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The Bitter Sweet Life

Disciple of Pleasure Palate

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Citrus at Social (CLOSED)

 6525 W Sunset Blvd
Hollywood, CA
 

Needs more Zest

I had dinner at Citrus late February of this year. I’ll be up front that the dinner was hosted and paid for by Menuism.

I remember a few years ago when I was unfamiliar with the restaurant, that I thought the place was some kind of nightclub because of the people standing in line with the bouncers on the sidewalk. That’s because Citrus shares the same structure with a nightclub called Social. That was when the Economy was still red hot and before the bubble burst. The place almost had an exclsuive feel to it as I glimpsed at it from the sidewalk, but felt too intimidated to check out what was going inside.

So flash forward to last February. the Recession is in full swing and I drive up on a week day night. There are 2 valet people at the front and they tell me that the cost is around $10. I’m almost tempted to look for free street parking, but its a week night and I’m tired and tend to be unlucky when it comes to street parking.

I grudgingly give my car and step inside the restaurant and my mood elevates a little. The ambiance is nice. Stark white walls accented with lime green and lemon yellow. Definitely citrus-like in theme and decor.

I read that the building it now occupies used to be an exclusive gym for old Hollywood stars in a bygone era. You could sense the history of the place and I’m glad the current occupiers have restored the place and added modern touches to it at well.

One thing I did notice that even though it was DineLA month, the place was mostly empty. I had heard that the restaurant cut down to 3 days a week because business was so bad.

But I’m not hear to tell you a SOB story about how the Recessions is affecting upscale restaurants, I’m here to talk about the food.

So the appetizer I chose for dinner that night as the Chestnut Soup. It didn’t taste at all like chestnuts because it was overpowered by the peanut butter and wild mushrooms. If anything it tasted like a cream of mushroom soup with a dash of PB. It had a nutty and almost smoky taste to it. Overall, I liked the soup but it didn’t wow me.

For my entree selection, I had the 72 Hour Short Rib with Potato Napoleon. This one was a big let down. I guess having eaten at Bludso’s the weekend before, dishes like short ribs have to be absolutely phenomenal to even compare. The cut of meat seemed a little on the fatty side, and the portion was rather small. If I ever revsiit this place, I would not order this dish again. Good thing I wasn’t paying full price for it.

For dessert, I had the Mushroom Vacherin which consists of Chocolate Ice Cream, Pistachio Anglaise, and Crispy Chocolate Pearls. Without a doubt, this was the best part of the meal. It looked very unique – literally a giant mushroom on a plate. Someone in our table described it like a gourmet malt Whopper, and I thought about and and she was right. the crunchy malt did taste liek Whoppers, but better. The pistachio sauce blended very well with the other ingredients. Sometimes pistachio sauce can be a bit overpowering, but not in this case. I would go back only to order this dessert again and pay full price for it.

After dinner, our host arranged for us to tour the behind the scenes kitchen. our guide was the sous chef. He was very pleasant and friendly and answered all our questions. Behind the kitchen is a huge ballroom that sits empty. It was almost sad seeing such a large area being underutiilized, because I imagined all the glamorous parties that must have been held there in a bygone era.

The chef did admit that business was slow and they did have to cut their operations. He made a half joke about them managing to remain open, but I could sense the fear and uncertainty in his voice as well. I’m not sure if Citrus has enough Zest going for it to survive in this current climate.

After the tour, it was time to go and as I walked out to get my car from the valet, I noticed that there was a small line of people waiting to get into Social. I thought it was ridiculous that the number of bouncers equaled the number of guests in line. Rather than trying to seem exclusive and out of touch with the current economic reality, both Citrus and Social should open up their doors and lower their prices, especially the outrageous valet price..

Chestnut Soup

Doesn’t taste like chestnuts at all. Its more like a smoky cream of mushroom with a touch of peanut butter.

72 Hour Short Rib

For something that took 72 hours to prepare, it really wasn’t all that impressive. The meat quality wasn’t as good as I expected and the portion was small.

Mushroom - Mushroom Vacherin at Citrus at Social (CLOSED)

Mushroom Vacherin

If you must order something at Citrus, then order this dessert. Not only is it visually eye catching, it tastes pretty damn good as well.

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