$16 lunches may surpass MidTown Lunch‘s workday allowance, but they’re almost reasonable when a multi-course table cloth dining experience is served. With that in mind, these 2 restaurants offer the most bang for the buck during this session of DineLA restaurant week which ends February 4th. (Sorry, you only have 2 more days).
Meet – Culver City
Summary: escargot (or moule frites), a cheesy croque monsieur, and a dessert for $16 at a bistro owned by a Parisian. That’s it. You really don’t need to know more. Sure the line cooks are all Latino, but food is (mostly) French. For DineLA, Meet features European portions of French dishes commonly known to American diners. This petite & narrow restaurant, with it’s slippery floor, and a dining space soaking in the open kitchen’s buttery fumes, is a bistro in its truest sense — family owned (husband & wife), size of a matchbox, intimate outdoor seating, and perfectly edible fair. All that can be said has been expounded by Angeleno’s Brad A Johnson in his recent review. Just as a visual reminder, $16:
Beyond brunch during DineLA, Meet offers dinner prix fixe as follows
SERVED TUESDAY TO SUNDAY 5:00 PM TO 6:30 PM AND ALL NIGHT FRIDAY, SATURDAY and SUNDAY!
Meet’s all-inclusive “prix fixe” menu includes 3 courses for only $29.95 per person.
$39.95 with a bottle of wine for two.
Includes appetizer, main course and dessert with a large variety of dishes to choose from.
And a brunch plate of eggs, sausage, country potato, juice, tea or coffee, & bread basket at $12.50 is as below, while the bottomless mimosa is $14.
9727 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA
Obika – Century City & Beverly Center
DOP mozzarella is no longer a “big deal” in LA. You can get it from Beverly Hill cheese store, eat it at Osteria Mozza, Cube Cafe, etc. Obika is different because it’s actually an Italian chain & feigns not of locavorism by basing their entire restaurant concept around trans-Atlantic mozzarella. Despite all this hipness, one’s able to casually ingest 3 variations on cheeses over 2 hours, in Beverly Hills, at Obika, during DineLA. You can’t buy an Iphone case at Apple Store down the mall hallway for $16.
The DOP “bufala” mozzarella, despite traveling a few thousand miles thrice a week to Los Angeles, is eons above what the local Italian cheese folks are making. Gioia is local, and operated by a group of passionate Italians, but the DOP Campana mozzarella is at that perfect stage between the “American” mozzarella and “American” burrata. Visual cues offer no evidence to true the texture of this cheese. It’s as creamy as a Parisian lover’s thighs, but structured like a Catholic nun; it’s nearly spreadable, but there’s just enough curdling to maintain shape in your mouth. Surely it’s the filet mignon, and thus a gateway, of cheeses, but one’d be stupid not to enjoy its textural superiority & the clean taste of water buffalo milk.
Much like at Osteria Mozza, the mozzarella plate isn’t gaudy. As the lunch entree during DineLA, Obika serves up the stunning & rotound (4 oz? ) bufala mozzarella with a few slices of roasted eggplants, zucchinis, and a ramekin of “sundried tomato pesto”. Classicists may cringe, but here, the sharp Italian extra virgin olive oil, along with salt & pepper, are all self-serve. Again, think sushi bar.
Thank you DineLA; thank you Cedar Sinai Cafeteria for scaring the appetite out of me.