Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What was i thinking?...Chaya?

Chaya,,,the name mystified me every time we passed by it. The view of the dim lighting and the ongoing of hungry "westdiner's" never failed to interest me. And with my mellowing obsession with health still inside me and the new rave that M Cafe has been getting lately, i could not take my meddlesome any longer.

I remember along time ago when i would try to "walk off" my late night gluttony not to mention easing my stomach and guilt, i came across the displayed menu on the window and reading something like "seitan with coconut lentils" and knew, because of my recent infatuation with coconut, i had to sample it. The only problem was, because of my ignorance, i had not seen the price of anything. So there i go, suggesting it without analyzing it. I mean, i knew it was gourmet, and like all great things, is not cheap but $25-35?!! For our situation that we are facing right now?!! C'mon!(and plus, i was really craving a lunchy kinda thing, since it was technically my lunch)

When we walked in i knew it was not going be cheap. There was a 45 minute wait for the dining area and the 20 minute wait for the bar so we decided to opt for 3 seats in the sushi bar. With my dad's recent convincing lectures in making me really think about what i was doing every time we ate dinner did to my brother and the cheapest entrees being $18(which luckily happened to be what had caught my attention). I was feeling pretty bad. I could also tell that my brother did not want to be here. But what was i going to do now, leave? Well no matter how naive that was, my thickheaded ass still attempted it. Of course, we stayed and i was forced to try to enjoy my dinner.

What made it even worse that we were not served any complimentary bread, something that i highly look forward to. So i had to ask for it myself. The bread was actually pretty good, and i even amazingly enjoyed the olive tapenade that was served with it.

I eventually got my much-anticipated Crispy Seitan with Coconut-Curry Lentils, Kale and Sweet Potato Puree but was not able to fully enjoy it. Not because of my brothers forced consuming of Shrimp Penne Arrabiata that he probably could of made better himself or the weirdness of the lack of communication between the three of us that we all looked forward to because we were all seated looking away from each other but it was surprisingly not... very good.

We were served unusually fast...i'm talking about within minutes we had ordered. Which was good, since i am always starving and they were also extremely generous with my entree. but that did not make up for the lack of flavor that followed. It was displayed very beautifully and if it was not for my uncomfortableness of taking a picture of food, i would of said it was the most beautiful-lest displayed dinner i had ever ate. The 3 huge thick triangular cuts of deep fried seitan, laying on a mountain of potato puree atop a heap of Kale on a bed of lentils. It was easily enough for two.

The seitan was extremely dry, you couldn't even tell it was fried, not a speck or taste of grease anywhere, maybe if it was cut in smaller piece it would of been better. The "sweet potato puree" tasted just a little bit different of your usual mashed potatoes, it looked a lot like them too, not any shade of orange but white. The Kale was very thick and the a very similar consistency to steamed spinach, It would of been a nice compliment to the meal if there was not so much of it! Too much is not good. The awaited coconut lentils sadly turned out to be a disappointment also, undercooked and with a very tiny noticeable amount of coconut flavor. All this still didn't stop me from finishing everything, except the kale. But i'm just saying.

There were several appealing dessert options that i would of loved but could not think because of my stupid thoughts inside of my head. My brother suggested the Mango and Rasberry Sorbet with mixed fruit, and even though it was cold outside and there were many other things in the menu that i would of enjoyed...just settled for that. Which turned out to be perfect, with the oblong shaped bowl and surprising diversity of fruits. And plus, i was stuffed and did not feel like consuming 3 days worth of my calories tonight.

Bottom line, not worth the money.

Chaya Venice in Los Angeles

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