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Week in Reviews: Bond Street Zeroes Out, Providence, Fraiche, Noodle Shops, Little Cambodia and More

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Alen Lin, 1/22/08

The Los Angeles Times got our attention on the homepage: "Something's fishy in Beverly Hills. No stars for Bond Street." We can't say we're surprised. Sushi in trendy settings isn't S. Irene Virbila's forte; plus, she's on quite the tear these days. In a city where good sushi doesn't need stellar decor and designer uniforms, and the trendoids already have plenty of places to coo over, Jonathan Morr and the Bond Street chefs would really have to step it up. Oh how they did not impress:

After several evenings at Bond Street, I have a radical suggestion to make: Stay away from the raw fish and stick with salads, vegetables and main-course seafood and meat dishes. Your meal won't be inexpensive, but you won't come away as outraged.

This is a restaurant where sashimi comes two slices per order and where truffle butter, foie gras, pork belly, tarragon oil and other tricks of the new sushi chefs' trade embroider many dishes. Scallop carpaccio, for example, arrives looking very like an albino apple tart on an icy granita. "It's calamansi citrus granita," the server whispers as he sets the plate in front of us. This sounds as if it could be very delicious. Until I take a bite and find the raw scallop slice is funky and the granita is achingly sweet. I want to scrub off my tongue.

Right there we know this isn't a restaurant Miss Irene would normally even bother with, but she felt compelled. There are a few dishes that worked (seaweed salad, steak), so maybe that's what the crowds who flock there are eating. Maybe they're not eating at all. Maybe that's not the point. We don't know the last time Miss Irene doled out no stars (damn new LAT search), but there it is. Today the "S." stands for "scorched." [LAT]

ELSEWHERE: The sad lonesome ballad for dining at the Hyatt Regency; splurging at Providence and Urasawa are both totally still worth it; for drinkers: good times at The Griffith, even without tater tots; Rikyu in Little Tokyo, Siem Reap in Long Beach's Little Cambodia; hits and misses at Fraiche; and more thumbs up for the Let's Be Frank hot dog cart.

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