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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

L.A. Restaurant Week: Lunch at Circa 55

So, this week is going to be spent telling tales of my L.A. Restaurant Week dining experiences.

To start off, here is my review of Circa 55, the restaurant in the Beverly Hilton off Santa Monica in Beverly Hills.

Circa 55
Beverly Hills
Lunch = $22

First off, the Dine LA website says nothing about Circa 55 being in the Beverly Hilton so it was a bitch to find the place. I ended up parking in the service parking lot by accident and weaving my way through the "non-hotel guest" areas of the hotel until I found the restaurant.

Upon entering the restaurant, I was immediately struck by how "old" it looked. It then dawned on me that "Circa 55" references the decor... as in "circa 1955." It was an "ohhhh" moment for sure. The host was extremely gracious and sat us immediately. There was hardly anyone there even though it was during "lunch rush hour" as I call it.

Unfortunately, though we were seated right away it took FOREVER to get our food. From the Restaurant Week menu I ordered the Grilled Caprese Salad, Goat Cheese Ravioli with roasted garlic, Shitake mushroom & endive, and Chocolate Raspberry Torte.

After 45 minutes, I received my salad which was really just two tomatoes still on the vine and a couple balls of mozzarella. Good but not incredible. It doesn't help that I'm a tomato/cheese salad snob.

The ravioli definitely left something to be desired. I hate mushrooms to start so I shoveled those off the plate. I love garlic yet there was maybe three small pieces. And lastly, the raviolis were rubbery and the goat cheese tasted stale. Overall not great.

Some of my earlier frustration was made up for with my dessert. The torte was square in shape with a few raspberries on top. It wasn't until I broke the crust that I discovered raspberries within the chocolate. It was soooo good. It tasted like gourmet raspberry Milano cookies.

The rest of the crew ordered other items on the menu so I've provided pictures for you to snoop.

Tomato Velouté

California Artichoke

Seared Rock Cod

American Wagyu Beef Burger

Mix Nut Tart

Tropical Pancotta

Overall, the restaurant was obviously outdated and the main food was forgettable but the wait staff was adorable and the dessert was delicious. I'm not sorry I went but I probably wouldn't hurry back. And extra bonus was that my car didn't get towed from the service lot.

Come back tomorrow for a review of my next restaurant.

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