Friday, February 01, 2008

DineLA Discovered: GRACE and Greed

Ok, ok, i know I shouldn't of but...I eventually gave in to blogger pressure. I went to GRACE to 'take advantage' of this coveted situation, if you can call it that.

After the traumatizing experience on Wednesday (read earlier post), I felt almost conditioned to go, even if I should of saved the few bucks I do have for my first international trip on Sunday, even if I hadn't even packed a single sock. But alas, the pressure of it all did me in.

So, I went with a mindset: to see if this whole thing was really worth it. Since I had already tried to re-enact the missed dinner yesterday in attempt to console myself, I sort of had an idea, or at least something to compare it to.

I was the first one at the bar to evade the rest of the poor, dazed masses later on. But once I am handed the menu, and see the various, clever 'upgrades', teasing me with their Truffled Risottos and Trio of Sorbets that made the advertised menu look like the gourmet equivalent of a 'value meal'. I was a breath away from almost ordering them too (It would have been my first real time tasting Truffles), but then, I realized, if I did, the whole meal would of cost over $50! Around the same price it would of usually amounted to if I came any other day! It all suddenly became clear: my dad was right (like always)..."es pura propaganda" (its all publicity!)

But this realization came after I had already devoured my complimentary bread, so I ethically got one of the cheapest things on the menu ($11): Winter Squash Soup.
And with my first Zen like tasting of it (how would you savor an $11 soup?): surprisingly salty for such a subtle, sweet fruit as a squash, and the pumpkin seeds were already having that musty, rancid nut/oil taste!

And to think, I nearly drove myself deranged by the mere anxiety of it all...


shihfan said...

lol.... join my dineLA slump!

H. C. said...

Yea, I saw the menu with all the upgrades and went "Wha...?" but I went for it anyways (wounding up with a $50 meal); will be posting about my (dis)grace-ful dinner there soon.

Max Million said...

I am disappointed to read all the somewhat negative posts about Grace, especially almost rancid pepitas (ugh!)

But I agree DineLA achieves exactly what it is setting out to do, namely get peeps such as yourself in the door who might not normally consider their establishment when deciding where to dine.

I last went to Grace a couple of times soon after they opened, maybe two or even three years ago (can’t remember). I remember loving the unique ‘chandeliers’ and the warm decor, not to forget the excellent service and wonderful food. Just been too distracted wtih other, newer places to return.

Max Million said...

I wanted to add some thoughts from a discussion on

Regarding the DineLA experience, Jonah, asked “…or [are] restaurants skimping on their offerings?”

Save some exhaustive research, I would venture to say, “Yes, but of course!”

Restaurateurs still have to keep their eye on the bottom line.

Surely they must devise a menu that falls within the DineLA dollar parameters while maintaining their necessary profit margin.

Perhaps a good comparison is the ‘Sunday Suppers at Lucques’. This cut-price evening has its purpose, but it in no way compares with the superb a la carte experience one can enjoy during the rest of the week.

We first tried Lucques for luncheon during a set-price DineLA week. Then we tried the Sunday supper and on both those occasions we were not blown away.

It was only when we returned in 2006, on a standard evening, that we saw the pure excellence that Suzanne Goin and her staff are capable of when you pay full price for your a la carte meal.

Moral to this story: you get what you pay for.

KT & H.C.’s reviews of Grace demonstrate this well. When they supplemented the basic DineLA menu with additional choices, they enjoyed a rich and satisfying meal. And paid fair price for that experience.

TeenG -- truffles ain't all they're cracked up to be. My favourite use/taste of truffles involves a fish pie I make with a classic soubise sauce perfumed with (comparatively inexpensive) white truffle oil.

It's not that hard to make and I think you'd like it.