The 2017 edition of Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants shows Garlic & Chives as #93. As a food critic for the Los Angeles for a number of years, he uses this numbering system to rate restaurants in the Los Angeles area, with a few thrown in from Orange County.
I am not sure exactly what criteria Mr. Gold uses to determine which will appear in the annual culinary publication. This was my conundrum when having lunch with Julie at Garlic & Chives this week. Our expectations were high, but we were disappointed. Perhaps we expected too much from a restaurant listed as #93. But still – it was in the book. We ordered 3 items items to share – coincidentally the same 3 that were listed in his review. These were also recommended by our waitress when we told her that this was our first visit.
Salmon Belly battered in garlic seasonings and fried crisp, served with house special sauce. The picture in the menu showed large pieces of salmon. In actuality, they were thin strips so heavily battered we could not taste the salmon. The sauce was quite tasty though. See all those peppers? We requested no peppers.
The Baked Corn Cheese was baked in a hot skillet and topped with mozzarella. This is supposedly a Koreatown dish, but there was nothing special about it. It tasted like it came from a can.
The redeeming dish was the Pomelo Salad with grapefruit, shrimp, port, banana blossom, carrots, onion, mint and peanuts tossed with house vinaigrette. This was a nice blend of flavors and textures.
In all fairness, we did not order any of the numerous entrees. The menu is quite extensive. Also, when you see Asians dining in an Asian restaurant you figure it must be pretty good. Our experience, however, did not warrant our return.
The Other Thing — Since June is my birthday month, Julie started it off by giving me a lovely lemon birthday cake and a little package that read “Your Birthday Week – Open a Gift a Day”. It looks very intriguing but I can’t open it until June 20th. Thank you Julie!!