Monday, March 16, 2009

Rate-A-Restaurant #201: The Park

Restaurant: The Park

Location: 1400 Sunset Blvd. (Echo Park)

Type of restaurant: Modern American

We stipulated: It was another rare date night, as Evan was accounted for until 10 p.m. We didn't want to stray too far from home, and also didn't want to spend too much. I'd heard good things about the Park -- and Maria remembers briefly talking to the owners while strolling by during the Great Los Angeles Walk last November.

They stipulated: Reservations aren't necessary, except for groups over 6. Also, unfortunately, it's no longer BYOB at the Park. The restaurant doesn't yet have its beer and wine license, but had been letting diners bring their own booze -- until the city cracked down. Damn city.

What we ordered: Appetizer: Mini Cornmeal Pancakes, $9 (with seared shrimp, chipotle butter, roasted tomato salsa and Mexican crema). Maria: Linguine with white clam sauce, $12. Mike: Albacore Duo, $18 (Albacore crusted with ground coriander and black pepper, grilled with blood orange sauce, and Albacore braised in olive oil tossed with potatoes, shaved fennel, parsley leaves and meyer lemon, served with grilled asparagus).

High point: We had a hard time deciding between the cornmeal pancakes or the szechuan fried calamari as an appetizer; I think we chose wisely -- although I wish they hadn't taken the "mini" so literally. As for the entrees, the seasonings were amazing -- the pepper on the Albacore was perfectly seasoned, and the white clam sauce offered up a nice spice as well.

Low point: There's something about being denied BYOB that made me want to BYOB even more. Sure hope they get things resolved soon, as a nice glass of wine would have nicely complemented the dinner.

Overall impression: Friendly staff, low-key environment, nice place. Talk about a great L.A. experience -- they were even playing Dengue Fever when we entered. As we dined, a family came in with their little girl, dressed as a princess. Apparently they're regulars -- as we left, the owners showed us pictures drawn by the girl, taped on the wall. But most importantly, the prices are great -- and that goes pretty far in this economy. With places like the Park, I don't get why anyone would choose a chain restaurant over this.

Chance we'll go back: Yes, and I'm thinking we could bring Blogger Preschooler -- and perhaps meet up with another family too.

For a complete list of our more than 200 restaurant reviews, check out our companion Rate-A-Restaurant site.

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