.
The sandwich we chose was the Scottish salmon with capers, red onion, dill Havarti and a luscious ramp aioli on a soft, sesame seed bun.
When the dish arrived it appeared a little “bare”. Nothing, no garnish, no accoutrements, visually I thought it needed a little “something”. Well that being said, it didn’t really need anything. The salmon patty was so full of flavor and cooked perfectly. The combination of the elements on this sandwich didn’t require anything to spruce it up. It was perfect just the way it was. We did however, order the fries which were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They were a great compliment to the salmon. When I return, I will absolutely get this dish again.
For the salad we chose the Som Tam Thai, a visually stunning dish of green papaya, tiger shrimp, lime, peanuts, chile and cilantro. I don’t handle the heat well, and this dish was a tad too spicy for me. Next time I would ask them to turn down the heat a bit. The shrimp were big and meaty, not over-cooked which happens so often with shrimp in salads. The flavors were authentic, as if we were having this dish in a Thai street market.
They offered 3 choices for the dessert, none of which appealed to Kim or myself. Joslyn said that the pastry chef would like to make us a dessert that wasn’t on the menu. Wow, that never happened to me before, they are eager to please at Raphael.
We were presented with a trifle of fresh strawberries and lemon garnished with strawberry meringue kisses. It was tart and light and luscious, the perfect ending to our meal.
Raphael is the caliber of dining that you tend to find “on the other side of the hill”. It’s smart and well done, and offers you the whole package in terms of ambiance, service and cuisine. I’m so glad they’re in my neck of the woods.
Raphael 11616 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City 91604 ( In between Colfax & Tujunga)
Until recently, when you went to a food court in any mall in America you were greeted by the usual suspects; Cinnabon, Subway and my personal favorite Hot Dog on a Stick, just to name a few. The food is cheap, fast, and processed. Well, America has cried out for justice and it seems their voices have been heard. May 20th saw the opening of The Market in the Santa Monica Place Mall, just off the Third Street Promenade. I didn’t know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised by this modern, open and airy space that adjoins the 3rd floor dining deck that’s also home to six restaurants.
For me it’s a brilliantly conceived idea. The space houses these independently owned shops offering everything from fresh baked goods, flowers, organic coffees, skincare items to a cooking school. The shops are not enclosed but open, allowing the shoppers to wander in and out of each space creating the feel of an outdoor marketplace.
These vendors are selling products that are organic, artisanal, sustainable, fairly traded, seasonal, and locally grown. That’s a lot of adjectives, but that’s how I love to shop. My friend Marci and I make our first stop at Rockenwagner Bakery because, duh…I love bread. We’re greeted by a very friendly and hospitable Hans Fama Rockenwagner who offered us a sampling of their pastries. We tried several of their sandwiches served on their artisanal breads, and purchased some bread and cookies to go. Their breads are fresh, hearty and full of flavor. This will be my first stop when I return for my next visit.
It was impossible to walk past L’Artisan du Chocolat without stopping in. They offer up their stunning chocolates and macarons made fresh each day at their Silverlake location. Their chocolates are made with no preservatives and less sugar, and come in an array of unusual flavors.
The chef behind Primi Al Mercato is Piero Selvaggio of Valentino Restaurant in Santa Monica. What I found most intriguing about this spot was the two women making fresh pastas right there in the window for shoppers to view. You can purchase these pastas in the retail space, or walk next door to a lovely dining area to enjoy “small plates” of pasta and fresh sauces. Personally I have not found too many places in the Los Angeles area where I could buy such unusual, freshly-made pastas.
I am a true coffee lover, so we had to make a stop into Groundwork Coffee Company. Their coffee and teas are organic and fair trade, and I definitely like to support retailers who offer fair trade products. We purchased some of their “Black Gold” to go!
Norcino Salumeria Cheese Bar is also operated by Piero Selvaggio. Serving charcuterie plates of the most amazing selection of high-quality, imported meats and cheeses, this is a must for my non-vegan friends. For me this place is a decadent treat!
I like to give nice wine as a gift, and Venokado had a great selection of fine wines and champagnes to choose from. They also offered a large selection of modern gifts.
Once you’ve purchased your wine, your dinner, your coffee and dessert at The Market, your last stop should be to Magical Blooms. This vibrantly designed shop offers creative, one-of-a-kind floral arrangements, as well as floral design classes.
And finally, not only does The Market offer its visitors a gourmet shopping and dining experience, there’s also a cooking school in the space as well. Gourmandise School of Sweets & Savories offers 3 and 4 hour cooking classes, chef demonstrations and special events. As a culinary school graduate, I can say I never tire of taking cooking classes and their’s covers a wide variety of topics.
I love to dine out and I love to try everything on the menu. Just ordering a single entree is boring to me. I like a little protein, some carbs and lots of veggies. So when I saw the menu of “small plates” at Santa Monica’s newly opened The Misfit, I thought this is probably the restaurant for me. The Misfit is the creation of LGO Hospitality, and is located in the historic Clock Tower Building just around the corner from the 3rd Street Promenade. There’s a sprawling bar that runs the length of the restaurant serving $9 signature cocktails that sounded amazing. I was unable to give one a try because it was only noon time after all, and I was driving, but I will return for their Happy Hour. The man behind the menu is Executive Chef Bruce Kalman, formerly of Chelsea’s Kitchen in Phoenix.
I was dining with my friend Zonia, and we decided to throw caution to the wind, and just let it rip! We started with the French Dip Sliders, ($12) tender prime rib, perfectly seasoned, and served with a homemade au jus. It totally melts in your mouth and was the perfect size for two.
Our server suggested that we try the Ahi Tuna Burger ($11). I’ve ordered this in many other restaurants and it tends to come out dry and tasteless. Their’s is served pan seared medium rare with a Meyer lemon aioli and avocado. It was so juicy, cooked just right and full of flavor.
As we glanced around at the surrounding tables, we noticed everyone had ordered the shoestring fries ($6). I wasn’t leaving this place without them, and I’m glad I didn’t. These were addicting, crispy not greasy and yummy dipped in the honey mustard sauce. Plenty for a table of four!
However, for me the real hit of the day was the English & snap peas with toasted garlic and Thai basil ($6). As Chef Kalman told us, they purchase all their produce from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. The peas must have been picked that day. The dish is prepared so simply and the flavor and freshness of the peas shined through. I would return just for this dish.
I was awestruck at what Chef Kalman could do with vegetables. We ordered the heirloom cherry tomatoes with toasted garlic and herb salad ($6). Again, he allows the tomatoes to be the star of the dish. It’s simply dressed and the garlic and herbs are the perfect contrast to the sweetness of the tomatoes.
For my vegetarian friends I would recommend the spicy chickpea dish ($9) because it’s killer. I could definitely see becoming a vegetarian if I could eat things like this all the time. The chickpea mixture has a real kick to it that you feel in the back of your throat. It’s served with kale leaves, and we composed our wraps with a dollop of chickpea, some cucumber and radish and dunked the whole thing in the pesto sauce.
When you’re serving fresh, high quality ingredients there’s no need to go crazy with sauces and spices. It’s evident that Chef Kalman respects his ingredients, as everything was seasoned with a delicate hand to simply enhance what was on the plate and not overpower it. Not everything though was a winner. Neither Zonia nor I enjoyed the sauteeed greens with blood orange and garlic chips. It happens.
It should also be noted that the service was warm and friendly and very efficient. We felt our business was appreciated. In the ever changing restaurant landscape of Los Angeles, I think The Misfit will do very well.
The Misfit Restaurant + Bar 225 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA
Beginning in 1924, Culver City was home to the famed MGM Studios. Like many of LA’s neighborhoods it lost it’s glow and faded from the spotlight. But, like an aging Hollywood starlet, Culver City got a facelift and it’s definitely made a come-back. As we drove down Culver Boulevard, I marveled at the juxtaposition of upscale restaurants and boutiques against the classic 1920′s Spanish architecture. You could almost see Clark Gable and Judy Garland strolling down this wide boulevard.
I was with my friends Amy and Gail, and at Amy’s suggestion we decided to try a restaurant called Akasha. Built in 1925, the building that houses this restaurant was formerly the first hospital in Culver City. Immediately I’m excited to be here, and as we entered my eyes dart around the restaurant noticing all the vintage features of the building that have been thoughtfully restored.
The food preparation is as thoughtful as the building restoration. Their ingredients are organic, sustainable and obtained from local growers. I have several friends who are vegetarians, and this would be the perfect place to bring them, as they offer a large selection of deliciously sounding vegetarian dishes. However, today I’m dining with the non-vegetarians. As we always do, one of the dishes we order is the Lemon-Chicken Cobb. This was especially good as the Niman Ranch bacon was very meaty, adding a lot of flavor to the salad that was dressed in a very light, lemon vinaigrette.
Amy ordered the House Pork Belly sandwich normally served with arugula, avocado and tomato chutney. She, however asked to have it prepared with melted gruyere cheese and caramelized onions. It was one of those melty, gooey, full of flavor sandwiches that came with a side of black bean soup . She appreciated that the chef was willing to make the change for her.
I caught a glimpse of the Tandoori Chicken Salad at the table next to me, and decided to order one for myself. It’s prepared with fresh, local greens,and cashews, tossed in a light chutney dressing, and topped with a pappadom (a thin, crisp, Indian flatbread). That’s a salad I would order again, and again.
I always like to support a business that strives to offer the customer the best product they can. That’s very evident at Akasha. They’ve built an entire restaurant that’s environmentally friendly, they support local growers and serve creatively prepared food. The food won me over, and I’ll be back!
Akasha, 9543 Culver Boulevard, Culver City, California 90232
What is it that makes this world such a beautiful place? To me, it’s the people and their cultures. The diversity of how people look, their language, clothing, traditions and their food. Los Angeles is a city that embraces diversity. I often feel as though I don’t need to get on a plane and travel thousands of miles to experience the richness of a different culture, all I need to do is go out my front door.
Today I did go out my front door with two friends who came from cultures very different from mine. My friend Zonia was born in Hong Kong and was raised in Peru. She emigrated to America with her family in the 70′s. My other friend Teresa is from the Yucatan in Mexico, and she came to the U.S. in the early 80′s. And here we meet in the San Fernando Valley of all places.
Today’s destination was Mercado La Paloma. It’s a marketplace at 37th & Grand in downtown Los Angeles. It houses several restaurants and shops as well as classes and community events. It’s also the home to Mo-Chica, Zonia’s favorite Peruvian restaurant. I didn’t need to board a plane today, because the food at Mo-Chica took me on a far-away journey. These dishes were like nothing I ever had. Sophisticated and polished on one hand, yet tasted like someone’s Peruvian grandmother had been toiling over a hot stove for hours.
I know nothing about Peruvian food, so Zonia does the ordering for me, Teresa and Carlos. For appetizers, she orders the Ceviche del Dia and the Causa del Dia (a Peruvian potato salad). Each dish is beautifully plated and the ceviche tastes as though the fish had just been caught that morning. The presentation says 4-star restaurant, but the flavor says mama’s kitchen.
For the main course Zonia ordered the Braised Oxtail Risotto with barley huancaina. This is the ultimate in Peruvian comfort food. How did Chef Ricardo Zarate create such complex flavors; probably with great skill…and love.
Jorge, our server who did his job with great enthusiasm, brings out the rest of our entrees. Seco de Cordero is a lamb shank with canario beans and salsa criolla, in a cilantro beer sauce. It was beautiful just to look at, but the pleasure was in the eating. The meat just fell off the bone on this one.
The final dish of this most amazing meal was the Arroz con Pollo; chicken breast with spring onions, salsa madre and sauteed rice. This dish could be served in any elegant restaurant, yet it had the flavor and heartiness of street food.
Mo-Chica is a gem in the middle of downtown Los Angeles. The talented Chef Zarate shared his skills and his culture with us. And it’s right out my front door. How convenient.
Mo-Chica Peruvian Restaurant, 3655 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90007
One should not only focus on the final destination, but be aware of and enjoy the road that gets you there. And what a road it is. Let me preface this story by saying it’s Philadelphia blood that runs through my veins, but my heart beats pure “Angeleno”. I love my adopted hometown. It’s a marvelously multi-cultural city that offers so much in terms of culture and things to do. But it is the city’s physical beauty that I never want to take for granted. So, back to “the road”.
My friend Lauren and I are headed today to Santa Monica. The road we are taking to get there is called Malibu Canyon. It’s a winding, two-lane highway that meanders through the Santa Monica mountains and dumps you onto Pacific Coast Highway. I have literally driven this route thousands of times. It’s scenery is a visual image I wish every human being could see, and one you never tire of. As we make our way through the canyon and to the beach, the scenery dramatically changes, but is equally as beautiful. As we drive along PCH, with Santa Monica Beach off to our right, we’re two people who are happy to have been transplanted here.
Our destination today is R + D Kitchen on Santa Monica’s trendy Montana Avenue. This place is owned by a large restaurant group, the people behind Houston’s which had a location in Woodland Hills near my house.I liked Houston’s so I’m not opposed to eating at a chain-owned restaurant if the food is good. And I will say up front, the food was good. Very good.
R + D Kitchen has the welcoming feel of a neighborhood restaurant. It was jam-packed when we were there, but that wasn’t bothersome. The space is modern, open and airy. The service there was very friendly and efficient. The ice tea glass was never empty and that’s always a good sign.
The menu is small, actually unusually small. So, if your offering your customers a limited variety of choices, you better do these dishes extremely well. From what Lauren and I ordered, I think they accomplished that.
Lauren ordered a Seared Tuna Salad with avocado, cucumber, beets and goat cheese. It came with a deviled egg on the side which was a tasty surprise. I ordered a Shrimp Louie which was a more decadent salad. It’s served with four large shrimp on a mound of crunchy iceberg lettuce with a deliciously prepared Louie dressing. It’s surrounded by a variety of cherry and grape tomatoes and avocado. Now I’ve had this salad in dozens of restaurants and it’s not always a winner. It basically comes down to the quality of ingredients. Everything was very fresh, and I really enjoyed this salad.
Next, we ask our perky server what they have for dessert. She says chocolate mousse or carrot cake. Two desserts, surely you jest! Luckily for us we both agree on the carrot cake with mascarpone frosting. Wow, what a hunk of goodness they put in front of us. A moist carrot-y cake with chunks of pecans, and a frosting with just-the-right-amount-of sweetness. Nicely done!
I definitely liked everything about R + D Kitchen. It’s casual, relaxed atmosphere, professional service and well-prepared food makes this a place I will return to in the near future. Especially since the road getting there is so awesome.