Grace Restaurant: All In The Name
Posted by Austios on October 16, 2009
You ever go to a restaurant where it has a particular food or adjective in its name and expect that place to be known for whatever food or adjective is in the name? Take California Pizza Kitchen for example. Is their pizza the best thing on the menu? Arguably yes, but it’s certainly not the best pizza you can get anywhere. Maybe that is a horrible example, but hopefully you get my point.
Which brings me to Grace Restaurant in Los Angeles. Let it roll off your tongue… “Grace”. What do you think of? If you’re like me, you immediately imagine a restaurant that is elegant yet not extravagant, with food that equally exude a grace like none other.
We came on a rainy Tuesday October evening. I had made reservations probably about a month prior, and the woman I spoke to (have since forgotten her name) was very courteous and patient with my questions. I actually knew right from that initial phone call that it was going to be a good experience. They had even called the day of to confirm the reservation.
When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by the hostess. Upon checking in, it was realized someone in our party was already there and seated, so we were lead to our table. Our table was situated in the corner by the window, along that little side wall when you first walk in.
Our server was nice. But kind of strange. When Felicia and I wanted to order a glass that our other friend ordered, I guess he didn’t hear us and only brought her glass then walked away. After a couple of minutes, I realize maybe he didn’t hear us, so when he came back and we told him, low and behold, he said he didn’t hear us. No worries, miscommunications between patrons and servers happens.
Just like at Fleur de Lys, we came for the 3 course DineLA menu, however, at the bottom there was a 5 course for $65 tempting us like a harlot. Yes, I just made that kind of analogy. 2 additional course for $21? Why not??? I also liked the way the menu was set up. It was non-traditional DineLA in terms of the selection. Typically most places will offer just 2 or 3 dishes per course, however, Grace had at least 4-5 options per course, plus 2-3 supplmentals, meaning you paid additional for those courses on top of the pre-determined meal price. Make sense? Hope so. I opted not to get any supplementals, despite them all sounding DELICIOUS.
3 or 4 of us opted for 5 courses, so the pacing was a little different, meaning there were times when we had our 1st courses first, then had our 2nd courses when everybody else was just having their 1st course. Make sense? Hope so…
I started with the heirloom tomato terrine. It was served with burrata cheese, an herb salad and passion fruit vinaigrette. Everything was awesome on its own, but all together as a single bite, it was just a perfect marriage of flavors and textures. I LOVE that. I was tempted to lick my plate, but of course given the environment and company I was in, I opted not to. Seriously, it was that good.
My 2nd course I opted for the Thai Lobster Soup. It was basically a Tom Yum soup (but without all the veggies and whatnot) with one little itty bitty piece of lobster tail. It had such a great depth of flavor.
The first of my 2 entrees, which I guess it was my fault for ordering it this way, and again for maybe not saying anything, but I got the braised pork shank. I’ll explain that more in a little bit. However, as soon as he put the plate down, the smokiness emanating from the shank was just awesome. The flavor as well was just so freaking good. Well seasoned with plenty of spices. It was served with rapini and a caramelized shallot and chorizo home fries. The home fries were really good. The chorizo was sliced very thin, so it wasn’t too heavy or overpowering.
My 2nd entree was the sauteed halibut, served with swiss chard, braised fennel, cherry tomatoes, and a white wine nage. Now this is what I meant earlier. I was deciding between the halibut and the salmon, so I went ahead and ordered the pork shank first, then asked him about the fishes, in which he suggested the halibut, not realizing that that was in the order they were going to come out. I mean, you usually would want to have the fish first because it’s lighter, then go onto the heavier meat. Oh well, miscommunication… c’est la vie.
For dessert, I ordered the sticky toffee pudding. It was a delicate chocolate spongey cake, served with bruleed bananas, a toffee sauce, and hazelnut ice cream. Hazelnut? Yes please!!! The other dessert was a chocolate and coffee parfait, which looked good but I did not try. I did however try a bite of someone’s salted caramel donuts and goodness, those were amazing.
Such a wonderful meal. The only thing that made it fall short of perfect was the server. So, out of the 7 of us, 3 of us needed to card it. Now, typically when several pieces of plastic are involved, one of us usually writes down how much everybody is going to put down, along with any cash. Not really complicated. We didn’t have a problem at Fleur de Lys. So, we had probably $200+ in cash, with the remaining $150 or whatever it was on the 3 cards. Well, the first 2 cards were charged just a few dollars off, but the last card was charged almost $300!!! Where’d the cash go? We immediately called him back, explained our breakdown in a little bit more detail, and luckily on the 2nd try, he got it right. Strange….
But what made up for it a little bit was Chef Fraser taking a picture with us. Aside from the couple he was talking to, we were the last ones to leave.
So while the restaurant and food were quite graceful, the server unfortunately fell short just a little. You might want to work on that a little bit.