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Week in Reviews: Citrus at Social Triples, The Waffle, LA Mill, La Buca and MORE

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Photo by Alen Lin, 2/08

Today we have S. Irene Virbila's semi-glowing review of Citrus at Social, otherwise known as the Michel Richard/Jeffrey Chodorow show. Citrus is Richard's big return to Los Angeles, although "return" is relative since the chef mainly lends his menu and cleverly named dishes to the capabable hands of an on-the-ground team led by chef Remi Lauvand. In her eyes, Chodorow is brilliant for bringing in a chef who's name "has resonance in LA" and creating "the most glamorous room in all of L.A. at the moment." But is it enough?

Cuttlefish carbonara is another tour de force, which makes Nobu's famous squid "pasta" seem clumsy in comparison. No noodles are involved. Instead, it's tender, sweet cuttlefish cut to resemble fettuccine -- a subtle ode to texture. Escargots is so rich it's better to share than eat all yourself; it's something like an escargots crumble, with the earthy nuggets disposed in three small crocks, each topped with mixed chopped nuts in a parsley sauce.

Lauvand is turning out very polished food at Citrus at Social. Big question: Will the coterie of fine diners from the Westside make it this far east on a regular basis? And will the condominiums and the W Hotel going up in Hollywood be built in time to save the day? From the looks of it, they don't seem to be turning the tables much, even on the weekends.

Miss Irene gives Citrus three stars, but it seems to be more a direct homage to Richard and his menu than the restaurant itself. Service is genial, but the hosts made her wait at the bar when she was on time and gave her the "worst table" in the house---automatic star dockers anywhere else. (She did get the best table on her second visit. Shocking.) And the crowd is as mixed as expected, with both a parade of "metrosexuals with cocky hats" and older diners, AKA the Richard fan club. Today the "S." stands for "social experiment." [LAT]

ELSEWHERE: Despite all the rumblings, The Waffle's service doesn't suck, neither does the food; 15 found a winning formula in Echo Park; Murano brunch is a Catch-22; Osteria La Buca stands up in a post-Mozza world; and uber-hipsters, slacking service, sour lemonade and lukewarm coffee at LA Mill.

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