Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Little Door: A Vacation on 3rd Street

Last month I had dinner with old friends at the Little Door, the long standing popular restaurant on 3rd Street with a beautiful outdoor courtyard.

I had never been before and the restaurant was packed at 9:30 on a Friday evening. As we were a large party we snagged the long table to the left of the entrance. We shared several starters and each got our own entree.

Above is the beet salad ($15), which was beautifully presented and is listed on the menu as a trio of roasted beets. The pink, red and golden beets were sweet and roasted to a nice texture. This salad did not last long on the table.

In contrast, the Spicy Ahi Tuna Tartare ($18) pictured below was a miss. It just didn't taste good or fresh. It was not finished by the group. Kind of mushy and bland, although still plated very nicely.

The Rosemary & Garlic Crusted Rack of Lamb was outstanding. It had better be at $38 and it was. The portion was also larger than I would have expected at a restaurant of this ambition that caters to the beautiful people, who are not known for their appetites, at least when it comes to food. The four juicy chops were perfectly cooked to medium rare and were flavorful. The chef graciously swapped out the Ratatouille and Potato Purée for the Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Haricot Vert. Despite this dish having four chops, I ate them all; those bones did not have a morsel of meat left on them when I was done with dinner.

The service was gracious throughout and we were able to find a reasonably priced red wine to drink (several bottles of) with our meal. The waiter told us an anecdote about how a customer once ordered a bottle on the list and drank it and only when the bill was presented did he realize that he had pointed, confirmed receipt of and drank a bottle of wine that cost over $1,000. Yikes! Thankfully nothing like that happened to us.

There is something magical about dining alfresco in beautiful courtyards. Both the Little Door and Bastide have this wonderful ambiance because of them, where for the duration of your meal, you feel like you have left the bustle of the city behind and you are on a relaxing but luxurious vacation.

The Little Door: 8164 3rd Street, Los Angeles. Phone: (323) 951-1210. Website:

1 comment:

  1. It looks like the portions are significantly larger than what they were went I went a few years ago. I remember leaving hungry that night - went home and had toast after!

    Funny about the wine. Though I'd probaby start crying!