Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Review: Lawry's Carvery at L.A. Live

For my first trip to the new L.A. Live venue near Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, I went to Lawry's Carvery for lunch. Lawry's in Beverly Hills is one of our favorite restaurants, but we've only gone once since Alex was born nearly four years ago.

So Lawry's Carvery for lunch was the perfect opportunity for me to get my Lawry's fix. And the prime rib didn't disappoint. The horseradish cream was even better than I remember. Ditto for the au jus. The broccoli was cooked perfectly, but the asparagus was a little, um, woody. Overall, the food was good.

The menu had other tasty-sounding options, like roast beef and sandwiches. But how could I get anything other than prime rib?

The only thing missing was Yorkshire pudding. I don't understand why they didn't have any, and I sorely missed it. (I do realize that it's incredibly easy to make at home, and now that I've thought of it, I probably will soon, but I really would have enjoyed it with my prime rib.)

The set up of the restaurant is, to put it mildly, strange. You go through a cafeteria line to order your food, but then you get your condiments at a hooded counter (like a salad bar) and sit down. Then a server comes up and takes your drink order. He brings your drinks, checks up on you while you eat (he brought me more au jus and iced tea), will take your dessert order if you want any (I was too full of prime rib, and strawberry trifle was not one of the options), and brings the check. So despite the initial cafeteria set up, you pay at the end of your meal at the table - and of course, leave a tip. Strange, I tell you.

And depending on your interest in sports, you'll either love or hate that ESPN is on in the background no matter where you sit. Normally I wouldn't mind, but pretty much the only story they covered the entire time I ate was Tiger Woods's return to the golf course. Even Outside the Lines was going to be about "the ramifications of Tiger Woods's return."

Prices are definitely high. I paid $19.99 for my small (8 oz.) prime rib - with tip and drink, my lunch came to $27.50. I wouldn't blink at that for dinner at Lawry's in Beverly Hills, but that's a really expensive lunch for a place that's definitely not fine dining.

Even so, I'll probably go back sometime - as long as I can't get to Lawry's proper, the Carvery will certainly satisfy my prime rib craving. They do make it better than any restaurant I've ever tried.

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