Friday, July 16, 2010

Bite Bar & Bakery

In March caterer Elizabeth Goel opened Bite Bar and Bakery in the former Violet space on Pico Blvd. just east of the Santa Monica city limits in West LA. It is a casual spot with waiter service and the lunch menu focusing on sandwiches. I recently had lunch there with two companions to check it out and take advantage of the Black Board Eats promotion. It is a cute looking spot and was reasonably busy during lunch.

I had the Steak Sandwich, which was the most successful of the dishes we sampled. The sandwich is described as with toasted garlic bread with chimmichurri aioli, tomato-olive relish and caramelized onions. It was served in four pieces on a long rectangular plate, an attractive plating. The portion was large, which came in handy as I ended up splitting it with one of my dining companions who was less enthusiastic about her meal. The sandwich was flavorful and the components worked well together.

Less successful was the “Naanwich”, which is: Homemade Naan topped with chickpea curry, fresh cilantro, sweet mango and tomato salad. It is served open-faced with the toppings falling off of the naan. It was also not especially flavorful. The naan was very doughy and did not have a home made taste.

The cajun fries we had were tasty, with some crunch to them, although I would have preferred more aggressive seasoning.

The true disappointment was the Toasted Crab Sandwich, on sourdough with paprika aioli and watercress salad. The sandwich is like a tuna melt, except the crab meat is more delicate and any crab flavor was overwhelmed by the other ingredients. The crab was not chunks but pureed and the overall effect was unappealing.

Overall I appreciate what Goel is trying to do, but I did not find the meal to be successful and none of us felt likely to return any time soon. Not so much bad, but more "eh, why bother". I'd rather spend $3 more for a sandwich at Westside Tavern, especially since the price includes chips, fries, soup or salad and the parking is easier.

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