Seasons 52 (Century City)

Untitled

Seasons 52
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 277-5252
www.seasons52.com

My boss was sad that Houston’s closed in the Westfield Century City mall – like, REALLY sad. But it seems as though he found solace in Houston’s replacement…

When my boss offered to take me out to lunch for a job well done (regarding moving boxes, for the most part lol), he said that he had a new lunch spot in the mall, which turned out to be Seasons 52. I had read about the restaurant’s opening earlier this year, and am aware of the mini-chain’s (they have around 40 locations nationwide, headquartered in San Diego) philosophy regarding their “seasonally-inspired and award-winning international wine list” that fits right in with the city’s embrace of farm-to-table cuisine.

Upon entrance, Seasons 52’s decor doesn’t look or feel all that different from its predecessor. It’s a bit more wide-open, due to the main dining room being open to the patio (it’s definitely brighter, but it could just be the time of day), but for the most part, it definitely has the look (and the service that goes with it) that is fitting of the clientele in Century City. The dining room was nearly full, all professionals in formal attire. The only things that seemed out of place were the gardens in front and next to the lobby that demonstrated their farm-to-table dedication.

I didn’t want a big lunch, so I just ordered a “prime” tuna burger. The tuna appeared to be seared and then coarsely chopped a la tartare, and served with an Asian slaw, along with a wasabi aioli and a Thai sweet chili sauce. Not bad, but probably not worth the $13. The majority of the menu is stated to be under 500 calories/dish, so for those of you who are health-conscious, this is a nice place to do lunch, just be aware that the dishes are priced like the farm-to-table restaurants that it strives be. And indeed, the food tasted very “clean” here. Again, not bad, but nothing exciting obviously.

Seasons 52 has a novel concept that seems to have plenty of fans in the Century City area, and I’m sure the other locations are just as well-received by the locals. If I was the beautiful person I should be, living in West LA, I would probably appreciate the restaurant and its proximity to my office.

Wild Prime Tuna Burger

Cuisine City/Neighborhood Price Grade
American Century City $$$ B-

Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

The Counter

Untitled

I loved the Santa Monica location of The Counter when it first opened. I loved it so much, I took Coach Mom. That’s like bringing my girlfriend home to meet her.

Most people in L.A. should know the deal with The Counter: you get a board with a checklist of options and ingredients for your burger. But the times they are a-changin’, and the gourmet burger craze of recent years has unfortunately kicked the place off the top of my burger hierarchy (despite their rapid expansion, which we’re seeing from Umami more recently) – and it’s not even close.

Still, take out the newer places that have spoiled me, and The Counter still delivers a solid burger. My coworkers and I went to the newest one in Westfield Century City mall, since it’s very close to work. Not the juiciest and most flavorful, but the burger was cooked a good medium-rare, and the plethora of options gave me the idea of creating an Asian burger that day. Satisfying enough, but the love isn’t there anymore. I hope we can still be friends though…

Untitled

Untitled

Chris Hei grade: B-

The Counter
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 282-8888

The Counter on Urbanspoon

Take A Bao

8/22/11My manager took a couple of coworkers and myself out to lunch last Monday. We decided to go to the Westfield Century City food court, and chose to eat at Take A Bao collectively. I would never be the one to choose Americanized Asian cuisine, but my manager wanted it. And since he was paying, I didn’t want to make it hard on him by wandering off elsewhere.

Photo

PhotoBao ($10) – any two bao served with fresh napa salad

Thai Peanut Chicken

Thai Peanut Chicken – grilled chicken, peanut sauce, pickled carrots, cilantro, scallions, crushed peanuts

I don’t think Take A Bao actually cooks any of the stuff in-house, since I saw no kitchen (and they’re located in the middle of the food court). This “bao” (with the buns some Chinese restaurants serve Peking duck with, not the baos like BBQ pork bao) was very dry and dense. It didn’t have that airiness and softness that these buns are supposed to have. This felt more like a mantou that was previously frozen (probably was). Oh, and the thai peanut chicken was okay.

Signature BBQ PorkSignature BBQ Pork – hoisin braised bbq pork, pickled red onion, pea shoots, marinated cucumbers

The hoisin was too overpowering in this one. It felt like the pulled pork was smothered with the sauce, then microwaved. I’m never one to refuse more hoisin sauce (being Chinese), but the excess amount and the lack of other flavors makes this also just an okay choice. The two baos were served with a napa cabbage salad, which looks and (probably) tastes like their Chinese chicken salad, sans chicken.

Despite my reservations and apathy about the food at Take A Bao, I do admit that it’s pretty decent for food court fare. Of course, nothing can compare to Santouka, but remember that food courts were filled with the likes of Sbarro back in the day. This is at least a small step above that. But given the choice, I wouldn’t go to a food court for lunch.

Chris Hei grade: C

Take A Bao
Westfield Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 551-1100

Clementine

8/4/11Clementine is a popular lunch spot/bakery located just north of the Westfield Century City mall. Christina and Jolene were nice enough to pick me up from work for lunch a couple of Thursdays ago, on their way to the beach. I gave them the choices of either Apple Pan or Clementine, as those two places came to mind when thinking of somewhere really close to work. The girls chose the latter. I’ve been to Clementine a few times for lunch and grilled cheese month dinners (in May I think). But this would be the first time I’ve sat down during prime lunch hours. And the place was pretty packed. Luckily, we only had to wait around ten minutes after placing our order.

Prosciutto and BrieProsciutto and Brie – with balsamic roasted onions and arugula on French baguette

I wanted to try something different, and you really can’t go wrong with prosciutto. Unfortunately, the sandwich needed some kind of contrast to all the dryness of the bread, brie, etc. But it was still a pretty good sandwich.

Rare Roast BeefRare Roast Beef – Our house-roasted top round, with horseradish mustard dressing, marinated onions and arugula on rustic bread

Jolene’s order. She seemed fairly pleased with it. I’ve had it before, but don’t really remember how it tasted.

Marinated Grilled EggplantGrilled Marinated Eggplant – with hummus, chunky artichoke relish and greens on toasted wholegrain bread

Christina’s order. I had a couple bites of the sandwich and some of the tomato soup on the side. I thought that it was a decent sandwich, although the girls seemed to be big fans of this.

I can see why Clementine is such a popular place for lunch in the area. Well-executed sandwiches, soups and salad will always attract the beautiful people of West LA. Of course, the menu is anything but sexy. I do, however, recommend coming here during grilled cheese month though. Over a dozen interesting varieties of cheesy goodness. The bakery looks interesting for the sweet tooth as well, though I’ve only ordered a baked good once.

Chris Hei grade: B-

Photo

Clementine
1751 Ensley Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 552-1080