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I came, I saw, I ate.

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Citrus at Social (CLOSED)

 6525 W Sunset Blvd
Hollywood, CA
 

Beautiful package, unimpressive food

I ate at Citrus at Social during the DineLA promotion. The first thing I noticed was that the dining room was gorgeously designed in yellows, pale greens, and with shabby-chic flair – a design I wouldn’t mind imitating in my own bedroom, it was so light, airy and pleasant.

Another thing I noticed: The dining room was absolutely vast – and it was virtually empty, on a Thursday night.

There were rumors that the restaurant had been doing so poorly, due in part to the inflated prices, that it could only afford to be open three days a week (Thursday- Saturday). When our group had a tour of the kitchen later that night, we confirmed with the sous chef that the restaurant was at a precarious point financially due to the low patronage.

You’d think that the lower DineLA promotional prices would have motivated a rush of business, so it was eerie to still see the restaurant so empty, even when the prices were low. A companion whispered to me that the “trendy” prices, coupled with relatively average fare, had prompted most LA foodies to direct their interest elsewhere, including to better restaurants also offering a promotional menu.

At any rate, you wonder: How’s the food? Not bad. The Beet and Tuna Salad with Pickled Daikon was presented nicely, in a hockey-puck-like assemblage. The cooked beets and raw tuna were cut into identical-looking chunks, creating a playful effect, as you couldn’t tell whether you were about to bite into a beet, or a piece of tuna.

The “72 Hour Short Rib” was – per the current trend – tiny pieces of meat, displayed artfully on a white plate that was a good 6x the size of the food portion. Accompanying the fatty spareribs was a yummy tatertot-like potato log (“Potato Napoleon”), which I initially thought was breaded in panko crumbs, but it turns out (I think? I can’t remember…..) was actually rolled in finely-shredded filo.

The desert, a “Mushroom Vacherin – Chocolate Ice Cream, Pistachio Anglaise, Crispy Chocolate Pearls,” was the most memorable thing I had that night. It was a frozen confection, sitting in a puddle of pistachio, that clearly invoked something whimsical out of Edwards Scissorhands or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The dessert was so creatively presented, it was easy to overlook the fact that its flavors were pretty pedestrian.

All in all, would I go back? Despite the pretty ambiance, relatively creative food, and friendly kitchen staff who kindly showed us around, the normal menu prices would pretty much scare me away. In these economic times, it’s all about value for your money, and that’s not really what Citrus’ everyday menu offers.

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02/05/2009

pleasurepalate

From what I can tell so far, you’re the leader of the pack. :-P

02/04/2009

pleasurepalate

Wow! 22 in one day? You’re on a mission. :)

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